Kilmarnock v Motherwell 06/08/2016

Kilmarnock v Motherwell 06/08/2016

in Match Reports August 8, 2016

Kilmarnock 1    Motherwell 2

Alan Cochrane @ Rugby Park

Manager Lee Clark sent out a team with much more experience in its ranks than was used in the four earlier league cup games.

MacDonald, captain Stevie Smith, Addison, McKenzie, Dicker and Kiltie were all in the starting eleven, with Kris Boyd on the bench, and that stiffening was obvious throughout the match. But the new, or young, guns in the side also played their part in what was a much improved Kilmarnock today. Yes Motherwell won by the odd goal in three, but it was an enthralling encounter, and Killie were cheered and applauded off at the end, which was much appreciated by the squad.

Lee Clark always kicks every ball and wears his heart on his sleeve, but it only took 10 minutes for referee Craig Thomson to decide he had overstepped the mark, and sent him to watch the rest of the game from the stand. Meanwhile, on the pitch, play raged on.

Coulibaly had a bending shot go just high and wide, Ainsworth took advantage of a Boyle error and found McDonald in the clear, only for the Aussie to uncharacteristically shoot wide, while Stevie Smith had a free kick beat the wall but slip past the post. For Motherwell, Marvin Johnson had a shot go over and another go wide, and at the other end, Miles Addison had a header from a Hawkshaw corner beat Craig Samson in the Motherwell goal, but slide over the bar.

Five minutes before the break, the visitors took the lead with an exquisite finish. A cute pass from McDonald released Ainsworth, he raced in on goal and chipped the advancing Jamie MacDonald to give Motherwell a one goal advantage at the interval.

Half time: Kilmarnock 0 – 1 Motherwell

Less than 60 seconds after the restart the visitors doubled their lead.

Craig Clay broke down the right, sent over an impeccable cross, and Marvin Johnson, running flat out, gave MacDonald no chance with a crashing header.

Kris Boyd came on to replace Callum McFadzean, and almost scored with his first kick of the ball. A half chance fell to him inside the box, and Craig Samson did well to dive and turn his snapshot round the post.

Dean Hawkshaw and Carl McHugh had a fearful clash of heads as they leapt for a high ball, and they had to be substituted, both having serious cuts to the head.

Ainsworth fluffed his lines when he received a pass in front of goal but couldn't take advantage, but it was Kilmarnock who were ramping up the pressure.

Samson temporarily hurt himself diving up, over and onto Coulibaly, and Boyd had a turn and shot which brought a corner, before taking a free kick which was well saved by the keeper.

It took Kilmarnock until the 82nd minute to get their reward, and it was the result of a sweet move.

It was started by Martin Smith, who came on for Kiltie, went through four Killie players before going to Greg Taylor on the right wing, and his perfect cross was met by the man who started the move, Martin Smith, crashing a header into the net. The score sat at Kilmarnock 1 – Motherwell 2.

For the rest of the game, including the extra six minutes of injury time, Killie laid siege to the Motherwell goal, but the visitors held out, and claimed the three points.

Both teams received a well deserved standing ovation at the end.

When the Kilmarnock manager, Lee Clark, was asked his opinion at the end, of what he had seen from the stand, he thought “much better organisation, much better as a defensive unit, despite a great finish from young Lionel [Ainsworth] whom I know well. In the first half we were a bit nervy, but in the second, we had a right good go. The supporters were fantastic, and it was great to be clapped off at the end, despite losing.”

He was also happy to tell us that although there had been serious offers for Josh Magennis, these have been turned down, and Josh had been given the day off to spend time with his family.

Clark continued by explaining that the changes to the pitch dimensions had been agreed immediately after the Falkirk game at the end of last season, but this was the earliest the suppliers of the pitch could do the job for the corners and goal posts, etc. It was “Nothing tricky, nothing sinister”.

Kilmarnock: MacDonald, S Smith, Addison, Boyle McKenzie, Dicker, McFadzean (Boyd), Coulibaly, Kiltie (M Smith), Taylor, Hawkshaw (Jones)

Motherwell: Samson, Tait, Hammell, Heneghan, McManus, Ainsworth (MacLean), McHugh (Chalmers), Johnson, Cadden, Clay, McDonald

Referee: Craig Thomson