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Stephen Frail <-auth Ronnie Esplin auth-> Stuart Dougal
[R McCormack pen 22]
2 of 011 ----- SC A

Motherwell 1 Hearts 0

By Ronnie Esplin, PA Sport

A first-half penalty by Ross McCormack was enough to sneak Motherwell past Hearts in their Scottish Cup fourth-round replay at Fir Park.

After there was a 10-minute delay to let a large crowd in, the Middlesbrough target converted from the spot in the 22nd minute after his attempted cross was blocked inside the box by the arm of Tynecastle midfielder Eggert Jonsson.

The dogged Fir Park side survived a spirited second-half fight back by the Tynecastle side to set up a home tie against Dundee in the next round.

It was perhaps hard luck on the visitors who missed a great chance through striker Andrius Velicka in the second half to take the game to extra-time but the home fans who celebrated after five minutes of added time eased away in the Lanarkshire night unconcerned.

However, on reflection they would admit that they had not witnessed a classic.

The first game played at Fir Park since the tragic death of Motherwell skipper Phil O'Donnell at the end of December saw an impressive crowd filter in to the stadium ahead of this keenly-awaited replay but for the most part, it was brawn rather than brains on show.

Hearts midfielder Deividas Cesnauskis latched on to a Michael Stewart corner but his prod towards goal from 12 yards was cleared a yard from goal by Motherwell midfielder Marc Fitzpatrick.

But after 22 minutes of huffing and puffing, it was the home side who took the lead from the penalty spot.

McCormack took a Keith Lasley pass at the right-hand side of the Jambos penalty area and attempted to force the ball towards goal only for Hearts midfielder Jonsson to block the ball with his arm.

Referee Stuart Dougal immediately pointed to the spot and, after some treatment to Chris Porter, McCormack stepped up to fire the ball high in to the net.

From then on, the Fir Park side dominated without looking like extending their lead while Hearts showed little in an attacking sense as they slowly fought their way back in to the game.

In the 40th minute, a Stewart overhead kick 14 yards from goal, with Tynecastle skipper Christophe Berra looking in an offside position, was spectacular but failed to worry Motherwell keeper Graeme Smith.

Porter limped off just before the interval to be replaced by Darren Smith and at the break Hearts took off the ineffective Cesnauskis for Christian Nade in attempt to inject some life in to their attack.

The move worked initially with the visitors driving at the Motherwell goal with renewed vigour.

While Motherwell defended with relative ease, their own potency had been nullified and the match descended in to a dour battle.

The slippery McCormack moved in to the centre-forward slot vacated by Porter but it was clear that the Fir Park side were missing the aerial presence of the powerful Englishman.

On the hour mark referee Dougal came off with an injury, replaced by Craig Thomson who proceeded to make some baffling decision all the way to the final whistle.

Moments later, after Jonsson's cross from wide on the right was missed by Motherwell skipper Paul Quinn, Velicka, with only Smith to beat from 12 yards out, cracked the ball off the post.

In a rare Well attack, midfielder Stephen Hughes made a yard of space inside the Jambos box

with a wonderful turn but his cross to the back post was over-hit and the danger eventually cleared.

At the other end, an even more impressive run by Nade which saw him slalom past a couple of Motherwell players on the byline, ended with the big striker's shot being gratefully saved at the near post by Smith.

Seconds later Smith made a brave save at the feet of Nade as the Fir Park defence was exposed once more but in the end, the Steelmen held on, if only just, for a fifth-round visit of the Dens Park men.


Motherwell Graeme Smith, Quinn, Craigan, Reynolds, Paterson,Hughes, Lasley, Fitzpatrick, Clarkson, McCormack,Porter (Darren Smith 45).

Subs Not Used: Meldrum, Brian McLean, Archdeacon, Murphy.

Booked: Lasley, Quinn.

Goals: McCormack 23 pen.

Hearts Banks, Neilson, Berra, Karipidis, Goncalves,Mikoliunas, Jonsson, Stewart, Cesnauskis (Nade 45), Velicka,Palazuelos.

Subs Not Used: Bjornsson, Beniusis, Wallace, Ivaskevicius.

Booked: Neilson, Mikoliunas, Jonsson.

Att: 8,300

Ref: Stuart Dougal (Scotland).

Taken from

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