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    Brown upbeat despite late draw

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    Aalesund draw in pictures

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    Aalesund 1-1 Motherwell

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    Aalesund training session

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    Brown happy to play games

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    Jennings aims to cut down Aalesund threat

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    Aalesunds ticket information

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    Fauldhouse Utd 0-5 Motherwell XI

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    Chief Exec goes Off the Ball

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    Brown delighted with Euro progress

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    Brown upbeat despite late draw

    Motherwell boss Craig Brown was pleased with the 1-1 draw against Aalesund despite seeing his side concede a late equaliser in Norway.

    The Steelmen were set to bring back a one goal lead back to Fir Park after Jamie Murphy put them ahead in the first-leg.

    But Alexander Mathisen drew the home side level from the penalty spot in the 93rd minute following a foul on Demar Phillips inside the box.

    It was a cruel end to the match but Brown was still happy with the performance and believes his side defended well throughout.

    “I think it’s a solid result,” said the Motherwell boss afterwards.

    “We’re not getting carried away. It’s only half-time so we are not going to get complacent.

    “We played very, very assured football and defended competently. I thought they weren’t going to manage to score.
     
    “They didn’t look like scoring in the last 20 minutes. They don’t usually score in the last 20 minutes, I don’t know why, whether it’s through fitness or whatever.

    “The players knew that if they got to the hour mark and they hadn’t scored then we had a solid base to build on.

    “It looked like they would only score from a set-piece and they got a penalty, which was very softly-conceded.”

    Brown was also full of praise for Murphy, who became the club’s all-time leading scorer in Europe thanks to his 48th minute strike.

    The Scotland U21 international surpassed Stevie Kirk’s long-standing record of five goals at the Color Line stadium.

    “It was a terrific goal he scored tonight,” said Brown.

    “He deserves it because he’s a conscientious boy. He works hard and you never hear him boasting. He puts a shift in for the team.”

  • Archive

    Aalesund draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-1 draw with Aalesund in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round first-leg. These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”aalesund290710″]

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    Aalesund 1-1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    An injury-time penalty from Alexander Mathisen denied Motherwell victory in the first-leg of the Europa League clash with Aalesund.

    The Steelmen looked set for an away win after Jamie Murphy broke the deadlock early in the second-half to become the club’s all-time leading scorer in Europe.

    But Aalesund hit-back and substitute Mathiesen equalised with the last kick of the game following a foul on Demar Phillips inside the box.

    It was hard on Craig Brown’s men, who were only seconds away from a terrific win in Norway.

    They started the game well at the Color Line stadium and Tom Hateley threatened with a 35-yard strike on 12 minutes which home keeper Anders Lindegaard had to tip over.

    At the other end, Phillips also went close to an early goal for Aalesund when his powerful effort hit the angle of post and bar.

    It prompted a period of intense pressure from the home side, who threw cross after cross into the box.

    But it was Motherwell who created the better openings and Stevie Hammell came within inches of his first goal in years when he combined with John Sutton only to see his shot turned behind by Lindegaard.

    From the resulting corner, another chance went begging as Mark Reynolds found Murphy in space but he headed just wide of the target.

    Both teams continued to attack each other on the slick artificial surface. Peter Larsen fired a long-range shot over the bar and Tor Hogne Aaroy saw a header easily gathered by Darren Randolph as Aalesund pressed.

    Murphy almost picked out Hateley at the other end but Phillips made a crucial interception before the midfielder could get his shot away.

    With the game finely poised, Brown made a double change at the break, introducing Chris Humphrey and Robert McHugh in place of Sutton and Forbes.

    And the substitutions paid off as Motherwell took control. Firstly, Humphrey flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal and less than a minute later, fellow sub McHugh had a shot deflected over the bar.

    It led to the opening goal as from the resulting corner, Hateley picked out Humphrey, who in turn fed Murphy to blast home his sixth European goal in claret and amber from close range.

    Aalesund were far from deflated and hit-back immediately in search of an equaliser. Johan Arneng was first to threaten but Randolph did well to hold on to his low drive from the edge of the box. 

    Then on 55 minutes, Magnus Olsen shot over when Steven Saunders fell woefully short in his attempt to chest the ball back Randolph.

