Motherwell put on an encouraging display against Everton as the Fir Park side ready themselves for their Champions League qualifier with Panathinaikos.
“We needed a positive performance and I thought we were good and created a lot of chances against a strong side,” said their manager Stuart McCall, who is hopeful of making at least one addition to his squad in the shape of English defender Simon Ramsden.
“We probably want three or four players but we’re not going to be allowed to do that,” said McCall. “I’m well aware of the financial climate we’re in – but we need to bring in at least one player.”
Motherwell’s man of the moment Steven Hammell, right, was warmly applauded by the crowd and both sets of players as he took to the pitch for his testimonial match. Hammell has made a remarkable 368 SPL appearances, more than any other player since the league’s inception. All he has known besides Motherwell is Southend, having spent two years in English football before returning to Fir Park for a second spell.
The left back, who only turned 30 earlier this year and signed a new contract this summer, was labelled Mr Consistent by his manager in the match programme.
Everton manager David Moyes said of Motherwell. “I can see why they had a good season last year. It will be tough for them against Panathinaikos but if the crowd come out and support them in the first leg they’ll have a chance.”
James McFadden, who rose through the ranks with Hammell at Motherwell, was on the bench for the home side yesterday as a guest player. A free agent since his release from Everton, McFadden has been training with Motherwell while he seeks a new club.
Motherwell gave a good account of themselves in the first-half. Michael Higdon fired over the crossbar after being cued up by Chris Humphrey and Nicky Law forced a save from Tim Howard. A Hammell deflected free-kick dipped just over the bar and Jamie Murphy hit the post from a tight angle.
Everton, who welcome Manchester United to Goodison on the first day of the Premiership season, took the lead just after the half-hour mark. Victor Anichebe’s deep cross was met at the back post by Shane Duffy whose downward header slipped inside the post.
Motherwell keeper Darren Randolph had to look lively at the start of the second half as he blocked Seamus Coleman’s shot. But it was Motherwell who equalised and in some style too. Law’s ferocious half-volley from outside the box was too much for Howard.
There followed a flurry of substitutions in keeping with friendly encounters. McFadden entered the fray just after the hour mark to a rousing reception and shortly afterwards Steven Naismith came on for Everton and was jeered by some among the crowd. Nikica Jelavic had started the second-half for Everton.
Hammell was clapped off the field as the match entered its final spell, then Randolph saved from Naismith to deny him his first goal for his new club and at the other end Howard punched away a Law free kick.
By the final whistle the chants of “One James McFadden” had been replaced by chants of “One Stevie Hammell” as the player thanked the fans from the centre circle.
Motherwell: Randolph, Hammell (Francis-Angol 76), Law, Hateley, Humphrey, Ojamaa, Higdon (Daley 63), Murphy (Kerr 63), Lasley (Hetherington 76), Ramsden, Cummins (McFadden 63).
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Distin (Heitinga 69), Cahill (Junior 45), Neville, Osman (Gibson 45), Coleman, Fellaini (Naismith 69), Vellios (Rodwell, 45), Anichebe (Jelavic 45), Duffy.
Referee: S O’Reilly. Attendance: 4,512.