Murphy bags brace in Well win
Murphy opened the scoring after 11 minutes when he drove at the
home defence and slotted the ball beyond Cammy Bell.
Gary Harkins levelled on the half-hour, but within five minutes
Murphy was racing on to Higdon’s excellent through-ball before
rounding Bell and rolling the ball into the net.
Fir Park boss Stuart McCall handed left-back Zaine Francis-Angol
his first start for the club and the 19-year-old wasted little time
in demonstrating his attacking threat.
In the opening minute he charged at the Kilmarnock defence
before delivering a dangerous cross which James Fowler was forced
to clear behind for a corner.
Francis-Angol was involved at the other end after five minutes
when he produced a vital challenge on Rory Boulding, just as the
former Livingston man prepared to unleash a right-footed
It was the visitors who continued to look the more likely to
break the deadlock and after nine minutes Michael Higdon fired a
volley from the edge of the box just over with Bell looking
Motherwell were rewarded for their bright start two minutes
later when Murphy collected a loose pass before driving forward
before coolly firing the ball beyond Bell.
Higdon passed up a good opportunity to double the visitors’
advantage when he dragged an effort wide of the target following
some hesitancy in the Kilmarnock defence and he then flicked on
Francis-Angol’s cross to Chris Humphrey who could not keep his
close-range effort on target.
The first booking of the match came when Higdon recklessly
fouled Harkins and the booking score was quickly levelled when Liam
Kelly lunged in on Keith Lasley.
Boulding sent an effort just wide of Darren Randolph’s
right-hand post as the home side tried to find their stride and
they found themselves level on 29 minutes.
Harkins collected the ball 30 yards from goal and embarked on a
mazy run which ended with a fantastic finish past the helpless
The home support found their voices following the equaliser but
they soon found themselves behind for the second time in the
Higdon threaded a fantastic through-ball which Murphy raced on
to, driving forward before rounding Bell and slotting into the
McCall was dealt a blow ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash
with Levante when Simon Ramsden hobbled off five minutes before the
break to be replaced by Adam Cummins.
Nicky Law then should have done better when he rose unchallenged
to meet Tom Hateley’s cross on the stroke of half-time but failed
to trouble Bell.
After a slow opening 10 minutes to the second half Kilmarnock
boss Kenny Shiels opted to make a double substitution, new signing
Borja Perez and Danny Racchi replacing Matthew Kennedy and Lee
It was the away side who continued to look the more likely
though and Murphy missed a chance to complete his hat-trick when he
blazed wide of the target from a tight angle a minute later.
Henrik Ojamaa was next to go close for the visitors when he
combined with Murphy before curing an effort inches past the post
from the edge of the area.
A wonderful piece of goalkeeping from Randolph prevented
Kilmarnock levelling for the second time just after the hour.
Racchi found himself in space before unleashing a goal-bound effort
that the keeper somehow parried before gathering at the second
Higdon could have put the game out of reach when he met Murphy’s
cross on the volley with seven minutes remaining, but could not
direct his strike on target.
Shaun Hutchinson received a booking for a cynical challenge on
Harkins as the Kilmarnock midfielder tried to orchestrate a
To the frustration of the majority of the Rugby Park crowd it
was Motherwell who continued to be the more threatening of the two
sides and only an excellent stop from Bell prevented Fraser Kerr
stretching their advantage to two.