Motherwell fightback caps a super season

Last updated : 17 May 2008 By Firparkcorner

Porter scored
The game was a bit of a roller coaster. Before Motherwell kicked off there was applause to mark the passing of Tommy Burns and the crowd of ten and a half thousand roared to encourage the teams.

The first ten minutes were fairly even and it became apparent that the visitors' tactics would rely of long balls fired towards Cousin and McCulloch. We responded by relying of Porter as the target but there were early signs that the passing from Hughes would be important.

Rangers had a set of three corners after fifteen minutes but our eleven man defence held out. Smith, who was to become both villain and hero later on, was the first keeper called into action when he dealt well with a fierce twenty yard effort from Cousin.

We gifted them a goal after half an hour. Broadfoot hoisted a cleared ball toward the edge of our box and Smith, often criticised for waiting on his line, decided to come to clear. The crowd of players following the flight of the ball blocked his path and he was stranded when it came off of Dailly's head and trundled into the empty net.

A second half attack

We pushed them back immediately but it was not until the 36th minute that we managed to win our first corner. McLean managed a shot to the postage stamp in the dying minutes of the half but we could not complain about being behind after the first forty five minutes.

The second half was much better from the Motherwell point of view. We were lucky to escape a killer second goal early on when Reynolds made a rare mistake to allow Cousin possession. The striker then rounded Craigan and had only the the keeper to beat. Smith showed his shot stopping prowess and stood up well to the threat. We then took the initiative.

We reverted to the passing style which brought such success at the start of the season. Hughes, McGarry and Lasley battled hard in the midfield and Darren Smith played his part on the right wing.

The goal came following a floated ball from the right wing. Clarkson's deep header beat Alexander and the ball hit the post.

After a return from Smith and a neat back flick from McLean it fell to Porter and he finished from close range.

The remainder of the half was punctuated by substitutions. We brought on Fitzpatrick for Smith and then Murphy for Clarkson. Significantly, McCormack remained on the bench. Meanwhile Walter Smith threw on more and more forwards in the hope of rescuing his fading title hopes.

The final whistle prompted celebrations from the 'Well fans and cued a mass exodus of bears.

Post match

The fans heided the club's request to keep off the pitch and we were rewarded by the team returning to the pitch. All wore "O'Donnell 10" on their backs and emotions were mixed.

It was a fine end to the season as far as Fir Park is concerned but we can reach a sixty point total for the season if we can take three from Easter Road on Thursday.

Post match pictures here