    It was a let-off for Motherwell and they survived another scare midway through the half when Stephen Craigan sliced a cross just over his own bar.

    Aalesund continued to attack and Phillips flashed a free-kick narrowly over the bar. Aaroy then combined with substitute Fredrik Carlsen on the edge of the area but he was denied by the legs of Randolph.

    Just as it looked as though Motherwell would hold to the final whistle, Saunders fouled Phillips inside the box, and Mathisen sent Randolph the wrong way to make it 1-1.

    But with an away goal in Norway, the Steelmen have the upper hand going into the second-leg at Fir Park next week.

    [tab:As it happened]

    90+3′ FULL-TIME The referee blows the full-time whistle

    90+3′ GOAL Mathisen (Aalesund) scores from the penalty spot.

    90+2′ Saunders (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Phillips (Aalesund).

    90+1′ Aarøy (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Craigan (Motherwell).

    90′ Randolph (Motherwell) makes a save.

    90′ Aarøy (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.

    88′ BOOKING Carlsen (Aalesund) is shown a yellow card.

    88′ Carlsen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Saunders (Motherwell).

    84′ McHugh (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Fredriksen (Aalesund).

    83′ Fredriksen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    82′ Humphrey (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Parr (Aalesund).

    80′ Fredriksen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    80′ Randolph (Motherwell) makes a save.

    80′ Aarøy (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.

    79′ Lasley (Motherwell) misses the target.

    77′ McHugh (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Jääger (Aalesund).

    75′ Carlsen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on McHugh (Motherwell).

    74′ Phillips (Aalesund) misses the target.

    74′ Phillips (Aalesund) takes the free-kick.

    73′ Reynolds (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Aarøy (Aalesund).

    73′ McHugh (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Carlsen (Aalesund).

    73′ Jalasto (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Hateley (Motherwell).

    72′ Arneng (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    72′ Phillips (Aalesund) takes the free-kick.

    72′ Hammell (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Mathisen (Aalesund).

    70′ Carlsen (in) – Sylling Olsen (out) (Aalesund)

    68′ Arneng (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    67′ Hateley (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Parr (Aalesund).

    66′ Hateley (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Parr (Aalesund).

    64′ McHugh (Motherwell) is adjudged to be in an offside position.

    62′ Hateley (Motherwell) takes the free-kick.

    62′ Arnefjord (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on McHugh (Motherwell).

    61′ Jennings (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Arneng (Aalesund).

    60′ Aarøy (Aalesund) commits a foul after challenging Randolph (Motherwell).

    60′ Phillips (Aalesund) takes the corner.

    57′ SUB Mathisen (in) – Herrera (out) (Aalesund)

    56′ SUB Fredriksen (in) – Orry Larsen (out) (Aalesund)

    56′ McHugh (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Orry Larsen (Aalesund).

    55′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    55′ McHugh (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Jalasto (Aalesund).

    54′ Arnefjord (Aalesund) commits a foul after challenging Murphy (Motherwell).

    53′ Randolph (Motherwell) makes a save.

    53′ Arneng (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.

    51′ Saunders (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Sylling Olsen (Aalesund).

    48′ GOAL Murphy (Motherwell) scores with a low shot from inside the box.

    46′ SUB Humphrey (in) – Forbes (out) (Motherwell)

    46′ Hateley (Motherwell) takes the free-kick.

    46′ Jalasto (Aalesund) commits a foul after challenging Humphrey (Motherwell).

    46′ SUB McHugh (in) – Sutton (out) (Motherwell)

    46′ KICK-OFF The second half begins.

    45+2′ HALF-TIME The referee blows for half-time.

    45+2′ Aarøy (Aalesund) misses the target.

    45+1′ Sutton (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Orry Larsen (Aalesund).

    45′ Forbes (Motherwell) misses the target.

    45′ Hateley (Motherwell) delivers the corner.

    44′ Forbes (Motherwell) delivers the corner.

    42′ Orry Larsen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    37′ Orry Larsen (Aalesund) fouls.

    36′ Phillips (Aalesund) misses the target.

    36′ Phillips (Aalesund) takes the free-kick.

    35′ Forbes (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Arneng (Aalesund).

