Hibernian v Motherwell 11.12.99
Hibernian 2, Motherwell 2
Match date : Saturday, December 11 1999Competition : Premier LeagueAttendance : 9,995
Woods, Doesburg, Kemble, Teale, McMillan, Townsley, Brannan, Valakari, Nevin (Harvey), Halliday (Nicholas), Spencer.
Sub not used: Brown, Thomas, Ramsay.
Motherwell scorers: Spencer (77, 89).
SPENNY DOUBLE KEEPS ‘WELL IN THE HUNT
Hibernian 2 Motherwell 2
A STUNNING DOUBLE FROM SUPER John Spencer secured a valuable point to take Motherwell into third and keep them in the hunt for a UEFA Cup place. With time running out Spencer lashed in a terrific 16-yard shot to give the visitors a point they richly deserved.
Early play was scrappy as were the conditions with heavy rain causing a slippery surface. Motherwell had a claim for hand-ball ignored as Lovell appeared to palm away Pat Nevin’s shot, the winger latching onto a loose ball after Townsley’s cross had been partially cleared. The first booking of the game went against Simo Valakari, a free-kick certainly but the Finn was hard done by to see yellow for a first tackle. Seconds later a much worse tackle by Collins on Halliday saw only a free-kick with no punishment for the Hibs defender. In the slippery conditions Sean Teale did well to deny Latapy after Miller had crossed deep into the Motherwell box. From the corner Miller volleyed well over. A clever move by the Fir Parkers almost brought the breakthrough on 23 minutes. Doesburg’s chip found Halliday, and he in turn supplied Spencer. The striker almost got the better of Hughes but he managed to clear in time with a massive boot downfield. As Miller looked to run on Teale repeated the dose and the ball sailed out of play. There was almost controversy when Latapy clearly handled the ball whilst attempting to control a through ball. Play was waved on, and Paatalenien shot narrowly past. Steven Halliday, deputising for the suspended Lee McCulloch, was trying hard to impress, and he passed to Spencer. However, Halliday, upon receipt of the one-two, delayed and chose instead to pass once more to Spencer who was blocked out. The Referee then infuriated the Motherwell players and supporters when, after Townsley had fairly won the ball from Smith, he blew the whistle when the ball which had run loose was picked up by Spencer. The much-talked about Miller hardly done his cause any good with a late tackle on Doesburg, though the youngster managed to escape any real punishment. On the half-hour Simo Valakari, yet to score for Motherwell, went very close with a 30-yard shot from a free-kick. Neat work From Spencer and Doesburg gave Nevin the chance to run to the bye-line but quick thinking from Dennis saw the ball out. Benito Kemble, a rock at the back for Motherwell, made a brilliant interception to deny Miller who looked certain to cash in on Latapy’s accurate cross. Halliday again was guilty of hesitation a moment later when Spencer’s great cross found him in space, but instead of a first-time effort he crossed and the ball was partially cleared, Townsley’s effort then being fully cleared downfield. Latapy was causing few problems, and as if to underline his performance he shot wildly over from the edge of the box. Yellow cards were being kept in check, or so it seemed, for the home defenders, and Dennis was no doubt thankful of this when he brought down Halliday as he burst through. Halliday picked himself up and ran on to Nevin’s pass, but the hand of Smith intervened though no free-kick was given. Four minutes from the break Woods made a good save from Brebner’s stinging shot. Motherwell broke forward and it took a great tackle from Smith to stop Spencer gaining a dangerous position in the box. As the ball broke Townsley was brought down by Lovell in a central position, though Brannan’s shot from the free-kick curled past. An elbow by Paatalenien on Townsley went unnoticed by the Referee and the Linesman. Hibs kept possession more or less in the last couple of minutes to the interval without creating anything.
Half-Time Hibernian 0 Motherwell 0
Referee Simpson was clearly having trouble in picking out things, this being underlined when Miller clearly used a hand in controlling the ball on the edge of the box, though the ball ran through to Woods and he gathered. Valakari then fired in a great 20-yarder which Colgan did well to hold at the second attempt in the wet conditions. Kemble then performed heroics to break up a dangerous Hibs attack, working the ball out of a packed defence and in the end it took a trip by Paatalenien to stop his progress. Hibs attacked again, and shots from Paatelenien and Hughes were blocked by a sturdy Motherwell rearguard. Nine minutes in to the half Motherwell replaced Halliday with the ever-improving Stephen Nicholas. An unnecessary corner was conceded when Woods failed to come for a cross forcing Doesburg to nod behind. The corner broke of Kemble for another, though this time Miller’s shot went wide. Play swung to the other end of the pitch and Nevin’s shot was blocked by the despairing leg of Hughes. As the ball was swung in Colgan dropped and it took Dennis to hook the ball clear. Hibs burst upfield, Paatelennian looked set to run onto Latapy’s ball but Doesburg nipped in to knee the ball back to Woods who cleared. There was some nastiness when Smith caught Nicholas with an elbow, the Hibs defender lucky not to be at least cautioned. Brannan’s shot was deflected for a corner, which Colgan caught under great pressure. With 63 minutes gone, however, Hibs took an unlikely lead. Woods failed to hold Sauzee’s low shot from 25 yards leaving Paatelenien the easiest of tasks to chip the ball over the stranded keeper. Hibs had another chance soon after when Paatelenien was awarded a very soft free-kick following Kemble’s challenge, though justice was done when Hughes picked out Meadowbank Stadium with his shot. Motherwell almost hit back immediately when Doesburg picked out Spencer but his header was well saved. A good run by Nicholas saw him cross low and the ball strike Smith, but once more Referee Simpson failed to spot the obvious. At last, though, he did book Dennis for another late tackle, this time on Nicholas. Motherwell deservedly drew level with 21 minutes left. Michel Doesburg showed great awareness to chip forward to Spencer and he beat the advancing Colgan to slip the ball into the net from a tight angle on the edge of the box. Seconds later Motherwell almost took a sensational lead. Spencer sent Townsley to the bye-line and his low cross was met perfectly by Nicholas, only for Colgan to save brilliantly at the expense of a corner. Hibs were living dangerously, with Dennis lucky to see Townsley’s low cross destined for Nicholas bounce off his own knee and into Colgan’s arms. Hibs then got a breather when they were given a corner despite Woods catching the ball whilst still in play near the bye-line, though Teale made an expert clearance as the ball came in. Good chasing by Nicholas then forced Hughes to concede a throw in a dangerous position, with Valakari’s shot blocked by Hughes and cleared. Townsely then saw a shot slip just past as Motherwell looked the likelier to win the match. With 10 minutes to go Harvey replaced the exhausted Nevin, with Hibs taking off Sauzee much to the delight of the Motherwell fans whom he had enraged in an earlier tussle with McMillan and replacing him with McGinlay. One hand-ball Referee Simpson did see was a rather unfortunate handling against Simo Valakari some 25 yards out, the ball clearly playing the midfielder. Woods managed to gather at the second attempt. Soon after Townsley passed up an opportunity by passing instead of having a shot, the ball being cleared for a corner. A minute later Hartley replaced Miller for the home side. With three minutes left Hibs looked to have quite literally stolen the points when the unmarked McGinlay scored with an over-head kick from fourteen yards out. However, this Motherwell side never know when they are beaten, and within three minutes they were level. Simo Valakari passed to Spencer just inside the box, and he beat two Hibs defenders before smashing a terrific drive high beyond Colgan to give Motherwell a deserved share.
Full-Time Hibernian 2 Motherwell 2