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AFC - Match Report
match report 2002-03 fixture list
SPL 
17/05/2003
 
Motherwell 2 - 3 Aberdeen
Kick Off:  3:00 PM   Clarkson (16), McFadden (83)       Hinds 20, Deloumeaux 28, Sheerin 34.  
Attendance: 4,731
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Dons win thriller
Aberdeen condemned Motherwell to bottom spot in the SPL after an enthralling 90 minutes at Fir Park. The Dons superb first half performance, when they hit the net three times, was enough to give them the victory. In the second half they faced an onslaught but the defence stood firm with Peter Kjaer in outstanding form.

The heavy rain prior to the game had finally stopped as the match kicked off, but had left the pitch looking rather heavy in patches. Motherwell had encouraged season ticket holders to bring a friend along for free which helped increase the size of the Fir Park crowd. Aberdeen lined up with Deloumeaux, Hart and McNaughton forming a back three with Clark and Payne operating as wing backs.

Motherwell had the first chance of the match as the unmarked McFadden headed just wide from a free kick within the first minute. The home side continued to look the more lively, taking the game to Aberdeen. After 5 minutes Leitch blasted over from the edge of the box, but again the marking was suspect. It took Aberdeen 7 minutes to mount their first attack of the game as Clark was given a soft free-kick. However the chance was wasted as Payne's delivery was poor.

Tosh was the first name into referee Rowbotham's book as he rightly received a yellow card for a tackle on Pearson. The Motherwell player's pace had left the midfielder for dead. A minute later Motherwell had a penalty claim turned down as Clarkson was sandwiched in between a couple of Dons defenders. The home side took a deserved lead on 16 minutes. Tosh gave the ball away deep in the Aberdeen half. The ever lively McFadden broke down the wing, powering past Hart and his pinpoint cross was met by Clarkson, who finished well.

 
Tosh was again the sinner a minute later when Aberdeen should have been on level terms. Sheerin's brilliant cross was headed over by the midfielder when he was completely unmarked. Aberdeen then levelled the score with a goal completely out of the blue. The ball broke to Hinds a good 30 yards out and he swivelled before lashing a unstoppable shot past the outstretched Dubourdeau.

Aberdeen took the lead in the 28th minute with another absolute stunner. This time the ball broke to Deloumeaux a good 40 yards out. He then hit an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. The ex-Motherwell player looked as surprised as anyone as he continued his incredible scoring record against his old team. The speculative drive should have been dealt with by Deloumeaux's fellow countryman in the Motherwell goal.

Aberdeen were by now in complete control and scored again on 33 minutes when Hinds fired in a shot, which was only half stopped by the Motherwell keeper. Paul Sheerin was on hand to stroke the ball into the empty net as the Motherwell defence stood and watched. The Dons almost made it four on the stroke of half-time when further dodgy goalkeeping let Hinds in, but his shot from a tight angle could not find the empty net.

Motherwell started the second half strongly and were unlucky not to pull a goal back in the 50th minute. A Hammell shot was cleared off the line by Stephen Payne and straight into the arms of Kjaer. The Lanarkshire team were now throwing everything at the Aberdeen defence and a mixture of poor finishing and good defending kept them at bay.

 
On the hour mark the inspirational McFadden lead by example and his superb 50 yard run was only stopped by a despairing tackle from McNaughton. Minutes later the Scotland striker again caused problems as his cross was headed narrowly over by Partridge. Preston manager Craig Brown was up watching the Scotland star with a host of other English scouts.

Motherwell then made a double substitution with Offiong replacing the unimpressive Adams and Craig replacing Vaughan. The powerful Offiong made an immediate impact with his direct style causing a few problems. He put the ball in the net on 80 minutes but the linesman came to Aberdeen's rescue by flagging for offside.

Motherwell finally got the goal their play deserved. After 83 minutes a driven cross clearly struck the arm of NcNaughton and referee Rowbotham had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. A minute later Sheerin should have finished the game when he was clear through on goal but the Motherwell keeper made amends for his earlier mistakes with a fine save. It was the Dons' first real effort on goal in the second half.

Ross O'Donoghue replaced Tosh on the stroke of full time and with almost his first touch he should have scored when he was put clean through but his tame effort was easily saved. Motherwell threw everything at the Dons in injury time, but the Dons held out to collect another three points.

Captain Kjaer rightly received a standing ovation from the Red Army for his outstanding performance. Although he will not be part of things next season, this performance will give the Aberdeen supporters real hope for next season.

Motherwell Teamsheet:  Dubourdeau, Corrigan, Hammell, Partridge, Lasley, Leitch Pearson, Vaughan,Adams, Clarkson, McFadden

Unused Subs: Offiong for Adams (63), Craig for Vaughan (63)

Bookings:

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Kjaer, McNaughton, Hart, Deloumeaux, Tiernan, Tosh (O'Donoghue 89), Clark (McAllister 75), Payne, Sheerin, Mackie, Hinds.

Unused Subs:

Bookings: Caution Tosh (13).

Referee: John Rowbotham

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