A second home defeat from United
Motherwell fans have seen it all before. We get ourselves built up for any number of reasons, only to be brought back to earth with a thump - or a breakaway.
It hardly matters whether it's a big name signing, European tie, a big crowd enticed by a fiver a head entry or the prospect of an opposing team that hasn't won a game in months. Get your cash on the visitors!
Tuesday's game was a classic in that regard. We faced a United team that had just demonstrated their defensive frailties by conceding six the previous weekend and they were forced to play their big striker at centre half. As the lines were announced it was clear that we had a strong eleven on the pitch and that was backed up by the strongest bench we've seen at Fir Park in years.
The club was duly rewarded for gaining the services of McFadden for the rest of the season with a home support considerably larger than normal for a midweek game. The floodlights were on and the pitch was in good nick.
We started in fine fashion. We camped in their half eager to push forward. Everyone was keen and looking for the ball and the United defence were forced into a couple of mistakes under pressure. Such was our dominance that we seemed to forget that they had a cunning plan. It was sprung in 17 minutes.
The goal was a disaster from a defensive perspective. As is the habit, our right back, Hateley, took a corner from the left wing (at the Cooper end). Higginbotham was within three yards of him when the kick was taken. A good defensive header from the near post was collected by Mackay-Steven 25 yards out with Higginbotham closing in on him from the goal side. Despite a chase covering forty yards no tackle was made and from the edge of the centre circle a fine pass cut out Hammell (now in the right back position!) for Russell to run in on the 'keeper.
McCall bemoaned the loss, pointing out that the team had been warned about the breakaway threat. Yet we persist with the same predictable strategy at every corner. lessons need to be learned.
The loss was a missed opportunity but we still retain second place. A win in Dingwall will get us back on track.
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