Motherwell v Hearts 16.12.00
Motherwell 2, Hearts 0
Match Date: Saturday, December 16 2000
Competition: Premier League
Goram, Corrigan, Strong, McMillan, Hammell , Townsley, Brannan, Leitch, Twaddle (Elliott), Spencer (Adams), McCulloch.
Subs not used: Woods, Nicholas, Ouiefio
Motherwell scorers: Townsley (56), Adams (87).
WELL BACK ON TRACK TO DEFEAT JAMBOS
Motherwell 2 Heart of Midlothian 0
MOTHERWELL PRODUCED ONE OF THEIR Best performances of the season to defeat Hearts and push themselves back into contention for a top-six finish. The Fir Parkers all but dominated the match bar a brief spell from the visitors and should gain plenty of confidence from what was an encouraging win.
|Hearts did push upfield from kick-off and a long-ball from Pressley was met by Kirk on the edge of the box though his weak shot was easily dealt with by Goram. However, Motherwell instantly hit back with Derek Townsley crossing for Spencer though his header was blocked by Pressley and cleared. Kevin Twaddle was then denied by the swift intervention of Neilson but the corner could not be avoided. Spencer swung it in where Leitch drove the ball wide. The alert Spencer then pounced on a loose ball in midfield to race forward. Sending Townsley wide the winger easily outpaced Fulton and dragged a shot inches wide of the far post. A flying elbow from Juanjo caught Hammel though the Spaniard could count himself lucky at only conceding a free kick. Motherwell were pushing upfield at every opportunity with Spencer at the heart of most attacks. He was on hand to take receipt of Townsley’s pass to turn and shoot though Niemi was on hand to hold. Tomaschek then should have gathered himself a yellow card for a deliberate tug on Leitch as he threatened to break clear some 40 yards out.|
Hearts were somewhat weak up front though Tomaschek did have a chance from 20 yards but cleared the bar by roughly the same distance. Leitch then was prevented from scoring by an important interception from Neilson who whacked the ball desperately away. Townsley gathered but drove a shot wide. A foul by Murray brought McCulloch crashing to the ground 25 yards out though the free kick from Twaddle sailed over by quite some distance. Stevie McMillan then set up Leitch near the penalty area but with others waiting in the clear he chose to shoot, the ball going over the bar. Juanjo was perhaps the biggest threat to Motherwell and he jinked his was along the box before setting up Cameron who failed to trouble Goram. Neilson was caught napping as Twaddle dispossessed him but the cross was met by Cameron who knocked the ball behind for a corner. Spencer then pounced on a loose ball and slipped a pass through to Twaddle and his effort narrowly cleared the crossbar. Spencer again was on the ball seconds later but he was cynically brought down by Pressley though again Referee McCurry decided no card was to be shown. Severin for Hearts made a rare foray forward to curl a shot in but it went wide of the far post. Fulton then had to look sharp to cut out Leitch’s run towards Twaddle’s deep cross though seconds later a terrific long ball from Strong was met by Corrigan but he directed his header over. Hearts were rarely seen in attack though they came close when Pressley’s shot from 6 yards out was blocked by Strong and looped into the arms of Goram. A minute later Motherwell should have taken the lead. Hammel sent Twaddle down the wing and cutting into the box his shot was deflected to the in-running McCulloch but with the goal gaping he clipped the ball onto the cross bar and away. Hearts broke forward with Tomaschek making ground to the box. With Juanjo to this left he supplied the Spaniard with an accurate pass but the finish from the former Barcelona youth player was woeful to say the least. Clever play by Hammel saw him ease away from Tomaschek and drive in a shot which Niemi appeared to palm behind though no corner was awarded. Spencer then made a superb pass wide to set Townsley up for the cross. The ball came in but Twaddle was put off by the presence of Neilson and headed wide. Twaddle then turned provider for Townsley but the shot was deflected behind. Cleared as far as Corrigan the defender shot way over. Moments before the interval Corrigan ran clear to the edge of the box but with Juanjo tugging away at his jersey sent a shot behind.
