MATCH REPORT: MOTHERWELL v UNITED

Goal

Published: 3rd February 2021

United went into the game looking for their first win of the year. Defeat against Hibernian on Saturday left United in seventh position in the Scottish Premiership, and United fans could be grateful the transfer window closed on Monday with none of their stars leaving for pastures new.

Motherwell started the game in tenth place after last week's victory over Ross County. United’s previous encounters this season with Motherwell led to a one goal victory for United at Fir Park in August, and a one all draw back at Tannadice on Boxing Day.

Manager Micky Mellon made three changes to the side that started against Hibernian. Sporle, Edwards and Harkes stepped up to the starting eleven in place of Connolly, Reynolds and Bolton. Butcher took the captain’s armband for the game in place of Reynolds.

The North Lanarkshire side were without centre back Declan Gallagher due to a muscle injury.

Wearing their purple away kit, United started the first half well with Shankland and McNulty looking for an early chance to break the deadlock.

In the thirteenth minute a defence splitting pass from Clark set up McNulty to get in behind the Motherwell defence. The striker looked to find Shankland in the box but some last gasp defending blocked his pass. A good sign none the less that United were able to get in behind the Motherwell defence.

The home side had their opportunities too with Mugabe testing Siegrist in the United goal from a Maguire free-kick, the Swiss keeper doing well to tip over.

The home side made the breakthrough in the twenty-third minute. From inside the six yard box, Watt’s blocked header fell to Cole who quickly poked the ball home past the despairing Siegrist.

Just five minutes later and Motherwell were two goals to the good. This time Cole turned provider as his pass set up Long to fire home from twenty yards.

United looked for a quick reply to the double whammy but were continually thwarted by Motherwell’s resolute defending. As referee Don Robertson blew for half-time, United found themselves two goals down and a mountain to climb. 

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Manager Micky Mellon made an immediate change at the break with Pawlett replacing Clark.

Five minutes into the second half and with United looking to halve the deficit, they were denied two penalty claims in succession. First McNulty was bundled over in the box and then Pawlett appeared to be tripped, referee Robertson waving away both claims.

Two minutes later and McNulty was again upended in the box. United were now firmly on the front foot looking for a way back into the game.

In the sixtieth minute, McNulty was awarded a free-kick just outside the box. The resulting set-piece was taken by Shankland, but his effort was thwarted by the ‘Well wall.

With twenty minutes remaining United finally had the ball in the net but the referee judged Pawlett to have fouled Kelly in the Motherwell goal. It looked like the correct decision but frustrating for United as they looked to get themselves back into the game.

Despite the scoreline, United had been the better side in the second half and weren’t giving up.

With just ten minutes remaining United gave themselves a lifeline. A corner from the left hand side was met by Edwards and his bullet header flew past Kelly into the Motherwell net, no more than United deserved for their second half efforts.

Five minutes of injury time were signalled by the fourth official, and United were now throwing everything at the Motherwell goal in search of an equaliser. Despite their best efforts, an Edwards chance late on was the closest United came to an equaliser. As the full-time whistle blew around Fir Park, United would rue the five minute spell in the first half that ultimately gave Motherwell all three points.

United need to now pick themselves up for the visit to Dingwall to face relegation strugglers Ross County.

United went into the game looking for their first win of the year. Defeat against Hibernian on Saturday left United in seventh position in the Scottish Premiership, and United fans could be grateful the transfer window closed on Monday with none of their stars leaving for pastures new.

Motherwell started the game in tenth place after last week's victory over Ross County. United’s previous encounters this season with Motherwell led to a one goal victory for United at Fir Park in August, and a one all draw back at Tannadice on Boxing Day.

Manager Micky Mellon made three changes to the side that started against Hibernian. Sporle, Edwards and Harkes stepped up to the starting eleven in place of Connolly, Reynolds and Bolton. Butcher took the captain’s armband for the game in place of Reynolds.

The North Lanarkshire side were without centre back Declan Gallagher due to a muscle injury.

First Half - Wearing their purple away kit, United started the first half well with Shankland and McNulty looking for an early chance to break the deadlock.

In the thirteenth minute a defence splitting pass from Clark set up McNulty to get in behind the Motherwell defence. The striker looked to find Shankland in the box but some last gasp defending blocked his pass. A good sign none the less that United were able to get in behind the Motherwell defence.

The home side had their opportunities too with Mugabe testing Siegrist in the United goal from a Maguire free-kick, the Swiss keeper doing well to tip over.

The home side made the breakthrough in the twenty-third minute. From inside the six yard box, Watt’s blocked header fell to Cole who quickly poked the ball home past the despairing Siegrist.

Just five minutes later and Motherwell were two goals to the good. This time Cole turned provider as his pass set up Long to fire home from twenty yards.

United looked for a quick reply to the double whammy but were continually thwarted by Motherwell’s resolute defending. As referee Don Robertson blew for half-time, United found themselves two goals down and a mountain to climb.

Manager Micky Mellon made an immediate change at the break with Pawlett replacing Clark.

Five minutes into the second half and with United looking to halve the deficit, they were denied two penalty claims in succession. First McNulty was bundled over in the box and then Pawlett appeared to be tripped, referee Robertson waving away both claims.

Two minutes later and McNulty was again upended in the box. United were now firmly on the front foot looking for a way back into the game.

In the sixtieth minute, McNulty was awarded a free-kick just outside the box. The resulting set-piece was taken by Shankland, but his effort was thwarted by the ‘Well wall.

With twenty minutes remaining United finally had the ball in the net but the referee judged Pawlett to have fouled Kelly in the Motherwell goal. It looked like the correct decision but frustrating for United as they looked to get themselves back into the game.

Despite the scoreline, United had been the better side in the second half and weren’t giving up.

With just ten minutes remaining United gave themselves a lifeline. A corner from the left hand side was met by Edwards and his bullet header flew past Kelly into the Motherwell net, no more than United deserved for their second half efforts.

Five minutes of injury time were signalled by the fourth official, and United were now throwing everything at the Motherwell goal in search of an equaliser. Despite their best efforts, an Edwards chance late on was the closest United came to an equaliser. As the full-time whistle blew around Fir Park, United would rue the five minute spell in the first half that ultimately gave Motherwell all three points.

United need to now pick themselves up for the visit to Dingwall to face relegation strugglers Ross County.


Motherwell - Kelly, O’Donnell, Mugabi, Lamie, Carroll, Maguire, Campbell, Crawford, Watt (McGinley 80mins) (Foley 89mins), Cole, Long (Smith 73mins),
Subs not used - Morrison, Johnston, Roberts, Hastie, Polworth, Magloire,

Dundee United - Siegrist, Smith, Sporle, McNulty, Clark (Pawlett 45mins), Edwards, Robson (AG), Butcher (C), Harkes, Shankland, Fuchs,
Subs not used - Deniz, Powers, Reynolds, Hoti, Bolton, Mochrie(A G), Appere (AG), Neilson (AG)