Motherwell and Hearts shared a 0-0 draw at Fir Park in the Scottish Premier League
24 November 2012 02:50
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Motherwell and Hearts shared a 0-0 draw at Fir Park in their Scottish Premier League clash on Saturday.
Motherwell again failed to find the net at Fir Park as they were held by Hearts in a disappointing Clydesdale Bank Premier League contest.
The home side had the better of the second half after a poor first 45 minutes but their final ball was lacking.
Hearts had a penalty claim rejected when Darren Randolph caught Callum Paterson with his knee as he collected a high ball but referee Crawford Allan was the best-placed man in the stadium to judge and did not appear to think twice about ignoring the appeals.
Both sides were unchanged after victories last weekend but Motherwell could not find the form of their 5-1 win at Inverness, their fourth on the road this season.
They have now only won once in 10 home games and have failed to score in four of the last five matches at Fir Park.
The game started well enough with Randolph diving well to push away Ryan Stevenson's powerful free-kick.
Motherwell's first chance came when Chris Humphrey got round Danny Grainger and found Michael Higdon with a deep cross but the striker headed wide from a difficult opportunity.
The controversy came in the 13th minute when Randolph and Paterson chased a high ball from opposite directions. The home player was favourite to get to the ball and did so but sparked an angry reaction from several visiting players after colliding with the Hearts striker.
On initial viewing, the Republic of Ireland international's trailing boot appeared to have come down on to Paterson's face but television replays showed the movement was entirely natural after Randolph caught the striker with his knee as he leapt for the ball.
Allan was ideally placed and re-started the game following treatment by dropping the ball to Randolph after deciding there was no intent or dangerous play. The goalkeeper later took the opportunity to apologise to Paterson during a break in play.
There was little else to get excited about in the first half. Higdon came closer with another header from a Humphrey cross but Jamie MacDonald dived to push the ball away.
Hearts were slightly the better team before the break with their 4-2-3-1 formation allowing youngsters Jamie Walker and Jason Holt some freedom to attack along with Stevenson.
The trio combined to set up Paterson to turn and shoot 22 yards out but Randolph got down well to hold.
Grainger, who earlier hurt his left knee as he fell awkwardly, went off in the 51st minute just after being booked for a body check on Humphrey. Mehdi Taouil came on with Darren Barr dropping into the back four.
Motherwell had stepped up a gear after the break but their crossing was consistently letting down their build-up play.
Higdon had another chance when Jamie Murphy broke forward and played him through but MacDonald was quickly out and got a hand to the ball as the striker tried to skip round him.
Higdon played it back for Murphy but Hearts had plenty of players blocking the way to goal and Dylan McGowan diverted the ball wide.
Randolph saved from Walker but Hearts were becoming more reliant on the counter-attack.
Motherwell hit the bar midway through the half, but only as a result of another wayward cross as Humphrey's centre bounced on top of the goal frame.
Humphrey threatened again with 10 minutes left in more impressive fashion, beating Ryan McGowan on the edge of the box and firing a powerful effort that MacDonald blocked.
Henrik Ojamaa set up Higdon from the resulting corner but the striker could not get hold of his shot, and soon diverted the ball just wide of the near post after a cross from the Estonian, although he was challenged well by Marius Zaliukas.
Hearts almost snatched victory in the final seconds when Ryan McGowan headed just wide from a corner.