Aberdeen 1 - 2 Motherwell: Well fans goad Brown as McCall wins their affections with goals

THE ironic chants of “relegation” from the Motherwell fans towards the Aberdeen dugout may just become a bitter reality for the long-suffering Pittodrie side if their form slump continues through the crucial winter period.

Keen to goad their former manager Craig Brown, the Well supporters had the perfect answer for him as their side moved a staggering 17 points clear of their hosts with strikes by Michael Higdon and Omar Daley.

Those efforts were punctured by a Scott Vernon header but were enough to continue Motherwell’s unlikely title challenge, whilst making it four wins out of four for Stuart McCall v Brown.

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It’s a record that is not lost on the Well fans, who turned on the boss they used to worship with a series of songs directed at their former charge, who could now face a relegation battle as Aberdeen sit above Inverness only on goal difference.

“Aberdeen are a big club and we should be up there challenging the Old Firm in the top six,” admitted skipper Ricky Foster in the aftermath of another loss. “The fans have every right to expect us to win every week and we are not living up to those expectations right now. We have to start delivering results soon.”

Fickle as so often football fans are, Well fans view Brown as the “enemy” and extra spice and hype has been added into the mix to make an Aberdeen v Motherwell clash more of a news-worthy encounter than ever before.

Brown and Motherwell owner John Boyle had a touchline spat on Aberdeen’s visit to Lanarkshire in April to add further fuel to the flames. However, Brown made his best effort to diffuse the fireworks in his programme notes as he heaped the praise on every imaginable member of staff at Fir Park except, fittingly, Mr Boyle.

With the pre-match talking done it was time to see if this game could be instead remembered for footballing reasons.

The signs were good early on as Motherwell stormed into an early lead. Set-piece specialist Tom Hateley was the architect of the strike with a deftly-struck free-kick that found the Aberdeen defence napping. Team-mate Higdon was alert enough to get the faintest touch on the ball and divert it beyond a stranded David Gonzalez.

Any fears the success-starved home fans may have had of another capitulation were quickly dispelled by their heroes with a ninth-minute leveller. This time it was the energetic Rob Milsom who did most of the work, powering his way down the left flank to cross for Vernon to dispatch a downward header beyond a despairing Darren Randolph.

That goal sparked a screeching group of local school kids in the Merkland Road stand into life with their continual chants of “Aberdeen, Aberdeen!”

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On the pitch, the Dons players were doing their best to try and teach McCall’s men a footballing lesson. They had the lion’s share of the possession and carved out the first halves best chances as they tried to edge ahead.

Chris Clark went on a menacing run on the right flank which culminated in a thunderous 25-yard strike sailing over the top. Inspirational skipper Ricky Foster, at the heart of almost every Dons move, was next to have a go with a low free-kick that crashed into the side-netting.

The second period started at the same blistering rate as the first, with Aberdeen striking the woodwork and Motherwell regaining their lead, within the first eight minutes of the re-start. Firstly, Aberdeen threatened with Clark’s lingering cross headed off the crossbar by Milsom. Motherwell sped straight up the park and Daley netted a stunning effort to put them ahead.

The Jamaican star showed superb skills to perform a series of dummies and leave Aberdeen defensive duo Foster and Rory McArdle fooled before picking his spot in the bottom corner of the net.

It was a goal which evoked memories of Ronaldinho’s famous trickery for Barcelona v Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a Champions League classic six years ago and one Daley will never forget.

Aberdeen tried their best to banish it from the memory, though, as they drove forward in search of another equaliser, with Algerian striker Mohamed Chalali forcing Darren Randolph to beat away his low effort. However, Aberdeen ran out of steam and their hopes of a point, petered out like a faulty sparkler on Guy Fawkes night.

For Motherwell, the show goes on and their intriguing battle with Celtic for second spot is very much alive and well. “It was another fine victory for us and that’s now six wins on the road,” said Motherwell boss McCall. “But we’re not asking questions of the Old Firm. We are more interested in the results of the teams below us.”


Omar Daley (Motherwell)

The Jamaican lit up the Pittodrie pitch long before the floodlights.


Will Craig Brown ever end his Motherwell hoodoo?

Referee: C Murray. Attendance: 8,779