Three Vital Points for Motherwell at Rugby Park

Last updated : 23 December 2006 By Firparkcorner

The playing pack was well and truly shuffled and there were three changes from last week's opening eleven. Smith was back between the sticks and young Martin was his reserve on the bench – there was a suggestion that Meldrum has the ‘flu. Darren Smith kept his place and starts were given to Fitzpatrick and Elliot.

First goal celebration

The early play saw the defence tested but with Corrigan back in his preferred right back position we looked a bit more confident than has recently been the case. We scored the first of an early double in fifteen minutes when Foran bundled home from a yard after McDonald helped on Smith's cross from the right wing. Five minutes later found us two up when Smith chased a lost cause which should have been a keeper's ball. He passed to Foran and the cross found its way to Paterson who has a bash from the edge of the box. A friendly deflection helped into the net.

Two up after twenty minutes is hardly a position that we are familiar with and we set about extending the lead with the Killie defence reeling.

McDonald had a header on target and we seemed to be holding our own.

With less than ten minutes to the break our recalled keeper was called into action and he was forced into a brave double save at the feet of the Killie attack. A minute later and the home team reduce the deficit to one.

Naismith passed Kerr on the touchline and moved infield accompanied by Corrigan. He made no challenge and from twenty five yards a fine shot whistled into the net giving Smith no chance.

Smith in action

The interval chat in the stands centred around our chances of holding out for the second forty five. We were pinned back for the opening spell and survived a couple of scares but we were handed a handicap just before the hour when
Paterson (correctly booked in the first half) was handed a second yellow card for delaying a throw in. To describe Brian Winter's decision as harsh would be an understatement. There was no warning and the sense of injustice acted as an extra spur for our ten men.

Malpas made a couple of defensive substitutions with Elliot and Darren Smith making way for McBride and McGarry. Killie piled on the pressure and we dug in. Smith had a few saves and at times we had to throw bodies to block shots. McDonald covered miles on his own and did a superb job of holding the ball and frustrating the opposition. He was booked as his frustration annoyed the referee and was subbed by Clarkson with ten minutes to go.

The referee added to his domination of the match in the last minute of added time when he dismissed
Wales and Clarkson.

It finished 2-1 to Motherwell and 9 men v 10!