Motherwell 2 Livingston 0

Last updated : 17 December 2004 By

Both sides forced early corners with Jim Hamilton heading over for Livingston in the sixth minute. Motherwell were looking uncomfortable at the back, and as they failed to clear Burton O'Brien fired a snap shot just wide from 18 yards.

It was therefore a bit of a surprise when the home side took the lead
after 16 minutes. A Kevin McBride free-kick was headed partially clear to Phil
O'Donnell, who steadied himself before rifling a left-foot volley through a ruck
of players and past the unsighted Roddy McKenzie.

Livingston were still creating chances and Gordon Marshall had to look smart
to palm out a Craig Easton header after 22 minutes.

Two minutes later Motherwell had a good shout for a penalty turned away when the referee saw nothing wrong with Oscar Ramos Rubio clambering all over David Clarkson.

The second half started with a bang with Motherwell doubling their
advantage within a minute of the restart. Jamie Paterson's through ball picked out Richie Foran and McKenzie did well to keep out the striker's first effort. Foran was
quick to react, however, to slot the ball just inside the keeper's right-hand post.

As confidence oozed through the Motherwell side, the referee was forced to
caution both of Livi's central defenders for clumsy efforts on

Midway through the half, Livingston keeper McKenzie once again kept his side in
touch, this time keeping out a well-struck hit shot from Partridge.

In the dying stages Marshall was forced into only his second real save
of the game as he smothered a Hamilton drive.

The icing was almost put on the Motherwell cake in the last few seconds, but Clarkson could only divert a Kenneth Wright cross over the bar.

In the end it was a comfortable win for the home side as they took
their winning run to six in a row and moved into fifth place above Hearts.

After the game a delighted Motherwell manager Terry Butcher said: "We are not playing as well as we can, but sometimes you can only play as well as you are allowed to and at half time Livingston looked the more likely to score.

"We started the second half better with a quick goal, but we struggled
to get a third to make it more comfortable and the game was definitely not
a classic."

Livi boss Richard Gough commented: "It's my first defeat as a manager. I
thought we lost a goal against the run of play after we had started not
too badly.

"We knew this was a difficult place to come to with Motherwell being on
a decent run, and we lost another goal at a crucial time after telling the
players to keep things tight for the first 10 minutes of the half."