Motherwell rounded off an impressive spell of five home league games with a fourth and emphatic victory over Partick Thistle. While the three goal margin just about reflects ‘Well’s dominance, as they pressed and harried the Maryhill men from the start, significantly the result also signalled the home side’s third clean sheet from the sequence.
Undoubtedly, Peter Hartley’s presence and organisation has strengthened a resolute defence, but at the other end his threat earned him a goal after only six minutes. From there, Motherwell completely controlled a rather tame Thistle although it took second half goals from Craig Tanner and Ryan Bowman to emphasise their superiority.
Stephen Robinson stood by the line-up which was involved in the Aberdeen double header. With Andy Rose still recovering from a thigh strain, Craig Tanner got a starting place ahead of Gaël Bigirimana.
Having won four of their last five home games the Fir Parkers were confident of extending that impressive form against a Thistle side still to record a win this season.
On a sunny afternoon, ‘Well made a bright start and after Moult had tested Tomas Cerny from 20 yards, the Jags’ ‘keeper was at the centre of controversy after only five minutes.
Moult’s lobbed pass sent Ryan Bowman towards goal but as the striker nodded the ball over Cerny, as he advanced from his box, the ‘keeper grounded the ‘Well striker.
While Cerny was lucky to escape with only a yellow card, he was fully punished from the resultant free kick. Moult’s curled effort sneaked beyond the diving ‘keeper only to rebound from the inside of the post into the path of Hartley who scooped it over the line for the perfect start.
Thistle appeared shell-shocked and could have been two down in the 10th minute. Moult latched onto a loose ball and from 12 yards Cerny did well to parry his effort but the ‘keeper had to rely on Danny Devine, who blocked Chris Cadden’s follow up on the goal line, and keep Thistle in the game.
As the tempo of ‘Well’s play dropped and Thistle started to find their feet, the game entered a phase of less activity around goal.
Tanner, though, keen to make an impression set off on mazy run from his own half but his final shot on goal was blocked. Then the winger’s clever pass With the outside of his boot just evaded Bowman as the ball bounced towards Cerny.
The half finished with a couple of teasing balls across the Thistle goal – the best being Moult’s which Bowman failed to get above.
Motherwell resumed on the front foot and a quick free kick allowed Cadden to fire a low ball across a packed box but found no takers in claret and amber.
In the 50th minute, Thistle were given the first and only chance to test Trevor Carson but from a good position Blair Spittal rattled his free kick off ‘Well’s defensive wall.
Having been outplayed for most of the first half, the Maryhill men began to play as if they might take something from the game.
However, they had no sooner sent on striker Conor Sammon when ‘Well bagged a second goal and killed the game.
Richard Tait, now revelling in his role on the left side, jinked past a couple of defenders before squaring a great ball to Tanner whose side foot shot squirmed under Cerny and over the line to make it 2-0.
That rocked Thistle who could have been further behind within minutes. Bowman was almost rewarded for closing down Adam Barton, when his clearance rebounded off the striker over the stranded Cerny and just over the bar. The Thistle ‘keeper was then relieved when Bowman laid the ball off to Moult and his measured effort was on target until a deflection carried it on the wrong side of the post.
With the points safe, ‘Well’s possession and strong running opened up Partick’s defence with ease. A smart exchange with Cadden finished with a great cut back for Allan Campbell but his thumping drive was blocked in front of Cerny.
With 13 minutes remaining, Elliot Frear replaced Moult but the attempts on the visitor’s goal continued to come from all quarters.
Cedric Kipre almost capped another impressive afternoon with a goal, but his net bound shot was blocked by his teammate.
From wide on the left, Frear tried to catch out Cerny at his near post. But the ‘keeper reacted well to palm the ball round his post.
Thistle failed to clear the resultant corner and some clever footwork from Hartley on the bye-line set up McHugh before the ball broke to Bowman who curled it high into the net to round off the scoring and another highly satisfactory afternoon’s work from the Steelmen.
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 3 – 0 Partick Thistle
A convincing win for ‘Well. Great, dominating performance from the whole team!
90′ | 3-0
Three minutes added on
86′ | 3-0
Close! Tait with a half-volley from the edge of the box but it flashes inches wide of the post!
84′ | 3-0
Lawless booked for hacking down Cadden as he broke away
83′ | 3-0
Motherwell sub, Grimshaw on for McHugh.
82′ | 3-0
BOWMAN makes it 3! Hartley turns the Thistle defence inside out with a Cryuff turn and squares to Bowman who fires in top corner!
79′ | 2-0
Close! Ball breaks to Kipré but his low shot is deflected wide for a corner.
76′ | 2-0
Motherwell sub, Moult makes way for Frear
73′ | 2-0
Cadden chops inside the left back and sets up Campbell but it’s a brave block from Barton who then clears the danger
72′ | 2-0
Superb ball played across the face of goal by Rose but there are no takers!
66′ | 2-0
Moult puts the ball through Barton’s legs but his shot from 25 yards is easily stopped by Cerny
66′ | 2-0
Couple of subs, Tanner makes way for Rose and Spittal comes off for Lawless
61′ | 2-0
Close! Bowman and Moult combine inside the box but the top scorer’s shot is deflected wide for a corner.
59′ | 2-0
Half a chance there as Bowman closes down Barton and sees his deflection float just over the bar.
57′ | 2-0
Thistle sub, Erskine on for Devine.
56′ | 2-0
Tait drills a superb low ball in to TANNER who makes no mistake from 8 yards. COYW!!!
53′ | 1-0
Thistle sub, Sammon on for Doolan
49′ | 1-0
Campbell judged to have fouled Edwards on the edge of the Motherwell box….Spittal’s shot is blocked by the wall.
Tanner gets the second half underway. COYW!!
Both teams are back out, no changes for either side.
HT: Motherwell 1 – 0 Partick Thistle
‘Well take a narrow lead into the break.
36′ | 1-0
Tanner dispossesses Edwards in the middle of the park and drives forward but his shot from the edge of the box is blocked
32′ | 1-0
Yellow card for Barton after a very high boot into McHugh’s stomach.
28′ | 1-0
Campbell swings in a great ball to the back post area but it’s a fraction too high for Moult. Still 1-0.
21′ | 1-0
Tanner attempts a cross but it is knocked out for a corner. From Cadden’s inswinger Cerny has to tip the ball out again
11′ | 1-0
What a chance! Ball falls to Moult 8 yards out but Cerny makes a great save and Cadden’s follow-up is cleared off the line!
7′ | 1-0
The Steelmen are 1 up! Moult’s free-kick strikes the post and falls to HARTLEY who taps into the empty net
2′ | 0-0
Bit of drama as Bowman is played through and is clattered by Cerny just outside the box. Booking for the ‘keeper.
2′ | 0-0
Moult has a shot from the edge of the box but Devine’s touch takes the sting out it and Cerny gathers safely.
Thistle get the action underway. COYW!!
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald