There was only one change to the team that achieved a score draw in the first leg, Humphrey was preferred to Forbes. If justification for the switch was needed it came in 3 minutes when the winger raced on to a shy down the right touchline. He delivered a cross and found Murphy eager to bag his third goal of this campaign. The shot was into the postage stamp corner and we had the perfect start.
The early strike took the wind out of the Norwegian’s sails and we pressed home the advantage. Humphrey gave the right back, Parr, a roasting and in 13 minutes another cross found its way into the box. Saunders had a blast but Sutton got a touch and we had a two goal cushion.
Page rolls in the third goal
Motherwell were in the all white away strip, unsullied by a sponsor’s logo, and it seemed that the message arrived to shut up shop. There was a lack of adventure for the rest of the half and we seemed content to hold what we had earned.
Randolph was rarely in action but when asked he looked good. A powerful punched clearance from a corner early on showed that he was the boss in our penalty area. He was faultless throughout.
Aalesund made their expected attempt to secure a goal after the restart and Olsen’s shot across the goal was an indication of things to come. We retreated into a defensive shell for most of the half and invited them to have a pop. Time and time again we conceded possession and challenged only when they approached the last third. Crosses and long balls were aimed at the giant Aaroy but time after time Craigan and Reynolds cleared the danger. They were superb.
The second half lacked much in the way of thrills and spills but we rarely looked like conceding. As the game moved to the last quarter Fitzpatrick replaced Lasley and with five minutes of regulation time remaining Page was thrown on for Sutton.
In the final minute Murphy latched on to a long ball. He started at the halfway line and retained possession despite the lone defender making a tackle. With only Lindegaard to beat he made the unselfish square pass for Page to score the simplest of goals. It was his first for the club.
Our European tour goes on.
Thursday 5 August 2010
Randolph, Saunders, Hammell, Reynolds, Craigan, Hateley, Humphrey, Jennings (Forbes 90), Murphy, Sutton (Sub Page 86), Lasley (Sub Fitzpatrick 74)
Substitutes: Hollis, McHugh, Hutchinson, Smith
Att 7721 Motherwell 3 Aalesunds 0