After the dismal no score bore at Westfield on Wednesday Craig Brown shuffled his pack and brought in Fitzpatrick, Jutkiewicz and Jennings to replace Forbes, Murphy and the suspended Coke. This game started in a much more entertaining fashion with early forays in both boxes.
Ruddy made a good early stop from a rebound from a free kick that hit the defensive wall. Lasley was quickly booked for a late tackle on the touchline and must have tried the referee's patience with a series of niggly fouls.
Celebrations after the opener
Motherwell came into the game more and more. O'Brien had a pot shot that was saved by Langfield and a corner caused mayhem in the Aberdeen defence with a combination of Langfield and the bar keeping us out. However the goal came. Again it was an O'Brien shot that this time Langfield could not hold and this time it fell to John Sutton who coolly poked it home.
A succession of other chances came at both ends. Ruddy saving several times between then and half time was a major factor in the end outcome of the game, none more so than the save he made from a contested free kick right on the half time whistle. In between them Fitzpatrick had a horrible sclaff in front of goal from a wonderful run and cross from Jennings.
The Motherwell faithful were expecting a long and hard second half with backs to the wall and even the most optimistic would have struggled to believe we would be 3-0 up ten minutes in. But we were.
The second was disputed by the hosts. O'Brien again a terrier down the wing with a cross that was a bit deep but Sutton won a header and Jutkiewicz prodded it home. Langfield and Gary McDonald chased the referee back to the circle but neither he nor his assistant seemed in any doubt.
Before Aberdeen regained their composure they were further punished after Sutton again pounced on a Langfield parry to ensure the points headed south.
Aberdeen rallied and for ten minutes Motherwell could not get out of their box but after that initial siege Motherwell held on comfortably. O'Brien could have made it four but his corner bound shot nicked off Langfield.
Ball retention was key for the last twenty minutes and on the whole we did it well. It was a cracking result and our best performance for a number of weeks. Ruddy kept us in it early, O'Brien produced some end product from his runs and flicks and Craigan and Reynolds were superb against Miller and Mackie. Special congratulations to Marc Fitzpatrick who apart from his miss did a sterling job on the left hand side of midfield after not playing for months,
Four home games in the next five and if February is as good as January in the SPL for us Europe is not out of the question yet.