    34′ Phillips (Aalesund) takes the corner.

    32′ Jennings (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Aarøy (Aalesund).

    32′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) commits a foul after challenging Lasley (Motherwell).

    30′ Hateley (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Parr (Aalesund).

    29′ Murphy (Motherwell) misses the target.

    28′ Hateley (Motherwell) takes the corner.

    28′ Lindegaard (Aalesund) makes a save.

    28′ Hammell (Motherwell) has an effort on goal.

    27′ Herrera (Aalesund) is flagged for offside.

    24′ Saunders (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Sylling Olsen (Aalesund).

    22′ Forbes (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Jääger (Aalesund).

    21′ Phillips (Aalesund) fouls.

    16′ Murphy (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Parr (Aalesund).

    16′ Phillips (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.In the post.

    13′ Hateley (Motherwell) takes the corner.

    13′ Hateley (Motherwell) misses the target.

    12′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) commits a foul after challenging Saunders (Motherwell).

    11′ Forbes (Motherwell) misses the target.

    8′ Murphy (Motherwell) commits a foul after challenging Jalasto (Aalesund).

    7′ Aarøy (Aalesund) commits a foul after challenging Randolph (Motherwell).

    6′ Phillips (Aalesund) takes the corner.

    5′ Herrera (Aalesund) takes the corner.

    1′ KICK-OFF The match is under way.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell boss Craig Brown:

    “It was a cruel blow because it looked as though we were going to get a very good away victory.

    “We played very, very assured football and defended competently. I thought they weren’t going to manage to score.
     
    “They didn’t look like scoring in the last 20 minutes. They don’t usually score in the last 20 minutes, I don’t know why, whether it’s through fitness or whatever.

    “The players knew that if they got to the hour mark and they hadn’t scored then we had a solid base to build on.

    “It looked like they would only score from a set-piece and they got a penalty, which was very softly-conceded.”

    Motherwell goalscorer Jamie Murphy:

    “It’s always disappointing to lose a goal in the last minute. But if you’d offered us a 1-1 draw before the game we would have took it.

    “So we have to look at the positives from the game. We have the advantage now and the second-leg is at Fir Park.

    “The plan was to get an away goal and we have managed to do that.

    “We can’t really complain too much. We played really well at times and not so good at other times. I think it was a fair result as they had chances too.”

    Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph:

    “I had a good view of the incident and I saw it coming before it actually happened. Everything seemed to be in slow motion and I knew straight away it was going to be a penalty.

    “We had a free-kick just before the penalty and when I asked the referee how long was left, he said there were two minutes. I knew if I got the ball and kicked it out, it would be all over.

    “Steven was left pretty distraught in the dressing room and we told him to forget about it. What is done is done.

    “We didn’t lose and we are still in a good position.  We are very disappointed because it was the last kick of the ball but it is still a very good result.

    “The boys gave everything they had for the 90 minutes. For that to happen when it did, it takes a bit off the performance. But we are still in the tie.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”3″]

  • Archive

    Aalesund training session

    The Motherwell squad trained at the Color Line stadium in Norway this evening ahead of the Europa League tie with Aalesund. As always, our friends at SNS were there to capture all the action.

    [svgallery name=”aalesund280710″]

  • Archive

    Brown happy to play games

    Craig Brown believes the Europa League campaign is providing his players with the best possible preparation for the SPL.

    The Steelmen play their third competitive game of the season against Aalesunds FK of Norway on Thursday night.

    And Brown says that while most other clubs are still trying to get their players back up to speed after the summer break, his team are garnering a big advantage.

    “I love games of football,” said the Motherwell boss. “Plus all players would much rather play than train. So we are preparing for the season in the best way possible.

    “This can give us a competitive advantage – we have had two games already and we have another two coming up.

    “We are getting great preparation, without the need to go to Spain, Italy or Switzerland for a strenuous training camp.”

    Brown has dismissed reports that Europa League opponents Aalesunds will be an unknown quantity, insisting that he has a detailed dossier on the team and their 6 foot 9 inch striker.

    The gigantic Tor Hogne Aaroy will lead the line against the Steelmen and, as the tallest outfield player in the World, he is certain to be handful.

