The suspensions of Hammell and Jennings forced a shuffle in the Motherwell line up. Page and Carswell stepped up and Clancy moved out to the left back slot.
Law kicked off and we had a bright opening spell. Humphrey got in position to deliver a telling cut back but failed to find hid strikers then Clancy forced Stack to hold his header from Law’s corner kick. The early stages were very ‘stop go’ as the referee’s willingness to award fouls for every minor infringement and players’ inability to keep the ball in the park broke up every build up.
O'Connor scores the opener
Lasley was penalised for a late challenge a couple of yards outside our box after half an hour and Hibs took advantage. The travelling fans had a great view of O’Connor’s deadly strike. It flew beyond the defensive wall and crashed into the side net with pace. Randolph had no time to react.
Motherwell struggled and had to rely too often on Higdon as a target. There were no serious threats on the home team’s goal. Ojamaa’s tricks and flicks brought no joy and it would not have been a surprise if McCall had chosen to make some half time substitutions.
What did appear in the second period was a more determined attitude and a willingness to push forward. We survived a scare when Soares rattled the bar with a long range effort but for the most part Hibs were forced back as Motherwell surged forward. In 66 minutes Murphy replaced Ojamaa and in a further 5 minutes Daley replaced Carswell as we went for broke.
The reward came in 82 minutes when the ball was controlled by Law on his chest. The midfielder took his time and drilled a low shot to Stack’s right hand corner from 20 yards. The home defence were rattled and we pushed for the winner.
Our drive forward gave Hibs the chance to counter and Page paid the price with a second booking as the stadium clock showed 90 minutes. Saunders came on to a big cheer for the final moments.
A draw was a fair reflection of the balance of the game and a point suits both teams’ ambitions. We have a free weekend ahead and there’s a chance to regroup before the final push.