Grainger helps Hearts pump Well
Danny Grainger’s long-range strike earned Hearts a 1-0 victory
over Motherwell – their first SPL home win since the opening day of
The left-back powered the ball into the top corner amid some
early pressure and the home side repelled Motherwell’s comeback
attempts to end the SPL’s only unbeaten away record.
Motherwell had some good possession and midfielder Nicky Law had
a header cleared off the line but Hearts were never under the cosh
and substitute John Sutton squandered a chance to make the game
Both teams lined up with similar formations with Tom Hateley at
the base of a three-man central midfield for the visitors, who
brought in Fraser Kerr for the suspended Adam Cummins.
Motherwell had not played for three weeks due to their game
against Dundee United before the international break fell victim to
a power cut, but they showed no signs of initial rustiness as
winger Jamie Murphy threatened inside 45 seconds with a run and
shot that Jamie MacDonald pushed wide at full stretch.
But Hearts quickly forced their way on the front foot and Andrew
Driver curled just wide from 20 yards before they took the lead
after 14 minutes. A quick free-kick 10 yards inside the Motherwell
half found its way to Grainger, who was allowed to run forward and
unleash a powerful 25-yard strike into the top corner.
Hearts soon had another chance when Arvydas Novikovas crossed
for Ryan Stevenson but Hateley threw himself in the way of the
midfielder’s header to block.
Motherwell rediscovered their attacking game midway through the
half with the catalyst a good piece of skill from Chris Humphrey
that took him past Grainger.
The winger found Keith Lasley in the box but the Motherwell
skipper was off balance as he shot wide.
MacDonald soon got down well to hold Murphy’s curling effort
from 22 yards and Humphrey came inside and shot just wide from
Hearts were sitting deep but lone striker Callum Paterson
managed to get a shot on target from outside the box with Darren
Randolph equal to it.
Motherwell suffered a major blow as the 45 minutes elapsed when
centre-back Shaun Hutchinson went off with what appeared to be a
hamstring injury. Kerr moved inside and Hateley returned to
right-back with Stuart Carswell having to wait until after the
interval to come on in midfield.
Motherwell created a good chance just after the restart as Law’s
diagonal ball found Humphrey and he drove into the box before
squaring for Michael Higdon, who fired just wide from 12 yards.
Stevenson, who turned down a move to Motherwell before rejoining
Hearts in August, just missed the top corner on a Hearts break and
Motherwell almost benefited themselves from a counter-attack but
Higdon shot straight at MacDonald from 18 yards after Humphrey had
Hearts brought on Sutton for Novikovas with Paterson moving
wide, and the former Motherwell striker missed a great chance
midway through the half when he headed wide from six yards after
Driver had nodded a half-cleared corner back into the
The home side were by no means in control but were comfortable
enough and Stuart McCall made a tactical change with 16 minutes
left with Henrik Ojamaa coming on for Murphy and joining Higdon up
They immediately created a chance when Higdon headed Humphrey’s
cross into the path of Law but his header was cleared off the line
by Andy Webster. But Motherwell could not sustain the pressure and
their hopes died when Hearts cleared an injury-time corner after
Randolph had joined his team-mates in attack.