    “We’ve had Bobby Jenks over watching them,” said Brown. “He has come back with a comprehensive report and got us a DVD of their game on Saturday.

    “They have a very good team. They are fit, athletic and organized – and of course they have a well-known striker. “He’s 6 foot 9 inch tall and actually created their winning goal on Saturday by out-jumping the goalkeeper.

    “We’ll try to stop crosses coming in. If they don’t get service to him then he can’t score and I have absolute faith in Mark Reynolds and Stephen Craigan.

    “They know when to jump and challenge and when to let him have a header and pick up on the second ball. I’m not worried.”

    Brown revealed he is still working hard to add new faces following the losses of Jim O’Brien, Giles Coke, John Ruddy and Lukas Jutkiewicz in the summer.

    More players are expected in on trial and the manager hopes to strengthen the squad before the start of the SPL campaign.

    “The only thing the club is deficient of at the moment is players.” Brown confessed. “We only have the budget for one striker at the moment. A European run could release some funds, but that’s not something we can guarantee.

    “We’re not leaving any stones unturned in the quest to improve the squad. We have players coming in on trial and we have bounce games on Monday and Tuesday. The search is concurrent to the Europa League campaign and we are working very hard.

    “We could get through the season with our current squad but we want to get through it successfully. We want to build on last season and continue to improve.

    “I think that will be difficult, if not impossible, unless we get some re-enforcements in. We have lost some outstanding players.”

  • Archive

    Jennings aims to cut down Aalesund threat

    Steve Jennings admits Motherwell will have to be on their toes to stop giant striker Tor Hogne Aaroy on Thursday night.

    The Steelmen are in Norway to take on Aalesunds FK in the first-leg of the Europa League Third Qualifying Round.

    And Jennings revealed he and his team-mates are ready to face the tallest outfield player in the world – all 6 foot 9 inches of him.

    “We’ll put four players round him on corners!” joked the midfielder.

    “We will be very aware of him and we need to stop the crosses coming into him as that’s his main threat. We expect him to win headers but we’ll have one in front and one behind to pick up the loose balls.

    “That’s the plan and we can only hope it pans out like that.”

    Jennings know’s Aaroy won’t be Aaselund’s only threat though, and admits the team have been swotting up on the Norwegian Cup holders ahead of Thursday’s match.

    “We’ve watched a thorough DVD of our opponents which was great preparation,” he said.

    “It had information about the team and the pitch, so we’ll go over there prepared to get a result.”

    The midfielder insists there will be no fear factor in Norway. Indeed, the squad have become somewhat accustomed to European football over the past three years. As such, they are keen to make sure this campaign lasts a bit longer than previous ones.

    Jennings is confident the team can progress and hopes that will enable manager Craig Brown to bring in a couple of new faces.

    “This is the third season on the trot the club have made Europe and the players have got some good experience now,” he said.

    “It also says a lot for the club considering the lack of finances here. It’s a real achievement.

    “We’ve still got a good squad here and I believe we have the fire power to win this tie and get through to the next round. If, and when, we get through to the next round we can hopefully get a few new faces in for that tie.

    “We worked hard to get here. We had a great run towards the end of last season and deserved to get European football in the end.”

    Following an injury-hit start to life at Fir Park, Jennings didn’t feature much in last season’s Europa League adventure.

    But the 25-year-old enjoyed a terrific SPL campaign and became a key player under Brown and Archie Knox.

    He was rewarded with a new contract in the summer and now can’t wait to make an impact on the European stage.

    “I spoke to some of the boys down at Tranmere at the end of last season, while they were fighting relegation and we were chasing Europe,” he said.

    “And to be playing in Europe again this season just confirms to me how well the club are doing and what a good move it was for me.

    “To play European football is a great step and is a great bonus of my move up here.”

  • Archive

    Aalesunds ticket information

    The club can today confirm ticket information for the Second Leg of the Europa League tie against Aalesunds, scheduled for August 5th at Fir Park.

    After easing past Breidablik, Craig Brown’s men face a more difficult tie against the Norwegian Cup holders.

