SPL v Motherwell
MOTHERWELL 3 DUNFERMLINE 1 Date: 24/01/12
Attendance: 3772, Kick Off: 3:00pm.
Referee: Alan Muir
For Dunfermline`s first visit to Fir Park since 2007, it was no surprise that Jim McIntyre named the same starting eleven that brought success at Kilmarnock on Saturday. Motherwell preferred last Saturday`s impressive sub, Henrik Ojamma in place of Omar Daley, So it was an Estonian for a Jamaican when the home side kicked off attacking the goal in front of the 380 strong travelling support.
Dunfermline had the first shot of the night in 68 seconds when Andy Barrowman and Liam Buchanan combined at the top of the box but when laid back for Mark Kerr the new boy smashed high over the bar from 25 yards. David Graham intercepted a Motherwell pass on the midway line but Stephen Craigan mopped up well to deny any opportunity to burst through.
Motherwell tried a patient build up but on two occasions ran the ball out for goal kicks. As the game went on though their build up improved and Alex Keddie had a good clearance. Ojamma produced some trickery on the right but Keddie prevented the ball getting to the awaiting Michael Higdon in the penalty box. It was growingly concerning as Motherwell pegged the Pars back. Paddy Boyle was the next to impress with some necessary defending.
After quarter of an hour an offside decision from Assistant Referee James Bee was controversial. Higdon was offside but Ojamma possibly not as he broke through the Pars defence. Next minute Dunfermline might have had a penalty when Shaun Hutchison eased Joe Cardle off the ball on the left side of the penalty box.
The match boiled over in 17 minutes when a head movement by Stephen Craigan was aimed at Andy Barrowman. Referee Alan Muir showed the Irish defender a red card and the Pars striker saw yellow. Stuart McCall withdrew striker Jamie Murphy with Tim Clancy to restore his defence.
Cardle`s free kick from the incident was fired to the far side and that allowed Keddie and Buchanan a swish in the six yard box but the home side knocked the ball out as far as Gary Mason but he could not hit the target. Against the ten men the Fifers pushed up with Cardle running in to try a shot at goal from 20 yards but his effort nearly hit the corner flag on the right.
On 26 minutes Barrowman required physio Kenny Murray`s attention but he could do nothing for the calf injury so Andy Kirk came on as the Pars first substitute. Motherwell then struck to open the scoring. Powerful play from 20 year old OJAMMA put himself through on the left side. He was not closed down and drove a low shot into the far corner of the net from 20 yards. It looked as though Iain Turner would safely hold it but the ball took a bounce over him and it was 1-0 in 29 minutes.
Clancy was shown yellow next in conceding a free kick on the right of the penalty box. The free kick led to several successive corners and there were penalty claims. The most likely when Dowie was upended in going out of the six yard box. There was a Dowie shot cleared off the line and a Cardle free kick headed on target by Buchanan but blocked and cleared.
Every time a Motherwell player went down the home crowd shouted for a decision and they were making a tremendous din and turning the pressure up on the referee. It was Ojamma though who was shown the next card prompting chants of "you don`t know what you`re doing." Kerr did know what he was doing however as he constructed a good passing move with him eventually getting the chance from the right side of the box but that was dealt with after the former Aberdeen captain was given a second bite of the cherry.
As the board went up to reveal two added minutes Kirk and Buchanan combined wide on the left but yet again the Motherwell defence broke that down. In added time Turner clutched a shot from half way and the half time whistle arrived with the ten men one up. Dunfermline did not manage to take advantage of the sending off and if anything the home side seemed fired up because of it. As for the red card decision maybe trial by Sportscene will convince the home eyes. But then it might reveal two good Pars penalty claims.
Half Time: Motherwell 1 Dunfermline 0
The second period started with Motherwell overcoming their disadvantage yet again. The Steelmen created problems for the defence through Ojamma and he squared the ball to Nicky LAW who smashed the ball high into the net from 22 yards. 2-0.
While Motherwell could string together passes,Dunfermline were the opposite. Paul Willis came on for Cardle in 56 minutes as Jim McIntyre tried to change the course the game was taking. Two minutes later Well forced their first corner of the night and Turner did well when under pressure he punched away Hateley`s delivery.
When the Pars did get the space Kerr passed wide left to Boyle who advanced down the left to cross. Andy KIRK met the ball to send a sweet volley past the helpless Darren Randolph. The goal gave Dunfermline the expected boost and they were quickly up in front of their own supporters again, winning a corner but failing to convert the good chance at the far post.
At the mid point of the second half Boyle pumped over another cross that Willis challenged for but the Pars lost out as Kirk was adjudged to have backed into his marker. Dunfermline looked livlier and played the game much more in the opposition half. Willis won another corner and the Pars were all over their opponents until Randolph came to clutch Mason`s cross.
There was much more promise in the way Dunfermline looked and they must have been relieved to see Ojamma substituted with 18 minutes to go. Graham took a pass from Willis and sent the ball wide for Boyle and there was another cross for Well to take. It was Willis who got the next shot on target but his left footed effort from 20 yards took a deflection and the keeper held.
Martin Hardie replaced Liam Buchanan for the last quarter of an hour. In 78 minutes Graham made an electric run down the left and his cross fell to Kirk but he struck the shot wide left. Unfortunately the goal that was wanted came at the wrong end. It was a long ball from Randolph that was flicked on by Higdon to HUMPHREY and the 22 year old sub scored his first goal since his visit to East End Park in August. 3-1.
For the final ten plus three added minutes Motherwell continued to compete and make sure that they limited the Pars chances. So for the second time this month the Pars failed to beat a team reduced to ten men for more than three quarters of a game. Motherwell go back into third place and Dunfermline remain 12th, one point behind Hibs.
MOTHERWELL: Darren Randolph; Tom Hateley, Shaun Hutchinson, Stephen Craigan, Steven Hammell,; Henrik Ojamaa (Bob McHugh 72), Keith Lasley, Steven Jennings, Nicky Law (Chris Humphrey 76); Jamie Murphy (Tim Clancy 19), Michael Higdon
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Bradley, Omar Daley, Stuart Carswell, Ross Forbes.
RED CARD: Craigan (17)
YELLOW CARD: Clancy (32), Ojamma (40), Higdon (75)
SCORER: Ojamma (29), Law (52), Humphrey (80)
DUNFERMLINE: Iain Turner; Andy Dowie, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; David Graham, Mark Kerr, Gary Mason (c), Joe Cardle (Paul Willis 56); Liam Buchanan (Martin Hardie 75), Andy Barrowman.(Andy Kirk 27).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), John Potter, Ryan Thomson, Shaun Byrne..
YELLOW CARD: Barrowman (17)
SCORER: Kirk (63)
WEATHER: Still 5C
NEXT MATCH: (away) SPL v Aberdeen
Saturday 28th January, 2012, kick off 3.00pm