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Saturday, 4 November, 2000, 18:43 GMT
Well hold out for victory
Motherwell 2-1 Dundee United
Motherwell extended their unbeaten run to four games with a hard-fought victory over luckless 10-man Dundee United.
The Tannadice side had defender Jim Lauchlan dismissed before Ged Brannan scored from the penalty spot after a Jason De Vos foul.
It seemed all over for the visitors when Stuart Elliott added a second five minutes from the break but a Beto Naveda debut goal in the 55th minute gave United some hope.
But although United battled hard for the equaliser a desperate Motherwell team hung on in the end to gain all three points.
It was the home side however who raced straight into attack from the kick-off and forced the first corner within a minute.
But John Spencer's cross was poor and was headed easily away by United defender Jim Lauchlan.
United retaliated and forced a couple of corners of their own but without posing any problems to the Motherwell defence.
Miller was showing some good touches in midfield in the early stages but the first real threat on goal came from the home side in the eight minute.
Steven Hammell collected the ball on the left and crossed a dangerous ball deep into the United penalty box.
United goalkeeper Alan Combe came out but struggled to collect the ball and there was panic in the United defence before defender Jason De Vos eventually cleared.
As the game settled down it became clear that both teams were intent on going for the win.
Spencer and Lee McCulloch were working hard up front for Motherwell but the United defence were giving nothing away.
On the break, the visitors were looking dangerous and debutant Naveda and Mvondo Atangana were looking lively.
Two minutes later Miller crumpled to the ground after a foul by Ged Brannan with the Motherwell defender receiving a yellow card for his troubles.
A minute later Miller was again involved in an incident which saw players from both sides joining in before the ex-Rangers player eventually ended up in the book himself.
Referee Alan Freeland was struggling to control the game as both sets of players went flying into tackles all over the pitch.
It was no surprise when eventually somebody was sent off and in the 33rd minute United's Jim Lauchlan was the culprit.
Lauchlan appeared to strike Lee McCulloch with his knee and the referee had no hesitation in showing the red card to the Tannadice defender although in fairness the decision seemed a little harsh.
The sending-off seemed to take the sting out of the game and both teams settled down and began to play some football again.
United's Jamie Buchan came close in the 40th minute with an angled drive from 12-yards but the midfielder's effort was pushed past the post by keeper Woods for a corner.
But just as the first half seemed to be drifting into a goalless stalemate the home side took the lead.
Well defender Stephen McMillan burst into United's box and was clearly pulled down by Tannadice skipper Jason De Vos.
Ged Brannan stepped up confidently to blast the ball past Combe and give the home side the important breakthrough.
But Motherwell unsurprisingly pushed the visitors back from the kick-off and within five minutes they had doubled their lead.
When a cross from Derek Adams landed at the feet of Spencer in the United box the little striker cleverly back-heeled to the on-rushing Stuart Elliott who buried it behind Combe.
The home side were rampant now, and in the 54th minute Spencer's 18-yard shot was goalbound until it deflected off United defender David Partridge for a corner.
It seemed to be all over for United at this point, but a minute later they clawed their way back into the game.
A John McQuillan cut-back from the by-line was met by Miller whose shot from eight yards was blocked by the knees of goalkeeper Woods.
But following up was the unmarked Naveda, who slotted the rebound home from 10 yards.
The goal seemed to inspire United, and they were the equal of a nervous Motherwell team who had quickly lost their composure and assurance.
Motherwell: Woods, Corrigan, Kemble, Strong, Hammell, Adams, Brannan, McMillan, Elliott, McCulloch, Spencer.
Subs: Goodman, Nicholas, Townsley, Leitch, Connolly.
Dundee United: Combe, McQuillan, De Vos, Lauchlan, Partridge, Buchan, Miller, Easton, Aljofree, Atangana, Naveda.
Subs: Hannah, Leoni, Thompson, Onstad, O'Connor.
Referee: Alan Freeland
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