    So it is essential Fir Park is full, noisy and colourful, and as such, the club have confirmed the following ticket prices:

    • Adults £15 (all stands)
    • Juveniles £5 (all stands) *
    • Families £20 (Cooper stand) **

    Tickets are now on sale and and fans are reminded that they, in line with UEFA guidelines, will be required to supply name and address details for each ticket holder.

    Please also note that there will be no purchasing restrictions on home tickets at any time. Fans should also be aware that season tickets are not valid for the game.

    *Juveniles are listed as Under 16’s.
    **Family Tickets are listed as 1x Adult and up to x3 Juveniles and can only be purchased at the Ticket Office or over the phone.

  • Archive

    Fauldhouse Utd 0-5 Motherwell XI

    Motherwell continued their excellent pre-season form with a convincing victory over local side Fauldhouse Utd.

    The Steelmen, featuring the likes of Shaun Hutchinson, Marc Fitzpatrick, Chris Humphrey and Robert McHugh, proved too strong for their Junior opponents.

    McHugh opened the scoring midway through the first-half when he got on the end of a Humphrey cut-back. Shortly before the interval, returning midfielder Fitzpatrick got his name amongst the goals, doing well to react first to a rebounded Jamie Pollock effort.

    McHugh added his second on the hour-mark after dancing round a few challenges and stabbing home from the edge of the area before Gary Smith got in on the act, finding the net at the near post following some fine individual play inside the area.

    The best was yet to come though and McHugh completed his hat trick in style, curling a cracking effort high into the top right corner from the edge of the area.

    It was to be the last action of a useful afternoon’s work for the Steelmen as the squad continue preparations for the assault on both the Europa League and the SPL.

    Manager Craig Brown said: “It has been another worthwhile exercise and keeps the whole squad ticking over for the big games coming up.

    “It was great for McHugh to get a hat-trick and he looked really sharp.

    “I would like to thank Fauldhouse for the game too, they have a great set-up and it was a good test for our young lads.”

    Motherwell: Hollis, Sloan, Quinn, Hutchinson, Page, Innes, Pollock, Humphrey, Fitzpatrick, Smith, McHugh. Subs: Bradley, Meechan, Connor, Trialist.

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    Chief Exec goes Off the Ball

    Motherwell Chief Executive Leeann Dempster will be the guest on BBC Radio Scotland’s Off the Ball show this afternoon.

    The first lady of Fir Park will join regular hosts Stuart Cosgrove and the quite brilliant Tam Cowan for two-hours of chat which is certain to be interesting and, most probably, hysterical if not petty and ill-informed.

    With St Johnstone midfielder Martin Hardie also joining it, it’s certain to have a Steelmen versus Saints feel about the show.

    You can tune in from 1.05pm on 92 – 95FM, 810MW or online at BBC Radio Scotland.

    BBC Radio Scotland is also available on:

    Freeview (Scotland Only): 719
    Freesat: 712
    Sky: 0116
    Virgin: 930

  • Archive

    Brown delighted with Euro progress

    Craig Brown expressed delighted after the 1-0 win over Breidablik saw his side progress in the Europa League.

    Jamie Murphy’s 42nd minute strike sealed a 2-0 aggregate win and set-up a Third Qualifying Round clash with Aalesunds FK of Norway.

    “It was an efficient performance,” said the Motherwell boss. “We came with the plan to frustrate them and not get too adventurous.

    “In spite of that, we had one or two good chances in the first half. I felt that Jamie, who scored the goal, should have gone round their keeper to give us an earlier lead.

    “They missed a couple of chances in both games, we’ve got to acknowledge that. But this is a team flying high in Iceland, unbeaten recently and top of their league.

    “So, I would think that our lads deserve a lot of credit for coming here and frustrating them the way they did.

    “It’s easy to get carried away when you score an away goal and relax. The one thing that could have beaten us would have been a lack of concentration.

    “But our two centre-backs Craigan and Reynolds were absolutely immense and I give a lot of credit to the experienced lads at Motherwell. They carried the team through a sticky spell at the start of the game.”

    Brown was also full of praise for match-winner Murphy, who equalled Stevie Kirk’s long-standing club record of five European goals.

    “Jamie’s a lovely boy and no player deserves it more,” he said.

    “You don’t hear Jamie shout about his ability but he has got huge talent. He also has good pace and he is proving he has got an eye for goal.”