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Motherwell 3 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 2 - 1 Aberdeen

Motherwell scorers: McGuire o.g. 7, Elliott 17, McFadden 84
Aberdeen scorers: Winters 37, Zerouali 79.

24/11/2001 | KO: 15:00

Zero wonder strike can't save Dons

A brilliant Hicham Zerouali strike was not enough to save the Dons at Fir Park. After a poor start which found the visitors 2-0 down, the Dons fought back and goals from Winters and Zerouali looked to have given them a deserved draw. However, a late McFadden goal secured all three points for Motherwell as the Dons were left to ponder their defensive frailties.

The opening five minutes produced little of note as both teams took time to settle. Motherwell took the lead in the 7th minute when Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and McGuire turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Pearson. The game opened up after this early setback, but still both teams struggled to produce a decisive final ball in the last third.

Motherwell doubled their lead in the 17th minute when Aberdeen were guilty once again of failing to get the ball away and ended up conceding a corner. From the resultant kick Ready headed back and Elliot was on hand to bury the ball in the back of the net after McGuire failed to clear. The Dons had only themselves to blame and left themselves with a mountain to climb. Aberdeen continued to struggle and Kjaer was forced into a fine save in the 20th minute as the memory of two shutouts in a row evaporated. In the 22nd minute Greg Strong became the first booking of the match after a very late challenge on Bisconti. Aberdeen had to wait until the 25th minute before producing their first shot at goal. Derek Young fired wide after playing a neat one-two with Winters.

Aberdeen were slowly working their way back into the match and on the half hour mark Dadi was upended on the edge of the box. The resultant free kick was rolled to Winters and his effort was deflected wide of the target. The Dons carved out a fine chance in the 37th minute when Tiernan drove in a fierce drive from the edge of the box. Aberdeen eventually pulled one back in the 38th minute when Winters looped a header over Brown from a Derek Young delivery. Kjaer was called into play two minutes later when he made a point blank save from Lasley. The keeper then picked up a nasty injury from the resultant corner, but was able to continue after treatment. Winters went close in the closing minutes with a free kick, which Brown managed to hold.

Guntveit replaced Dadi at the start of the second half. Mackie had a great chance in the 47th minute when a Winters back heel set him up. The striker delayed and Strong got back for a saving tackle. Kjaer was still suffering from the first half challenge and Esson replaced him in the 49th minute. A minute later Ready headed wide from an Elliot corner. A series of soft free kick awards littered the opening spell totally ruining the shape of the game. Motherwell had regained the ascendancy however and Esson cut out a couple of crosses to ease himself into the game.

Aberdeen created an opening in the 61st minute when Derek Young got on the end of a Winters cross. The striker didn?t get enough power on his header and Brown collected. Zerouali replaced Winters a minute later. Bookings to Teirnan, Elliot and Ready quickly followed as the game went through a scrappy stage. Derek Young should have done better in the 71st minute when he collected a loose pass, but delayed and the ball was cleared from his toe. The resultant corner saw Bisconti hit a powerful drive over the bar from the edge of the box.

Aberdeen should have equalised in the 73rd minute when powerful play by Zerouali down the left produced a great cross, which Derek Young just failed to connect with. Motherwell responded when McFadden fired a fierce free kick inches wide of Esson?s post. Seconds later the keeper made a point blank block to keep the Dons in the game. Aberdeen finally levelled in the 79th minute and what a glorious strike it was. Whyte delivered a pass wide right to Mackie. He in turn cut the ball back to Guntveit who then released Zerouali. The Moroccan then cut inside and curled a beautiful shot into the top corner of the net.

The goal counted for nothing however as McFadden headed home in the 84th minute to regain the lead for the home side. Zerouali went close again in the closing seconds when he curled a free kick inches over the cross bar. Seconds later the Moroccan went down inside the box with referee Kevin Toner waving play on from the halfway line. Despite a lot of hard work, it wasn?t to be the Dons' day, and they ultimately paid the price for failing to perform for those first 17 minutes of the first half.

Motherwell Teamsheet
Brown, Ready, Corrigan, Strong (McFadden  63), Delomeaux, Leitch (Forrest 85), Elliot, Adams, Hammell, Lasley, Pearson. Unused Subs: Dow, Martinez, Woods

Bookings:  Strong 22,   Adams 40,   Pearson 62,   Ready 65,   Elliot 74,   Lasley 88
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Kjaer (Esson 49), Anderson, McNaughton, Whyte, McGuire, Bisconti, Young, Tiernan, Dadi (Guntveit 45), Winters (Zerouali 64), Mackie.

Unused Subs: McAllister, Thornley.

Bookings:  Tiernan (62).
Attendance: 7,302
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Referee: Kevin Toner
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead