SPL v Motherwell
DUNFERMLINE 0 MOTHERWELL 0 Date: 02/03/05
Fixture: BOS SPL Premier League, Attendance: 3565
Kick Off: 19:45, Referee: Willie Young
Weather: Cool, clear 1C
Barry Nicholson missed his first games since August with a stomach bug but his ex-Gers mate Scott Wilson returns to the defence already preparing itself for the departure of Andrius Skerla.
This was the third meeting of the season between the teams. A Scott McDonald goal two minutes from time denied the Pars a first home win in September and Motherwell won 2-1 on their own ground in November. This game never looked as if it would warm the loyal supporters that turned out on both sides. No goals and no real excitement as both sides cancelled each other out.
Motherwell fielded the team that defeated Hearts 2-0 meaning Martyn Corrigan and David Clarkson were on the bench as the Steelmen got the game underway attacking the goal at the McCathie end. It was the home side that created the better of the first half chances starting with a dangerous ball in from the right byeline that Gjorgi Hristov turned into Gordon Marshall`s hands.
Next it was Darren Young who set up a chance for the Macedonian but this time it was a tame effort a t Marshall again. Motherwell had little to show for their early efforts Paterson`s break through the left ended with a chip that broke off Scott Wilson into Stillie`s hands. In the 13th minute Paterson fed McDonald a chamce but his shot was way off target and was collected by Paterson who next time chose to lay the ball back to Kevin McBride but he failed to bother Stillie.
Three minutes later play switched to the other end with Hristov feeding Donnelly a ball that he quickly moved on for Young. The Pars midfielders chipped shot from the left side of the penalty box dropped wide of the right post. Play continued to be dominated by Dunfermline who did look the keener of the two sides but much as they enjoyed plenty possession there was little penetration into the final third of the pitch.
David Partridge was felled by a stinging shot that Makel fairly got hold of and that led to the first corner of the match after 27 minutes. Makel swept that in from the North East corner and `Well keeper Gordon Marshall duly dropped it giving Scott Thomson half a chance but all that was won was another corner. This time Andy Tod headed well wide to the right of target.
Motherwell`s attempts to break on the counterattack were thwarted by a Simon Donnelly tackle on McDonald and from Partridge`s free kick just five yards inside the Pars half Hammell fed the ball to McDonald who produced a fine ball into the penalty box but Thomson raced in to head clear.
One minute later in the 32nd of the match Hammell swung over a corner from the right that Scott Wilson headed out only to see Hammell return a ball that McDonald turned into the net but fortunately the far side linesman had his flag raised. Dunfermline too might have had better fortunes; Gary Mason ending a nice move from Wilson through Ross to Christiansen that set up the former Man City player but his shot was wide left.
Ten minutes from half time Thomson and Donnelly did well to put Hristov into a great position twelve yards out to open his Pars account but the striker failed to connect as he fell back. At half time injury caused Scott Thomson to be replaced by Ian Campbell and for the first time in a long time Andy Tod found himself wearing the captain`s arm.
The half time substitute almost returned a dividend with his first involvement. His cross from the left shot across the six yard box with Hristov, Young and Christiansen all getting close but not close enough to turn the ball into the net. Dunfermline maintained the pressure through Lee Makel who worked his way around Paul Quinn to send in a cross that Hammell turned out for a corner which was held by Marshall.
Greg Ross had valiant attempts to break through on the right but his best effort was a square ball to Mason on the edge of the box that he hit with a sidefooted volleyed high and right. Motherwell`s first danger of the second half took until the 58th minute when some Pars fans feared McDonald had scored but his shot cleared the crossbar and hit the support stantion.
Back in front of the home support Hristov played a good ball off Christiansen but failed to score. Just when the Macedonian looked to be coming to grips with the SPL and the tricky playing surface he was substituted by Billy Mehmet. Derek Stillie worried the home support with a clearance that was charged down by McDonald to rebound wide of the Pars keeper`s right hand post.
Campbell and Donnelly exchanged passes before the 19 year old sub swung over a ball that Christiansen appeared to be up too quick for and ended up going behind to the right. `Well continued to look scary on the break. Fitzpatrick`s run picked out Paterson but his decent shot was wide left. Then Ross was forced to turn the ball over his own crossbar when McBride executed a fine delivery.
Tod headed over a Makel corner but the visitors began to look the more likely to break the deadlock. Derek who had come on for brother Darren headed away a Partridge attempt at a corner and in the 85th minute Paterson almost got away from Ross but the young defender stayed with him and conceded a corner.
As the two added minutes of additional time started Makel hit a free kick across the face of goal forcing Foran into desperate defending. Corner after corner came and went before a 92nd minute free kick was awarded on the edge of the box when Mehmet was stopped illegally by Quinn. Lee Makel shot over the wall but straight at Marshall and with that went any chances of seeing any goals.
Neither team really deserved to win so the draw was definitely the fairest result. Motherwell looked happier to settle for the point and with Livingston defeating Kilmarnock the Pars now stand just six points off the bottom. Performance wise Scott Wilson looked back on form; Toddy and Ross gave their all but with slush being brushed up from the surface the match was played in difficult conditions for good football.
Dunfermline Squad: Stillie; Ross, Tod, Wilson, Thomson (Campbell HT); Makel, Darren Young (Derek Young 72), Mason, Donnelly; Hristov (Mehmet 60), Christiansen
Dunfermline Subs: Langfield, McKeown, C Wilson, Scullion
Dunfermline Strip: Home White and Black
Dunfermline Goal Scorers: none
Dunfermline Yellow Card: Tod (88)
Motherwell Squad: Marshall; Hammell, Craigan (Kinniburgh 85), McDonald, Leitch, Partridge, Hamilton, McBride (Foran 86), Paterson, Quinn, Fitzpatrick
Motherwell Subs: Corr, Clarkson, Wright, Corrigan, Fagan.
Motherwell Yellow Card: Hammell (65)