Scottish Premiership
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Aberdeen 0-1 Motherwell: Visitors go four points clear in third

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Highlights: Aberdeen 0-1 Motherwell

Motherwell took a grip on third place in the Scottish Premiership after winning at nearest challengers Aberdeen to move four points clear of the Dons.

Liam Donnelly headed in the only goal - and his 10th of the season - in first-half stoppage time at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen enjoyed a glut of possession but toiled to craft many clear-cut chances, Andy Considine coming closest.

The hosts were denied a penalty when the defender was taken out by Declan Gallagher after miscuing a cross.

In the dying minutes, Bruce Anderson's shot appeared to strike the arm of Bevis Mugabi in the box, but Derek McInnes' side were a largely blunt attacking force.

The only concern for Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson was a first-half injury to Christopher Long, who had scored four goals in his previous two games.

Effective Motherwell stymie limp Aberdeen

This was a performance that will elate Robinson, who watched his team limit one of the Premiership heavyweights to few clear-cut chances.

Aberdeen had a heap of the ball, but for much of the contest, lacked the guile and ruthlessness to cleave open an extremely diligent visiting defence.

The fare on show was attritional rather than aesthetically pleasing, sweeping from end to end in frantic, fizzing bursts without the incision to bring promising attacking play to a fruitful crescendo.

Lewis dived low to his right to deny Long yet another goal when the striker galloped on to Mark O'Hara's pass and drove across him.

Christian Ilic, the Englishman's replacement, thundered one off the midriff of the Aberdeen custodian from 20 yards.

At the other end, Considine bounded on to a Sam Cosgrove flick but could only prod awkwardly straight at Mark Gillespie.

And then came the killer touch. Donnelly's decider was a golden opportunity the powerful Northern Irishman was never likely to squander amid a fabulous season.

He escaped the limp clutches of Shay Logan, who allowed him to scoot clear at the back post and meet Liam Polworth's delivery from the right with his forehead. A 10th goal of the campaign makes the midfielder Motherwell's top scorer.

In the dying embers of the first half, it was a blow that stupefied Aberdeen and only imbued the visitors with more of the energy and resolve they were showing in spades.

Motherwell were more conservative after the break, content to snap at Aberdeen's midfield while they tried in vain to fashion an opening.

Liam Donnelly

The home side earned nine corners to Motherwell's one. They loaded up the box with their behemoths - Considine, Cosgrove and Ash Taylor - but seldom could they land the ball on any of them with the kind of space to hit the target.

Cosgrove's header looped softly into the arms of Gillespie, Considine hooked over on the turn before he looked to be chopped down by Gallagher after lashing at Niall McGinn's quickly-taken free-kick.

Willie Collum pointed to the corner flag, not the penalty spot, and was unmoved when Anderson's strike cannoned off Mugabi in stoppage time. Aberdeen grafted but their spluttering attack never looked like yielding a leveller.

Man of the match - Liam Donnelly

BBC Scotland's Tyrone Smith at Pittodrie

Lets be honest, this wasn't a night of stand-out individual performances. But Donnelly epitomised everything Motherwell were about - hard-working, disciplined and tireless.

He never veered from the job in hand, and put in a power of graft in the engine room, never giving Aberdeen a minute's peace. His goal was a fitting reward for an industrious evening's work.

'The team needs changes' - reaction

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "We've been over-reliant on Cosgrove and when he's not at his best - as he's not been the last couple of games - it's up to others to contribute. We are looking to make the necessary changes in the last week or so of this window, and hopefully we can make those changes, because the team needs it.

"The result wasn't what we wanted. We were the better team, had good opportunities to score, but when you defend the goal as poorly as we did, you deserve to get punished."

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "One of the best away performances in my time at the club in terms of sheer hard work and endeavour and organisation. Some of the performances were fantastic; some of our young players really came of age.

"We haven't assessed [Long's injury] yet. Hopefully it's not too bad, he's a big part of what we do. Obviously at the moment, he looks a bit of a doubt for Saturday [when Hibernian visit Fir Park]."

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No reason Motherwell can't stay third - Robinson

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2LoganSubstituted forMainat 81'minutes
  • 14TaylorSubstituted forAndersonat 81'minutes
  • 5McKenna
  • 4Considine
  • 22OjoSubstituted forHedgesat 68'minutes
  • 17McGeouch
  • 21Gallagher
  • 19Ferguson
  • 10McGinn
  • 16CosgroveBooked at 75mins

Substitutes

  • 6Devlin
  • 9Main
  • 11Hedges
  • 18McLennan
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Anderson

Motherwell

  • 20Gillespie
  • 4Grimshaw
  • 31Gallagher
  • 5Hartley
  • 3CarrollBooked at 71mins
  • 22DonnellyBooked at 37mins
  • 52O'Hara
  • 6Campbell
  • 19Polworth
  • 17ScottSubstituted forMacIverat 70'minutes
  • 9LongBooked at 21minsSubstituted forIlicat 32'minutesSubstituted forMugabiat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Carson
  • 2Tait
  • 11Seedorf
  • 16Ilic
  • 24Mugabi
  • 37MacIver
  • 44Ndjoli
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
12,365

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home9
Away5
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home9
Away1
Fouls
Home12
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1.

Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

Liam Donnelly (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jon Gallagher.

Foul by Dylan McGeouch (Aberdeen).

Liam Polworth (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross MacIver (Motherwell).

Foul by Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen).

Declan Gallagher (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Bruce Anderson replaces Ash Taylor.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Curtis Main replaces Shaleum Logan.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Declan Gallagher.

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Liam Grimshaw (Motherwell).

Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Liam Polworth (Motherwell).

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Bevis Mugabi replaces Christian Ilic.

Booking

Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

Peter Hartley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Niall McGinn with a cross.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Mark Gillespie.

Attempt missed. Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Niall McGinn with a cross.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Mark Gillespie.

Booking

Jake Carroll (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jon Gallagher (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jake Carroll (Motherwell).

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Ross MacIver replaces James Scott.

Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by James Scott (Motherwell).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Hedges replaces Funso Ojo.

Offside, Aberdeen. Andrew Considine tries a through ball, but Sam Cosgrove is caught offside.

Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).

Foul by Dylan McGeouch (Aberdeen).

Liam Polworth (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Aberdeen. Andrew Considine tries a through ball, but Lewis Ferguson is caught offside.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic21181258144455
2Rangers20172154114353
3Motherwell2213183427740
4Aberdeen2210663027336
5Livingston227783129228
6Hibernian227783137-628
7Kilmarnock2265111827-923
8Ross County215792242-2022
9St Johnstone204881635-1920
10St Mirren2254131730-1319
11Hamilton2246122136-1518
12Hearts2228121835-1714
View full Scottish Premiership table

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