Hearts v Motherwell 01.03.03
Hearts 2, Motherwell 1
|Match Date: Saturday, March 1 2003|
|Competition: Scottish Premier League|
|Motherwell Team (4-4-2):|
Dubourdeau, Ramsay, Vaughan, Partridge, Hammell, Corrigan, Fagan (Lehmann 77), Lasley, Pearson, McFadden, Clarkson (Offiong 82).
Subs not used: Woods, Cowan, Craig
Motherwell scorer: Lasley (52)
Booked: Ramsay, Pearson, Vaughan.
McCURRY COOKS UP A HOWLER
Hearts 2 Motherwell 1
ANOTHER CONTROVERSIAL DISPLAY FROM Whistle Mike McCurry combined with some slack finishing from the visitors saw Motherwell’s recent run come to an end.
Motherwell, buoyed by recent wins, began positively and McFadden pressed Pressley into an early error conceding a throw near the corner flag. Pearson gained possession but although fouled by Maybury Hearts were awarded the free kick. Valois gathered the long free kick but his through ball for Wales was well intercepted by Vaughan. Valois then almost found Wales but again good defending, this time from Hammel, stopped the danger. Motherwell almost took the lead when Ramsay and Clarkson combined, the latter then cleverly back-heeling into the path of Lasley who drove from the angle forcing a terrific block from Moilanen, the follow-up skewing wide. McFadden was then the subject of a foul from Webster though the free kick from Hammel was held. There was a flare up when Lasley pulled Valois back. No doubt it was a free kick but the Frenchman was very fortunate not to be booked for some afters. Fagan thought he had then sent Clarkson clear but a poor offside decision robbed the striker. The next involvement from Fagan almost gave Hearts a chance, his poor ball intercepted by MacFarlane but Vaughan cleared up. Lasley then looked to have beaten Mahe to the ball but a dramatic dive by the former Parkhead man convinced Referee McCurry enough to not only give a free kick but he also booked the Motherwell midfielder. Stamp met the ball as it came in but headed wide. A superb run from McFadden had the Hearts defence in all sorts of trouble and it took a desperate boot from Pressley to clear just in time. McFadden then got back on the attack and made the by-line before his low cross was claimed by Moilanen just before Clarkson got in. The home reply was a wild effort from Mahe which was high and well past. Vaughan, under pressure, conceded a corner soon after which Webster headed in though Dubordeau saved. Dubordeau then carefully watched as a header from McKenna drifted past the far post.
Motherwell came out with the ball and as McFadden broke he looked to have been held back by Mahe. Again the decision went in favour of the Hearts man but they failed to take advantage. Slack play from Hammel allowed Wales to then force a corner and although Webster headed goalwards the ball struck Partridge and was hooked away. Motherwell failed to learn from the mistake and Fagan was cruelly caught out a minute later. His loose ball in midfield gave McKenna the chance to advance and he drilled the ball home from the edge of the box to open the scoring. There was a nasty clash upon resumption when Pearson was caught high by Maybury. The Hearts man raced back to accuse Pearson of diving and although he was booked for his part the Motherwell man, who did nothing in retaliation, somehow also saw yellow. Stamp then went flying as Hammel tackled and was given a free kick. Vaughan cleared to Pearson who, upon sending the ball upfield, was caught late by Webster but play failed to stop. Within seconds both McFadden and the Partridge were the victims of late challenges by Pressley and then Webster respectively but Referee McCurry again failed to spot. He did at last manage to keep his eyes open long enough to see McFadden fouled by Pressley and awarded a free kick 30 yards out. McFadden strode up and curled towards the top right only for Moilanen to get across and palm the ball behind. From the corner McFadden was clearly brought down by the trailing leg of Mahe but neither the Referee nor the Linesman, with clear views, could see the obvious. Incredibly no penalty was awarded and play continued.
Half Time Hearts 1 Motherwell 0
A loose pass in the middle from Pearson put Motherwell under pressure right away with Stamp racing to the by-line. His low cross fouled Valois but a weak effort drifted well wide. Motherwell responded with McFadden twice fouled giving free kicks in important areas. The first was cleared but the second knocked behind by Moilanen for a corner. Clarkson saw his shot blocked and although Vaughan looked to have been pushed by Webster Hearts were allowed to clear. They got a soft free kick when Stamp fell under minimal Pearson pressure but the effort from Stamp himself went well over. Motherwell got back on level terms with a goal they richly deserved. A run from Pearson along the edge of the box was deflected into the path of Fagan. He looped a ball wide to Lasley and with a superb touch he drifted the ball over Mahe before drilling past Moilanen on the angle to the delight of the Motherwell fans and players alike. That seemed to give Motherwell a tremendous lift and then took the game to their hosts. Lasley gathered a slack MacFarlane pass but the ball through to McFadden, who appeared to run form behind the Hearts defence, was deemed offside. Webster was leading a charmed life and he escaped a booking when he sent Lasley flying. Maybury however managed to clear just as Vaughan hovered inside the box. Again the Fir Parkers pushed up forcing errors in the home back four. Clarkson beat Pressley to a Corrigan pass but saw his shot blocked, Webster making a desperate clearance anywhere. Despite more persistent fouling, this time on Clarkson, Webster again failed to see yellow. Hearts made a change on the hour mark, MacFarlane replaced by Simmons. There was another questionable offside decision given when McFadden looked well on side as Dubordeau’s ball raced through. More sublime skill from McFadden then presented Clarkson with a difficult chance but he did well to get in a shot which Moilanen managed to gather. Clarkson then forced a corner which was cleared but as Hearts then tried to work the ball out of defence soon afterwards the were almost made to pay for slackness. Clarkson dispossessed Pressley and as the ball broke Pearson sent in a shot which wasn’t too far past.
Hearts were rarely seen in attack but they did force a corner which came to nothing. . There was no surprise when Webster was late on Lasley and wasn’t booked. The free kick was partially cleared but as it came back in the nod on found McFadden clear on the edge of the box but with time to take a touch he chose to shoot and sent the ball inches over the bar. Pressley was then again caught out by Clarkson but this time Webster managed to get in a vital interception as McFadden bore down on Moilanen. However, as so often happens, the team under pressure scored well against the run of play. Moilanen’s kick out fell in the Motherwell half and although it looked like Ramsay had been fouled by Webster play continued. Stamp raced upfield and from the by-line cut back where Simmons scored from close range. The home side then made a change, Valois off for Boyack. There was then the disgraceful scene of a section of the home support clearly racially abusing Motherwell’s loan signing Richard Offiong as he warmed up near the touchline. Not only that but Dirk Lehmann was also subject to some heavy verbal abuse as he ran by also. Lehmann came on soon after, replacing Fagan. Motherwell saw another man booked when Vaughan, who looked to have beaten Wales fairly, saw yellow. Stamp again drove the free kick high and over. Seconds later Maybury was high and late on Clarkson but somehow he wasn’t booked. From the freekick Partridge got in a header but it was saved. Another home change saw Wales replaced by Kirk, then Motherwell took off Clarkson in place of Offiong. The home side had an opportunity when Vaughan was adjudged to have fouled Kirk but Motherwell cleared. As time began to run out Severin saw a shot on the edge of the box cleared and then saw a header saved by Dubordeau. However, time ran out and Motherwell left wondering how they went home pointless.
Full-time Hearts 2 Motherwell 1
Match Report by Ricky Mullen