Motherwell continued the dreadful home run of results with a 2-3 loss to Hibs at Fir Park. Defensive errors and blunt finishing take their toll.
There was no relief from the ever growing threat of a relegation dogfight as Motherwell always looked second best against a Hibs side that has been struggling. The defence will not enjoy the post-match review.
Liam Kelly won the toss and switched ends to avoid facing the low winter sun in the opening period but his outfield players were unable to throw anything at David Marshall before the visitors took the lead after 15 minutes. Aiden McGeady drew defenders on the left side of the area then squared to find Kevin Nisbet with time and space only eight yards out. A touch and low drive beat Kelly.
Stuart McKinstry offered hope
Motherwell began to string some passes together and came close when Blair Spittal tested Marshall with a well placed effort from the edge of the box. Moments later Ricki Lamie got his head to a Kevin van Veen chip but the ball hit the bar. Pressure was maintained and Connor Shields delivered a fine cross only to see Spittal fail to make contact with his head.
Stuart McKinstry replaced Shields when the teams appeared for the second half. His impact on the game was immediate and it was no surprise that he collected the ‘Well man of the match award.
The early momentum lasted only five minutes. Matt Penney, usually Mr Reliable, failed to cut out a hopeful ball on the left and Elie Youan was able to collect and square to offer Nisbet the simplest of tap ins.
A defensive error at the other end provided McKinstry with his third goal of the season when Josh Campbell echoed Penney’s error to allow the midfielder time to place the ball beyond Marshall. The home crowd began to think a surprise comeback might be on the cards. They players responded and pushed forward.
Lamie rattled the bar again but Nisbet restored his team’s two goal cushion with a fine front post flick.
As the four additional minutes started Ross Tierney was on hand to make the score 2-3 but there was to be no more goal action.
The pressure on Stephen Hammell increases again. Next week’s clash with Ross County is now a huge six pointer.
Motherwell 2 Hibs 3
Attendance 5,594 (1,206)
Team: Kelly, Solholm, McGinn (Johnstone 82), Lamie, Penney, Goss, Slattery (Tierney 82), Spittal, Cornelius, van Veen, Shields (McKinstry 45)
Sunday 8 January 2023