Motherwell return to third spot.

Last updated : 16 February 2008 By Firparkcorner

Porter celebrates
There were three changes to the starting line up following our cup exit earlier in the week. McLean, Lasley and McGarry moved to the bench and captain Quinn, Porter and Darren Smith stepped up.

This was Smith's first league start of the season and he grabbed the chance to impress. He tormented the poor home defenders in the first half though his first effort in three minutes threatened the corner flag and not the goal - it went for a throw in. Ten minutes later he cut inside and had our first shot on target, then broke through the square back four to charge down the wing before sending a teasing cross into the box.

Gretna were hardly to be seen as an attacking force and their first opportunity came after a short header back to Smith gave Deuchar a shot but our keeper stood tall and blocked the effort.

Smith on the wing

Porter opened our account in after twenty five minutes when a Hughes' effort was deflected off a black and white strip to allow an easy finish. Smith continued to send in fine balls and first McCormack then Porter had goal scoring chances as a result.

The 'away' crowd were disappointed that we were only one goal ahead at the break. We were well in command and the Gretna team looked like a team resigned to the drop.

The lead was doubled within two minutes of the resumption. Hughes collected the ball on the halfway line and stepped away from his man to fire a long ball to McCormack on the eighteen yard line. He got a fortunate break and was able to slot the ball low into the net.

The game should have been finished as a contest at that stage but a bit of slack defending allowed Kissock to fire a square ball through several players to allow the unmarked McGill to tap in.

There were a few scares as Gretna tried to find an equaliser but we still looked the more likely side to score. Smith failed to beat the keeper when it looked easier to score and Porter rattled the bar with a fine left footed effort Hughes limped off to be replaced by Lasley.

We survived a late penalty scare when Deuchar tumbled but McCormack's simple finish on the ninetieth minute secured the deserved win.

visit on Wednesday and we have the chance to stretch our lead over United to four points.