Motherwell 3-0 Partick Thistle: Steelmen sweep aside Jags with ease

Peter Hartley grabbed his second goal in three games for Motherwell. Picture: SNS GroupPeter Hartley grabbed his second goal in three games for Motherwell. Picture: SNS Group
Peter Hartley grabbed his second goal in three games for Motherwell. Picture: SNS Group
Peter Hartley scored his second goal in three games as Motherwell swept Partick Thistle aside in a 3-0 victory at Fir Park.

The on-loan Blackpool defender netted on the rebound in the seventh minute and helped set up Motherwell’s third for Ryan Bowman with a Cruyff turn on the opposition byline.

The centre-back was not alone in displaying confidence among the hosts and Craig Tanner netted his first Ladbrokes Premiership goal in a one-sided contest with Trevor Carson not having a save to make.

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Motherwell buzzed forward in the opening stages and referee Greg Aitken soon had a big decision to make when Tomas Cerny took out Bowman just outside the box as the striker reached Louis Moult’s lob forward and headed the ball on.

Bowman looked set to reach the ball but Aitken ruled there was no obvious goalscoring opportunity and the Thistle goalkeeper escaped with a yellow card.

Moult punished Thistle in a different way with a free-kick that Cerny did well to push on to the post, and the rebound fell kindly for Hartley to bundle over the line.

Bowman was involved again moments later as Motherwell looked certain to go two up following his run and low cross, but Cerny saved Moult’s effort and Chris Cadden’s follow-up was cleared off the line before Carl McHugh shot wide.

Both teams were playing 3-4-1-2 formations but Cadden and Richard Tait were offering so much more attacking verve out wide than Milan Nitriansky and Paul McGinn for the visitors, who had lost wing-back Christie Elliott to a broken ankle the previous weekend.

Motherwell kept the Jags camped in their half for the vast majority of the opening quarter as they pressed forward relentlessly and remained comfortable after the pace settled down.

There was another potential red card call when Adam Barton delivered a studs-up, waist-high challenge on McHugh but again Aitken brandished a yellow card.

The visitors offered their fans brief hope after the break but Blair Spittal hit a 20-yard free-kick into the wall and any optimism evaporated in the 56th minute. Tait took on Nitriansky and delivered a square ball which Tanner drilled underneath Cerny, who could not stop it going over the line.

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Visiting boss Alan Archibald immediately made a tactical switch as attacking midfielder Chris Erskine replaced centre-back Danny Devine. Conor Sammon and Steven Lawless were also brought on before the midway point of the half but the momentum remained with the hosts.

The lack of belief in the visiting ranks was encapsulated when Barton stopped in his tracks after being nutmegged by Moult, who came close several times before making way for Elliott Frear.

Frear came close with an ambitious effort before Bowman finished high into the net in the 82nd minute after Hartley had kept the ball live following a corner with his penalty-box trickery.