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<-Page <-Team Sat 13 Mar 2010 Motherwell 3 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth auth-> Stephen Finnie
[M Reynolds 1] ;[J Sutton 13] ;[J O'Brien 68]
5 of 005 David Templeton 69L SPL A

Motherwell 3 - 1 Hearts, match report

Published Date: 13 March 2010

Motherwell - Reynolds 1, Sutton 13, O'Brien 68

Hearts - Templeton 69

A SCINTILLATING opening 13 minutes from Motherwell overwhelmed Hearts and set the tone for a convincing victory on the much-maligned Fir Park pitch. It has to be said the hosts made light of the underfoot conditions with a fine display of high-tempo passing football which proved difficult for the visitors to combat.

A first-minute header by Mark Reynolds was followed up by John Sutton's second on 13 minutes, Hearts paying the price for an extremely languid start characterised by some slack defending. Jim O'Brien slotted Motherwell's third in the second half before substitute David Templeton struck a consolation, reward for the moderate improvement in Hearts' play since the interval.

The respective managers made three changes each for this encounter, but most intriguing from the visitors' perspective was Jose Goncalves retaining his place in central defence. He was rendered helpless at the opening goal after Hearts fell asleep at a Motherwell corner. Tom Hateley slipped a short ball to O'Brien but no-one in maroon reacted and the winger clipped a cross to the back post for Reynolds to head home.

On 13 minutes, after dominating the opening period, the hosts doubled their advantage and again Hearts' marking was questionable. Keith Lasley found space to deliver a bouncing ball across goal and Sutton found himself alone to convert, again at the back post, with his left foot. Seconds later, Sutton's header only narrowly evaded Lucas Jutkiewicz at the back post with Hearts looking worryingly disjointed.

The visitors changed from a 4-3-1-2 formation to an orthodox 4-4-2 but failed to control the flow of Motherwell attacks. Hearts' only notable attempt on goal during the first half was Eggert Jonsson's tame 43rd-minute shot which rolled almost apologetically into the arms of John Ruddy.

Calum Elliot jarred his right knee moments from the interval and was replaced by Gary Glen for the second period. Motherwell quickly resumed their passing rhythm and on 55 minutes Janos Balogh required to be alert to repel Jamie Murphy's angled drive low to his left. Glen retorted with an attempt from distance which glided into the posse of visiting fans behind Ruddy's goal, then Jonsson steered an impromptu shot wide as Hearts finally began asserting themselves.

Jutkiewicz had a goal disallowed for offside, but Motherwell concluded this win with 22 minutes still remaining. Murphy's driven cross from the left was dispatched powerfully beyond Janos Balogh by O'Brien, who had tantalised the visitors all afternoon. Bizarrely, Hearts then found the net themselves within 60 seconds. Suso's cross ball landed at the feet of substitute Templeton for an impressive touch and finish high into the net.

The win moved Motherwell joint third in the SPL table while Hearts remain sixth but comfortably ahead of seventh-placed Aberdeen.

Motherwell (4-4-2): Ruddy; Hateley, Craigan, Reynolds, Hammell; O'Brien, Lasley, Jennings, Sutton; Jutkiewicz, Murphy. Subs: Fraser, Coke 86 (for Jutkiewicz), Humphrey, McGlinchey 90 (for O'Brien), Forbes 88 (for Jennings), McHugh, Sanders.

Hearts (4-3-1-2): Balogh; J Thomson, Kucharski, Goncalves, L Wallace; Jonsson, Stevenson, Mulrooney; Kingston; Elliot, Obua. Subs: MacDonald, Suso 50 (for Mulrooney), Novikovas, Templeton 50 (for Stevenson), Glen 46 (for Elliot), Smith, D McGowan.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.

Attendance: 4448.

Taken from the Scotsman

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