Half-Time Motherwell 0 Heart of Midlothian 0
|It was same again as Motherwell continued where they had left off prior to the interval. A hand-ball by Neilson went unnoticed with the loose ball being crossed back in by Twaddle, Neilson conceding a corner. Good play involving Spencer and McMillan gave the latter the opportunity to bear down on goal but Neilson ran in to nick the ball to safety. Juanjo then attempted to relieve some of the pressure on his teammates by taking matters into his own hands. His run forward took him to the edge of the box and a powerful shot was well held by Goram in goal. A slip by Neilson was pounced upon by Twaddle but the cross was well cutout by the alert Niemi. It was then Greg Strong’s turn to slip in his box with Neilson in close attendance he gathered but was blocked for a corner. The underfoot conditions were beginning to create problems with the wet snowfall making the park greasy. Murray was next to fall victim to the weather as Spencer took advantage. However, his cross was poor with Twaddle clear at the back-post. A minute later the pressure paid off for Motherwell. From a corner Townsley rose above everyone to head home and give Motherwell a fully deserved lead.|
Hearts made an immediate substitution when Juanjo went off for Milne. This proved to be an important substitution for Hearts as Milne began to cause problems. Less than a minute after coming on Goram made a quite stunning save as Milne headed a cross in. Going one way Goram somehow managed to turn in mid-air to palm the ball behind. Motherwell attacked with McMillan supplying Twaddle and his shot had to be firstly parried and then gratefully saved by the surprised Niemi. As Hearts pushed forward in their next attack McMillan looked to have snuffed out the danger but a push in the back by Murray, which should have been met with a Motherwell goal-kick, gained the visitors the corner. Milne rose to head freely but wide of the far post. Hearts were coming more into things and a dangerous cross from Tomaschek was deflected behind by Corrigan. The visitors then replaced the ineffective Durie for McSwegan. A clearance by Goram was met on the drop by Spencer who slipped a pass into the path of Corrigan. The ball looked net-bound until Niemi somehow made a superb parry wide. Twaddle crossed the ball back in for McCulloch but he headed inches over. Hearts came close again when Mine beat Corrigan on the edge of the box but the shot was expertly tipped over by Goram. The Goalie was at it again seconds later when the corner was met once more by Milne but his header, right at Goram, was parried to the left and put behind for another corner. Hearts were putting on the pressure at this point with McSwegan turning in the box and crashing a shot off the post which Goram looked to have covered had it been any nearer goal. Ged Brannan looked to have cleared ahead of the slowing Fulton but incredibly McCurry gave Hearts the free-kick 25 yards out. Severin saw his shot blocked and cleared to Townsley who almost went clear, the bounce of the ball beating him and running away. The tiring Twaddle was then replaced by the fresh legs of Derek Adams.
|Motherwell gradually rode the storm and began to come back into things. Townsley set up Spencer but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Neilson. The corner came in and was met by Strong though as the ball looped towards goal Fulton hooked it clear almost on the line. Fulton then brought Adams down but with Christmas up-and-coming McCurry was taking the Scrooge route and keeping all the cards to himself. Niemi had to race from his goal to deny Spencer who was almost onto a clearance some 40 yards out. Kirk looked way offside but play was waved-on and his shot was saved. There were shouts for an ordering-off when Murray looked last-man as he hauled back McCulloch. However, Referee McCurry inexplicably punished the Hearts man with a mere ticking-off and gave Motherwell a free kick. Spencer left to be replaced by Elliott as Motherwell looked to freshen up front. Pressley was lucky not concede a penalty when he clambered all over McCulloch inside the box. Hearts then played their last card by taking off Neilson and replacing him with Locke. The Fir Pakers came desperately close to doubling their advantage when Elliott ran through the middle and onto a loose ball. The Northern Irish International cracked a shot which came off Niemi and also the post.|
However, the second and conclusive goal was merely delayed. Pressley made ground out of defence but was dispossessed by an old-fashioned shoulder charge from Townsley. Quickly turning he sent Adams clear and the latter bided his time before beating Niemi. A bad tackle by Milne incredibly was completely ignored by McCurry who shortly afterward blew for full-time.
Full-Time Motherwell 2 Heart of Midlothian 0
Match Report by Ricky Mullen