Motherwell 1-5 Saints

Saturday 5th May

Steven MacLean scored a hat-trick in his final game for Saints this afternoon as they defeated Motherwell 5-1 at Fir Park.

Saints took the lead on 31 minutes when Macca headed home a Richard Foster cross. Then Steven Anderson grabbed Saints second of the afternoon 5 minutes later when he blasted the ball into the net from close range after Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson could only parry a Murray Davidson header.

In a crazy 10 minute spell Saints got a third as MacLean, who was captaining the team today, slide in to convert Matty Willock’s cross on 40 minutes for his second of the afternoon. The departing striker then completed his hat-trick on 56 minutes when he poked home from close range.

David McMillan completed the scoring on 81 minutes when he headed home a Foster cross for his first goal for the club.

Saints remain in eighth place but moved level on points with The Steelmen, and closed their goal-difference gap to two, with two games left.

MATCH REPORT

Saints were on the road today as they made the trip to North Lanarkshire to take on Motherwell at Fir Park. Tommy Wright made one change to the side that started last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle at McDiarmid Park as Liam Craig dropped to the bench to be replaced by Murray Davidson, who was now free from suspension. Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson made three changes to the team that started last weekend’s 2-1 win against Dundee at Fir Park. Elliott Frear, Nadir Çiftçi and Barry Maguire came into the starting eleven to replace Cédric Kipré, Richard Tait and Ryan Bowman.

Steven MacLean, who was the captain for his final game for Saints, got the game underway at a sunny Fir Park. Saints first chance of the match came on 9 minutes as Matty Willock did well to beat the offside trap before crossing a good ball into the box from the left however, it evaded everyone in a Saints shirt.

On 15 minutes a good through ball from Liam Grimshaw let Curtis Main in on goal however, Jason Kerr got back to make a great block as Saints cleared their lines.

Then 2 minutes later play switched to the other end as a Richard Foster’s cross from the right bounced off Tom Aldred as Trevor Carson tried to claim the ball but the danger was eventually cleared by Aldred before MacLean could get to the ball.

The hosts created another chance on 25 minutes as Main’s left-footed strike from just outside the box went well over Zander Clark’s goal.

Saints took the lead on 31 minutes as good play involving David Wotherspoon and Richard Foster saw the later get plenty of space at the byline and he curled a good cross into the box, picking out the unmarked Steven MacLean, who headed the ball past Carson and into the far corner of the net.

The Steelmen tried to get back into the game quickly as on 34 minutes Elliott Frear fired well over.

Saints then doubled their lead on 36 minutes as a Matty Willock free kick picked out Murray Davidson whose downward header was only parried by Carson and Steven Anderson took advantage of a static defence to fire home from close range.

Then 4 minutes later Saints got a third as George Williams released Willock who broke down the left before delivering a great cross into the box and MacLean slide in to knock the ball into the net for his second of the afternoon.

Saints were playing well and MacLean almost completed his hat-trick on 42 minutes as Charles Dune played a poor back pass to Carson and the Saints striker got a touch to the ball but Carson was able to save the effort.

Unsurprisingly Motherwell made a double change at the start of the second half as Gael Bigirimana and Ryan Bowman came on for Liam Grimshaw and Carl McHugh.

Saints started the second half where they left off at the end of the first as they came very close to a fourth goal 2 minutes into the half. A Foster ball from the right picked out Wotherspoon in the box but the midfielder saw his effort go inches wide of Carson’s goal.

On 50 minutes an Elliott Frear cross was diverted towards goal by Nadir Çiftçi however, his effort from close range was straight at Clark who made a good reaction save.

Play though very quickly switched to the other end as Saints got a fourth goal. Willock rolled a free kick to Wotherspoon who had a shot at goal which was poked home by MacLean to complete his hat-trick.

It was almost five 2 minutes later as Williams went on a great run down the left, cutting inside and across the box before having a shot that went narrowly wide.

On 65 minutes Saints made their first change of the game as David McMillan came on for hat-trick hero MacLean. The legendry striker got a standing ovation from the 285 Saints fans as he left the pitch for the final time in a Saints shirt.

Saints still continued to press and on 70 minutes Wotherspoon had a shot which stung the palms of Carson. Then 5 minutes later Saints introduced under 20s midfielder Ali McCann into the action as he replaced Matty Willock.

The home side pulled a goal back on 78 minutes when Main set up Bowman whose shot came back off the woodwork and Gael Bigirimana nodded home the rebound from close range.

However, the Saints travelling support were back on their feet on 81 minutes as Foster’s pinpoint cross from the right picked out McMillan at the back post and the Irishman headed the ball past Carson for his first goal for the club to round off an excellent afternoon for Saints.

Motherwell: Carson, Grimshaw (Bigirimana 45), Cadden, McHugh (Bowman 45), Main, Frear (Petravicius 67), Dunne, Aldred, Campbell, Çiftçi, Maguire

Unused Substitutes: Griffiths (GK), Hendrie, MacLean, Turnbull

Booked: Çiftçi, Bigirimana

Scorer: Bigirimana (78)

Saints: Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Davidson, MacLean (McMillan 65), Wotherspoon, Williams (Scougall 71), Kerr, Foster, Willock (McCann 75)

Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Comrie, Gordon, Craig

Booked: Davidson

Scorers: MacLean (31, 40, 56), Anderson (36), McMillan (81)

Referee: Gavin Duncan

Attendance: 3,524

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Steven MacLean celebrates his second goal