Dunfermline Report

Last updated : 19 February 2003 By Firparkcorner

Motherwell opened up a three point gap between them and Dundee United at the foot of the SPL, with a crucial 2-1 home victory over Dunfermline.

In a thoroughly entertaining encounter, Terry Butcher's men held their nerve to take all three points from an in-form Pars side.

It was the visitors who found themselves with the first clear opportunity, Barry Nicholson threatening from a 25-yard free kick which was expertly held by Francois Dubourdeau low to his left.

Steven Craig then shot wide after a clever break on the left before Derek Adams saw his 18th minute set piece superbly tipped over the bar by Derek Stillie.

From the resulting corner by Steven Hammell, Stephen Pearson rose at the near post to head past Stillie and into the far corner of the net.

In the 27th minute Pearson was unlucky not to find the net once more, Stillie on hand to block the midfielder's shot as he raced in on goal.

Craig Brewster tried his luck at the other end but found a similar barrier in the form of Dubourdeau.

In the 39th minute the visitors had their best chance of the match so far, David Grondin firing a ferocious left foot shot goalwards, but saw it incredibly turned onto the post by the Well keeper.

The second period burst into life in the 50th minute. David Clarkson broke brilliantly through the middle and slid the ball to Craig, who did well to stay onside in order to fire Motherwell two goals clear.

The net at the other end bulged shortly afterwards, Stevie Crawford taking advantage of some slack marking in the Well defence to shoot the visitors back into the match.

Hammell, Clarkson and Shaun Fagan all had to chances to add to Motherwell's tally while Grondin was unfortunate not to level matters with a late drive which was acrobatically touched over by man of the match Dubourdeau.