SPL v Motherwell
MOTHERWELL 1 DUNFERMLINE 1 Date: 31/01/01
A last minute goal by Lee Bullen grabbed back a point that sees the Pars clinch sixth spot in the league.
Motherwell should have had the game won before Dunfermline pushed forward to salvage a point. At the very end Dunfermline could have notched a winner when Lee Bullen was on the end of another Nicholson cross but his header landed wide to the right of the goalpost.
No sign of Youssef Rossi who didn`t make it back from Egypt in time for the kick off. David Moss was out injured so Lee Bullen started up front beside Stevie Crawford and Gary Mason was preferred to Steve Hampshire in midfield.This was a much better match than the one we witnessed at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.
First half was played with Dunfermline defending the goal in front of their own support of around 400. Goal mouth action was included from the start and when Corrigan swung over a ball from the right in the third minute Townsley should have done better but the Pars defence blocked him out and Scott Leitch`s 25 yard shot went straight to Marco Ruitenbeek.Next minute a Michel Doesburg cross at the other end was met by a diving Stevie Crawford but his header went just to the outside of the right goalpost. In the ninth minute McMillan and Spencer set up a shot for Lee McCulloch and he forced Ruitenbeek to make a good parrying save and scramble to the goal line to pick up the ball.
Another minute and another goalscoring opportunity squandered by Motherwell as Adams hit McCulloch`s cross over the crossbar. On the quarter hour, Dunfermline came back with Bullen almost getting to Andy Goram`s clearance and then the ex Scotland number one saving a Barry Nicholson shot after Bullen had knocked down an Ian Ferguson cross.Ruitenbeek had a lengthy throw that Lee Bullen collected on the halfway line on the far toiuchline. Bully travelled with pace down the left before sending in a good cross which Crawford left for someone behind him but that someone hadn`t arrived.
Scott Thomson had a shot blocked before Referee Bobby Orr awarded Dunfermline a penalty.It was an award of the soft variety but Benito Kemble`s tackle on Chris McGroarty in the centre of the penalty area led to the referee pointing to the spot with little hesitation. Stevie Crawford stepped up and hit it right footed at the outside of the right goalpost and out of play.Motherwell were not completely out of things; they intercepted some indecisive Pars passes and exchanged some neat stuff themselves.
John Spencer was left with a chance from the edge of the six yard box as he used good skills to create a chance and Scott Thomson happily conceded a corner.
Gary Mason was in the thick of things in the midfield and he also produced a driving run up the left but Motherwell`s defence were up for it. In the last minute of the first half Bullen had a break up the right but the danger was cleared when his cross was cut out for a corner.
Motherwell started the second half in a hurry and when Justin Skinner caused Spencer to tumble in the penalty box the visitors had to be fortunate not to give away a penalty. Nine minutes into the half Doesburg sent Nicholson deep down the right, the young Par drove into the box out right and teed up Crawford for a crack at goal from 15 yards. The shot was blocked though and it was 20 minutes before Goram had anything else to bother him.
Brannan had a shot held by Marco; McCulloch launched one over the crossbar, and Spencer one tipped over by Marco before Motherwell got the breakthrough with 69 minutes gone. A corner from the right carried way over to the left of the penalty box; it was headed goalward and Derek Adams produced a fine diving header that Marco turned on to his right hand post. The ball broke back out for Lee McCulloch to tap in.
Andrius Skerla pushed forward for a long range effort that went wide right and then he was provider for Crawford but the latter was upended without a blink of surprise from the referee. With Skerla stranded upfield play switched rapidly back to the other end and Scott Thomson had to be called on to deal with a quick Goodman threat.
Jimmy Calderwood sitting in the Directors Box because of suspension was swaying about and remonstrating with frustration. The planned radio communication with the dug out appeared to be ineffective with Jimmy Nicholl spending a large amount of time looking at his boss`s gestures. Team doctor Gerry Gillespie turned carrier of information as he journied between the manager and his assistant.Calderwood`s wishes delivered and four men were sent into attack for the last ten minutes.
Marinus Dijkhuizen was introduced and Michel Doesburg withdrawn. Things got shaky and Jason Dair was forced to clear over his own crossbar.Into the last minute and Dunfermline pressed forward with Nicholson finding Crawford on the right wing. Stevie`s cross was met by Dijkhuizen about 8 yards out and his strong header was saved by Goram but only such as it spun on to the crossbar and Lee BULLEN was there to "bury it from two inches".Bully could have got the winner after 92 minutes when a Nicholson cross was there for converting but the header went wide.
A good outcome in the end. Dunfermline could have done to Motherwell what Motherwell did to Dunfermline at East End Park. Motherwell were more disappointed with the draw but Dunfermline can be pleased with the good performances from Doesburg, Mason and Bullen.
DUNFERMLINE: 3-5-2: Ruitenbeek; Skinner, Skerla, Thomson; Doesburg (Dijkhuizen 81), Nicolson, Ferguson, Mason, McGroarty (Dair 65); Bullen, Crawford
Subs not used: Thomson (GK), Tod, Hampshire.
Scorer: Bullen (89)
Yellow Card: Mason (45), Nicholson (92)
Strip: Black and white shirts, white shorts and socks.
MOTHERWELL: 3-5-2: Goram; Kemble, Brannan, Strong; Corrigan, Townsley, Leitch, Adams, McMillan; Spencer (Goodman 75), McCulloch (Twaddle 75).
Subs not used: Woods (GK), Hammell, Lasley.
Scorer: McCulloch (69)
Yellow Card: Adams (42), Goodman (88).
Strip: Home: Amber and Claret
Referee: Bobby Orr
Weather: Cold but dry.
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm