Match Reports

Motherwell 2-2 Hearts

28th November 2015

Honours even at Fir Park.

 

Hearts twice battled back to secure a 2-2 draw at Motherwell.

Louis Moult opened the scoring after only two minutes, but eight minutes later it was 1-1 courtesy of Juanma. Motherwell again got heir noses in front with a second-half Marvin Johnson strike, only to be pegged back through an Osman Sow wondergoal.

There were two changes from the side that drew with Dundee last week; Danny Swanson came in for Prince Buaben while Juanma returned from suspension to replace Billy King.

The Jambos got off to the worst possible start, conceding a goal within two minutes. Neil Alexander attempted to gather a deep cross at the back post but, under some intense pressure from Moult, spilled and left the Motherwell striker with a simple tap in. The Jambos hotly contested the goal, claiming Moult had pushed Alexander, but referee Steven McLean waved away the protests.

Honours were even inside ten minutes. Osman Sow showed great awareness to thread through Juanma, who sublimely dinked over the oncoming Connor Ripley and into the back of the net.

It was nearly 2-1 to Hearts only three minutes later. Keiran Kennedy’s slack pass back on the edge of the box gifted possession to Sow, who ran in on goal but couldn’t drill under Ripley, who pulled off a great block.

Motherwell went right up the park and had a chance of their own. Stephen Pearson got on the end of a cutback inside the box but his shot was brilliantly blocked in front of goal by Blazej Augustyn and the danger was cleared.

The home side went close again before the 20-minute mark. Moult did well to hold onto possession inside the box before teeing up Scott McDonald, but he could only fire into the side netting.

Swanson whipped in a fantastic free-kick in the 27th minute, and Igor Rossi rose highest above the home defence, only to see his header sail inches over the crossbar.

In a carbon copy, Swanson swung in another set piece which was met by the head of Callum Paterson but Ripley produced a stunning save to keep the ball out of the net.

At the other end Alexander was at his best to deny McDonald. Marvin Johnson thundered down the wing before playing across the face of goal for the Aussie striker to prod goalwards, but Alexander got the slightest touch on it to stop the ball on the line before Juwon Oshaniwa came in to clear the danger.

Jordan McGhee was an early second-half replacement for Oshaniwa, as both sides struggled with the horrendous playing conditions due to the howling wind and sheet-like rain.

Alexander was again on hand to deny McDonald, who ran in on goal following a flick on, but his shot from just inside the box was easily stopped by the Hearts no.1.

Hearts had their best chance of the half in the 64th minute when Swanson sent Juanma free down the left, but his dink beyond Ripley curled away from the target at the crucial moment.

A minute later the home side regained the lead. Johnson broke free and inside the box, twisting and turning his way past two Hearts shirts before slamming an unstoppable shot beyond Alexander.

That lead didn’t last long though, courtesy of a real moment of Sow magic. With no one around him, and 30-yards out, he unleashed an absolute screamer into the top corner of the net.

Hearts were now well on top, camped out in their opponents’ half. In the 80th minute Juanma sent Nicholson clear inside the box, but he was forced wide and could only hit the side netting.

Then came the chance to win the game. Substitute Prince Buaben drove into the box before fining Sow, whose shot was blocked and fell to Nicholson, but with the goal at his mercy he blasted clean over the bar from eight-yards out.

Honours even in what was a thrilling match at Fir Park.

Motherwell: Ripley, Hammell, Grimshaw, McManus, Pearson, Johnson (Ainsworth, 67'), Lasley, Kennedy, Law, Moult, McDonald (Robinson, 84'). Subs:  Samson, Laing, Clarkson, Thomas, Taylor.

Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Augustyn, Rossi, Oshaniwa (McGhee, 50'), Pallardo, Djoum, Nicholson, Swanson (Buaben, 68'), Juanma, Sow. Subs: Hamilton, Buchanan, Gomis, Zanatta, Riley.

Referee: Steven McLean

Top man: Osman Sow