August 2002 Saturday, August 31
This is the stuff that nightmares are made of. Hibs arrived at Fir Park this afternoon without a point to their name, and promptly won 2-0 with both goals coming from Derek Townsley who put in a man-of-the-match performance. It really doesn’t get much worse than this.
Before the kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of Willie Leishman, the former ‘Well player who died last week after a long illness. We fielded the same starting eleven as last week, but it was the visitors who made the better start and they took the lead after 15 mins. The cumbersome Partridge was beaten for pace and skill, and was forced to concede a free-kick 25 yards out from goal. Up stepped Townsley to float the ball into the top corner. It was a decent strike, but was hit with no great power and from that range should definitely have been saved by Steve Woods. Townsley, who had been getting dogs’ abuse right from the kick-off, celebrated his strike in front of the East Stand and was promptly booked by the referee. Hibs had further chances to increase their lead before the interval, with Motherwell rarely seen as an attacking force.
Terry Butcher made a substitution early in the second half when he replaced the anonymous Derek Adams with new signing Steven Ferguson, and the change seemed to have an effect with Motherwell coming more into the game. On the hour mark, Ferguson received a quick free-kick inside the box and was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post. Then in 71 mins came the turning point of the match. McFadden was put clean through on goal, but tried to be too clever by taking the ball round the goalkeeper and allowed Colgan to make the save. We were well on top at this point and an equaliser would surely have seen us go on the win the match, but typically Hibs ran up the park and scored a second to kill the game off, and it had to be that man Townsley grabbed the goal with a far-post header. He celebrated his goal by jumping over the advertising hoarding behind the goal, but not surprisingly the ref bottled it by deciding not to send him off. McFadden was deservedly hauled off by the management team straight after the second goal, and perhaps he should be advised to stop believing everything that is written about him in the papers. We tried our best to get back into the game after this, and had a reasonable penalty claim turned down, but Hibs held on for a 2-0 win.
This was a poor performance all round, with not many players picking up pass marks. The midfield was non-existent for much of the game, and our powder-puff strike force never really threatened until the introduction of Ferguson. With a difficult run of games coming up, starting with the Celtic match a week on Tuesday, this was a great chance to pick up 3 points and move ourselves away from the teams at the bottom of the league. Though times ahead methinks!
Team: Woods, Ramsey, Corrigan, Partridge, Hammell, Lasley, Adams (Ferguson), Leitch, Pearson, McFadden (Fagan), Lehmann.
Subs not used: Dubourdeau and two others.
Time for a new opinion poll!