Motherwell produced an outstanding performance to sweep aside Aberdeen and set up a Betfred Cup semi-final with Rangers.
And following a comprehensive, stunning sixth win in the cup, ‘Well fans head back to Hampden, where the cup run started with a belief that the team’s fighting spirit could take them all they way to the final.
In a contest which Motherwell dominated from start to finish, two early goals from Louis Moult and Peter Hartley set them up for a famous victory, with a Moult stunner five minutes from time rounding off a fabulous evening.
With only one change, Stevie Hammell back for the suspended Charles Dunne, the Motherwell line-up had a familiar look and shape about it. And that meant an immediate press on the Aberdeen goal.
However, it was the visitors who forced the first save when Trevor Carson pushed Ryan Christie’s shot wide forcing Chris Cadden to block Gary MacKay-Steven’s effort from the loose ball.
For the remainder of the half the play was towards the Aberdeen goal and a helping hand from the ‘keeper made the breakthrough after only 13 minutes.
Ryan Bowman did well to force his way into the box before nudging the ball towards the corner of the six-yard box. Joe Lewis looked favourite to gather the ball until Moult nipped in front to cleverly flick the ball up and turn an audacious effort over the bemused ‘keeper, who could only turn and palm the ball into his own net.
There was no doubting the scorer six minutes later though when ‘Well doubled their lead and took a firm grip of the cup-tie. Hammell curled a free kick towards the back of the six yard area for Peter Hartley to power a header down and under the diving Lewis for his first ‘Well goal.
A regular scorer with his previous clubs, the big centre back came close again on the half hour mark, when, from another Hammell free kick, Hartley’s header flashed across goal.
At this stage Derek McInnes’ men were being out thought and out fought with every ‘Well player contesting every ball, and he made a very early change to try and salvage the game by replacing MacKay-Steven with Adam Rooney.
Just before the interval another surging run from Bowman took the action towards the Aberdeen box before he laid the ball across to Cadden, whose drive was on target until it deflected off a Dons’ defender.
While an option might have been to sit back and defend their two goal lead, Motherwell started the second half on the front foot.
The Fir Parkers almost extended their lead within five minutes when Moult followed Richard Tait’s thrown in into the box before unleashing a left foot shot which produced a fine diving block from Lewis.
In truth, with the Steelmen determined to doggedly protect their own box, the only goal threat came at the Aberdeen goal.
Amazingly, Hartley was only denied a second when his low shot through a packed box was blocked on the line by Logan.
Fifteen minutes from time, Dons were even more fortunate not to concede a third when Allan Campbell chested down brilliantly before firing an angled drive past Lewis – only to watch the ball rebound off both goal posts before bouncing into the relieved ‘keeper’s hands.
Fittingly, five minutes from time, Moult removed any doubts his name would be on the scoresheet and cap a terrific evening’s work. Liam Grimshaw whipped a long ball down the right for the striker to chase but when he cut into the box Moult decided to claim his 9th goal of the season flashing the ball past Lewis from a tight angle for a scoreline which reflected Motherwell’s superiority.
[tab:As it happened]
Lewis Irons at Fir Park
90+1′ | 3-0
Motherwell sub, Tanner on for Moult
90′ | 3-0
Fisher booked for a foul on Logan
88′ | 3-0
Christie booked. Looked a bad one on Tait, could have easily have broke his ankle!
87′ | 3-0
Motherwell sub, Bowman off for Fisher. Some shift from Bowie!!!
86′ | 3-0
It’s 3!!!! Moult breaks away and fires an unstoppable effort past Lewis!!!!!
79′ | 2-0
Bowman wins a free-kick in a good area for Motherwell but Hammell’s ball in is headed away at the back post.
77′ | 2-0
Cadden booked for pulling down May as he broke away.
74′ | 2-0
So nearly 3!! Campbell with a great volley which strikes one post, runs along the line and comes back out off the other post!
69′ | 2-0
Motherwell sub, Rose makes way for Grimshaw
66′ | 2-0
Great save from Carson!! Christie breaks away and fires a shot towards the top corner but for the fingertips of Carson!!
64′ | 2-0
Bowman does really well to force a corner from Considine……cleared off the line by Shinnie!
58′ | 2-0
Hammell booked for not throwing the ball straight back to an Aberdeen player. Not a lot in that.
52′ | 2-0
Rooney gets the break of the ball on the edge of the box but his shot on the turn lacks any power to test Carson
49′ | 2-0
‘Well work a chance from a throw-in – Tait feeding Moult who drops the shoulder and gets a good shot off but it’s well saved.
47′ | 2-0
Tait whips the ball in but Moult’s shot is blocked by O’Connor!
Both teams are back out, it’s time for the second half. COYW!!!
HT: Motherwell 2 – 0 Aberdeen
The Steelmen will take a deserved two goal lead into the second 45.
43′ | 2-0
Christie finds a bit of space but from distance can’t hit the target. Well wide.
41′ | 2-0
Kipré booked for a foul on May wide on the Aberdeen left.
40′ | 2-0
Bowman breaks down the left and squares it to Cadden whose shot is deflected over the bar for a corner
36′ | 2-0
Change for Aberdeen, Mackay-Steven off for Rooney
30′ | 2-0
Tait wins a free-kick wide on the left….Hammel clips it in but Bowman can’t divert it goalwards!
27′ | 2-0
Cadden forces a corner…..corner is drilled in low but Aberdeen eventually clear from Moult
19′ | 2-0
HARTLEY with his first goal for the Steelmen! Hammell with the delivery and the defender nods past Lewis!! COYW!!
16′ | 1-0
Ball has a shot from just outside the box but it is deflected wide for a corner. From the corner, Ball heads over from 8 yards!
13′ | 1-0
MOULT will claim it with a cheeky flick over his shoulder but it is Lewis who knocks it into the net!
Cadden then breaks and does well to win a corner.
9′ | 0-0
Great chance for Mackay-Steven but Cadden is on hand with a wonderful block to deny a certain goal!
Tune in to live commentary with @grahamb2105 and @Lewis_Irons on mixlr now:
2′ | 0-0
Early bit of pressure for ‘Well, Tait with the cross in but Reynolds heads it clear.
Christie gets the game underway. COYW!!!!
Out come the two teams, claret and amber for ‘Well, blue for the Dons!
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes