Motherwell gave Aberdeen a goal of a start but Kevin Van Veen and Connor Shields scored before the break to earn deserved progress in the Scottish Cup.
If ever a team deserved a victory for a bloody minded unshakeable determination not to lose this was it. Despite losing an early goal Motherwell stuck to the task and got the reward. Aberdeen retreat northwards well beaten knowing that they will return to Fir Park in the league next week hoping to avoid a fourth defeat to the Mighty ‘Well.
Another spin of the Motherwell wheel of fortune produced four changes. A welcome return to action for Mark O’Hara was accompanied by places for Jake Carroll, Connor Shields and Kevin Van Veen.
Motherwell might have scored in the first minute but Efford’s strike was ruled out by the assistant’s flag. A minute later Aberdeen scored when Ramirez rose unmarked to convert a cross from the right.
Aberdeen settled with the early boost and had the best of the next ten minutes. The game had started with driving rain sweeping across the pitch and it was no surprise to see both defences eager to clear rather than build from the back.
Connor Shields came close with a header following a ‘Well corner and Ramirez almost added a second when an Ojala error let the striker lob Liam Kelly.
The equaliser arrived ten minutes before the break when Van Veen, a threat throughout the game, shot from the right side of the box. A slight defection helped to take the ball wide of Woods and the ball found the net.
Momentum was now firmly with the home side. Claret and amber shirts pressed and chased relentlessly and with seconds of the added two minutes a corner was won on the Hunter Stand side.
A deluge at kick off
The ball was delivered into the six yard box but the ‘keeper was crowded out. The ball fell to Shields and he was able to poke it over the line. The referee signalled half-time immediately after the restart.
Motherwell’s sheer determination ensured that they would command the second period. Van Veen bustled and hustled the red defence and earned a few strikes. Liam Donnelly fired a 25 yard rocket that Woods was happy to tip over the bar.
Aberdeen were unable to fashion any clear cut opportunities and as the game reached the last quarter Graham Alexander poured on defensive substitutions.
As the game finished several Motherwell players collapsed to the sodden turf such was the effort they had expended but they recovered to take the adulation that flowed from the Bois in the east stand.
Motherwell are in the hat for the quarter final and a win will send them to Hampden.
Motherwell 2 Aberdeen 1
Attendance 5,892 (2,022)
Team: Kelly, Carroll, Solholm, Mugabi, Ojala, Donnelly, O’Hara, Goss (Shaw 78), Van Veen, Efford (Cornelius 82), Shields (Lamie 78)
Saturday 12 February 2022