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Motherwell 2 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Motherwell scorers: D Smith 61, C Porter 81
Aberdeen scorers: Aluko 67.

10/05/2008 | KO: 15:00

Europe bid ends in controversy

Aberdeen's European dream lies in tatters tonight after defeat at Fir Park this afternoon. The win looks to have sealed that coveted spot for the Lanarkshire Club, while Aberdeen can now concentrate on rebuilding for next season. After an even first half, Motherwell dominated the opening spell after the break and took a deserved lead in the 61st minute. Substitute Sone Aluko gave the Dons hope with a spectacular volley six minutes later. With the game on a knife edge Aberdeen looked to have taken the lead when a Nicholson effort crossed the line before being blocked. The officials waved play on, but once again TV evidence suggests Aberdeen were denied a perfectly good goal for the second time in four games Ten minutes later Foster was dispossessed allowing the home side to break and Porter grabbed the winner. Maguire smashed the ball off the woodwork in injury time, but the preparations for the new season start now with only one match remaining.

Motherwell threatened first as Malcolm tried from distance in the opening minute, but his effort was well wide. A minute later Aberdeen probed at the Motherwell defence but they were unable to carve out an opening. Foster made two poor deliveries in the space of a minute as Aberdeen looked for an early opening. Severin was playing in the centre of defence alongside Considine with Maybury and Foster at full back in a back four. Porter threatened in the 5th minute but Severin was on hand to sweep the ball away.

Aberdeen then took control and although they were enjoying the bulk of the possession and were pushing forward the final ball was simply not good enough. A long Aberdeen throw in the 13th minute was easily defended and seconds later Motherwell created their first real chance as Clarkson and Porter combined and the former fired over. Two minutes later Severin found Miller with a ball over the top but the striker failed to find the target. Smith denied Walker in theAberdeen were then dealt an early blow when Considine limped off to be replaced by Dave Bus. After a few minutes of confusion the team reverted to a back three of Severin, Bus and Touzani. Miller and Walker combined well in the 19th minute but the midfielder fired the ball straight at the keeper. Good play again in the 20th minute saw Mackie released by Nicholson but the striker made a mess of the cross as once again the final ball let the Dons down. Maybury hit the bye line in the 23rd minute but once again the final ball wasn't good enough as Aberdeen dominated the play.

Walker was dominating the midfield and his free kick in the 25th minute was headed clear as the Dons looked for the opening goal. Motherwell then had a rare attack in the 28th minute and Bus had to deflect a goal bound Porter header for the first corner of the game. Fortunately McGarry made a complete mess of the set play and took the pressure off the Dons. Aberdeen were forced back again as Motherwell started to get a foot hold in the game. Bus conceded a dangerous free kick in the 33rd minute and Langfield had to make a finger tip save from Hammell to concede a second corner of the game, which again failed to threaten.

Motherwell were on the offensive now and their were muted claims for a spot kick in the 35th minute as Porter appeared to dive in the box. Nothing was given and no action was taken against Porter. After a promising opening 25 minutes Aberdeen had lost their way a bit as they headed towards the interval. The game had become very scrappy now as it petered out towards half time. In the final minute there was some good build up play from the Dons but the final effort from Duff went well off target.

Motherwell started well and won a corner in the second minute and Bus had to scramble the ball clear for a second corner that was well held by Langfield. Bus then conceded a dangerous free kick in the 49th minute and Aberdeen cleared before the ball came back into the danger area and Porter had a decent chance as the Dons were forced on to the back foot. A Porter shot was then deflected for another corner before Bus conceded another free kick as the Dons were under extreme pressure. Langfield punched clear then Miller conceded yet another corner that was eventually scrambled clear.

Aberdeen worked their way forward only for Maybury to concede cheap possession from a throw in. A cross from the full back in the 54th minute was then played straight into the arms of Smith. Aberdeen's passing had totally deserted them at this stage as they had to dig in to stay in the game. Motherwell won another corner three minutes later but fortunately it came to nothing. The pressure was not easing any and the home side won another corner on the hour mark and Porter headed over. Calderwood must have been considering a change at this stage as they were being over run now and Bus had to head a free kick clear before substitute Smith fired the home side ahead in the 61st minute.

The home player was given far too much space in the box as he turned between two defenders and fired past Langfield. The change came in the 64th minute when Aluko replaced Walker, but the Dons fans were unhappy that Walker had been replaced. Aberdeen needed to do something now as they required two goals to keep their European dream alive. A Nicholson free kick in the 67th minute was very poor as the Dons struggled to get back into this then out of nothing, Aluko fired in a tremendous volley to level the match. Aberdeen were lifted by the goal and won a couple of quick free kicks. The second caused all sort of problems in the 70th minute as Aluko fired in a cross that was cleared by Smith as Miller looked to pounce.

A long throw from Severin produced a controversial moment when Duff played the ball in and the Aberdeen players claimed the ball had crossed the line as the keeper blocked a Nicholson effort. Referee Thomson upset the Dons fans further in the 74th minute as he awarded the home side a free kick about two minutes after he allowed advantage. From the set play Langfield was forced into a finger tip save. Motherwell had recovered from the set back of the goal and they won another corner in the 77th minute but Aberdeen broke before Hammell ended a promising move.

Craig Thomson then dumfounded the Aberdeen support a minute later when he awarded a corner kick when it was clearly a goal kick. At the other end McLean was all over Miller like a rash but no foul was given. Motherwell went close in the 80th minute but Severin cleared before Maguire replaced the injured Mackie. A terrible mistake by Richard Foster then allowed Motherwell to break and Porter scored after being set up by Hughes. It was an error that surely has ended the Dons Euro dream. Touzani showed us a bit of magic in injury time when he went on a great run and was brought down on the edge of the box. From the subsequent free kick Maguire smashed the ball against the woodwork.

Motherwell Teamsheet
G Smith, S Hughes, D Clarkson, B McLean, S Craigan, R Malcolm, M Reynolds, S Hammell, C Porter, M Fitzpatrick (D Smith 45), S McGarry (R McCormack 65 [S Lappin 84]). Unused Subs: L Daniels, K Lasley, J Murphy, S Meechan.

Bookings:  S Lappin (88)
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Maybury, Foster, Severin, Touzani, Considine (Bus 16), Nicholson, Walker (Aluko 63), Miller, Mackie (Maguire 80), Duff.

Unused Subs: Soutar, de Visscher, Lovell, Ross.

Bookings:  Touzani (78).
Attendance: 8,574
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Referee: Craig Thomson, Paisley
Next Match
20 Apr 2024 / 15:00 / Hampden Park, Glasgow