After their departure from the European scene for another season, the Dons were unable to shake off their blues against Motherwell. 9,500 spectators saw the home team equalise, take the lead and then finish level.
The action started with Davie Dodds sending a glancing header just inside the post from a Peter Weir corner but there was not sufficient power to beat the diving Gardiner. The big striker, signed from Switzerland after a lengthy spell with Dundee United, almost got on target again when he pushed the bait narrowly wide from a Paul Wright pass. In Motherwell's first serious attack in 14 minutes the visitors shook Aberdeen by taking the lead. Walker's corner kick was headed powerfully towards goal by Smith and Jim Bett cleared off the line, only for Kennedy to follow up and crash the ball into the net. Motherwell's joy was short lived as the Dons equalised 6 minutes later. Bett sent Billy Stark down the right with a superb pass and the midfielder crossed for Dodds to head powerfully into the net.
It was a popular goal, acclaimed by the fans, as it was his first since signing for Aberdeen in September. Aberdeen hoped for an action replay when Stark sent over a dangerous cross but Philliben just beat Dodds to the ball. Aberdeen were now exerting constant pressure and Kennedy did well to block a powerful Stark header. Paul Wright had the ball in the net but had clearly handled before "scoring". The young striker was in the thick of the action again when 17 year old David Robertson hit a probing ball from the left. It looked as if Wright must score but Gardiner raced about 8 or 10 yards out of his goal to make a wonderful catch.
Half Time 1-1
Aberdeen, hoping to catch up on league leaders, Dundee United, restarted with a bang, scoring within 2 minutes. A Weir corner found McLeish - as often happened over several seasons - and he headed back to Stark. His shot looked goal-bound until Brian Wright cleared off the line and the ball went straight to Willie Miller, who took great delight in thumping it into the roof of the net from six yards. Motherwell were hit by a bad blow 10 minutes later when Kirk had to be carried off after a collision and had to be replaced by Reilly - a significant move as events were to prove. The visiting team rallied and Walker forced Jim Leighton into a diving save, who had to make sure he held the ball as Reilly was rushing in. Leighton was being kept busy and he had to look lively as he dived to divert a Smith header round the post.
Aberdeen sent on Ian Porteous for Weir and, although they seemed to have the game under control, they had only a single goal lead and there was always the chance of the Fir Parkers equalising. Their worst fears were realised in the 74th minute when Motherwell scored, thanks to a goal from the substitute. Robertson tripped the speedy Reilly from behind in the penalty box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Reilly picked himself up and cracked the ball past the helpless Leighton. The visitors then defended in depth till the final whistle. determined to hold on to their hard-won point.
Source: Match Programme, 9th December 1995