2 - 3
Richie Foran (pen) (62)
Mark Reynolds (68)
Collin Samuel (29)
David McCracken (45)
Noel Hunt (79)
Derek Stillie .1
David McCracken .3
Alan Archibald .6
Christian Kalvenes .2
Lee Mair .5
David Robertson .25
Barry Robson .11
Mark Kerr .7
Craig Conway .15
Noel Hunt .10
Collin Samuel .20
Euan McLean .21
Stuart Duff .12
Garry Kenneth .18
Greg Cameron .17
Steven Robb .14
Grant Smith .30
David Goodwillie .26
Calum Elliot for David Clarkson (51)
Mark Fitzpatrick for Paul Quinn (54)
Steven McGarry for Darren Smith (85)
Steven Robb for Collin Samuel (35)
David Goodwillie for Noel Hunt (81)
|Jim Paterson (53)||
Christian Kalvenes (19)
Christian Kalvenes (30)
Christian Kalvenes (30)
Mike McCurry (Referee)
An action-packed ninety minutes brought United their fifth win in seven games under new manager Craig Levein – their first away from home. While good football brought only plaudits after recent away defeats at Hibs and Dunfermline, here it was the visitors’ guts and determination in the face of adversity that brought the points.
Both sides made only one change. Youngster Darren Smith made his first start for Motherwell on the right wing. For United, Stuart Duff dropped onto the bench and the back four was reshaped with Mair moving to right back, and McCracken coming in at centre-half.
These two changes seemed to have an impact in the first half hour of the game. Smith was one of several dangerous looking Motherwell players, while United’s back four looked unsettled and unsure. Within a minute, Foran fired the opening shot of the game wide. A reflex Stillie block then denied Clarkson who had been played through on goal by McDonald. Archibald did well to cut out a dangerous low cross from Foran, and after the resulting corner was only half cleared, Quinn was inches over the bar with a header from Smith’s cross. On twenty-five minutes McDonald brought out another good save from Stillie.
Until this point United had passed the ball reasonably well in midfield but had rarely threatened, creating just one chance of any real note – Colin Meldrum kicking the ball straight off Noel Hunt who was just off target from an acute angle. It was therefore something of a surprise when United went ahead on twenty-eight minutes. Craig Conway broke clear on the left and showed great composure to pick out Collin Samuel at the edge of the six-yard box – Samuel’s crisp left-foot volley gave Meldrum no chance.
But just three minutes later United were dealt a major blow as Kalvenes rather harshly was given a second yellow card, for only his third foul in the game.
Manager Levein quickly reshaped his side to 4-4-1 with Steven Robb coming on at left back and goal-scorer Samuel having to make way. Unsurprisingly Motherwell enjoyed plenty of possession and territory for the remainder of the half. But United defended in numbers and were better organised – Jim Paterson’s shot into the side-netting was all that Motherwell could manage. Just on the stroke of half-time United stunned the home support by doubling their advantage with a well-worked set piece. Robson’s corner was flicked on at the front post by Lee Mair and David McCracken rose to head into the top corner of the net. Would this be a big enough cushion for ten-man United to see out the second half?
Seventeen minutes into the second half and things were still looking good for the visitors with Motherwell struggling to break down a more solid looking defence. But on 62 minutes the Steelmen got a helping hand from referee McCurry. Smith went down under a challenge from Conway and the referee pointed to the spot – Foran duly converted. The goal gave ‘Well a visible lift and United were on the back foot. Just six minute later the game was back to all square: Mark Reynolds rose to head home a superb inswinging corner from Jim Paterson. Foran should have put Motherwell ahead on 72 minutes but blazed over from five yards – a big turning point.
At this stage most visiting Arabs would have bitten your hand off if offered a point – but Levein’s team wanted more. Against all the odds a winner for United arrived on 79 minutes. Barry Robson cleverly turned and lobbed a cross from the right, Hunt stretched himself to the limit to get just enough on the ball for it to sneak across the goal line. The visiting fans were delirious; but Hunt was in agony and required to be stretchered away having injured himself in the process of scoring.
His goal was enough to win it – despite two further good efforts from McDonald, one drawing a fine block from Stillie at his near post. United battled out the last ten minutes – and while the performance was one of character rather than class, the away supporters were quick to show their appreciation at the final whistle.
|Derek Stillie (GK)||33||20||-||54||-|
|Steven Robb (sub)||24||9||-||9||-|
|David Goodwillie (sub)||17||9||-||19||1|
No league table has been added for this season.