One of the factors that has contributed to Motherwell’s success in the last few seasons has been the ability to send out the same eleven for a large number of games. Consistency of selection gives players the confidence that comes from familiarity. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their team mates and can anticipate movement and position with ease. Unfortunately the routine game plan that follows is also known to the opposition.
Within a few minutes of the kick off Danny Lennon would have been encouraged to see that we had Hateley and Humphrey patrolling the right wing with Hammell and Murphy balancing on the left. Higdon in the centre was supported by Ojamaa meanwhile Lasley and Law tried to control the play from midfield. It was a formula that has served us well but Lennon was able to plan accordingly.
His defensive plan succeeded in limiting our thrust on the flanks and at the other end he had a striker who was able to take his chances. Thomson’s second was particularly impressive – a powerful leap above Hateley followed by a strong accurate header into the net from a tight angle.
Many in the away stand expected a tactical switch at the break but the same eleven reappeared to face an opposition set up to hold what they had gained. It was halfway through the half before Higdon was replaced by McHugh and thereafter Francis-Angol and Daley appeared as the final throw of the dice.
On Wednesday we’ll face Aberdeen for the fourth time this season. If any opposition manager knows our team inside out it is Craig Brown. No doubt McCall and Black are already plotting to find a master plan that will deliver our third home win of the season. Let’s hope it gives the Dons an unexpected problem.
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