After a six goal thriller at Pittodrie we come away with a point. Of course it should have been three points but our inability to defend a lead cost us dear. Maybe we'll get the act together in time for the St Mirren game on Wednesday.
At kick off the Motherwell, sporting the new away strip, won the toss and played into a strong wind. Andy Goram got the expected return between the sticks and Don Goodman started in place of the injured Spencer. Greg Strong came back after suspension and Stevie McMillan moved into midfield. Stuart Elliott had to make do with a place on the bench.
Aberdeen started brightly and we were pressed back into defence for most of the first fifteen minutes. There were no real scares and the nearest to a goal came from a defensive header by Strong which cleared the bar.
Then in sixteen minutes, quite against the run of play, we went in front. Good work by Leitch just inside our half on the left got the ball to Lee who saw the chance of a defence splitting pass to the right corner of the Dons penalty box. Townsley had made the run thought their flat back four and slipped the ball past Esson into the net. The goal, in front of the travelling 'Well support (300 or so), put an end to the Dons' good spell.
Within a couple of minutes Elliott had to come off the bench to replace Don Godman and Leitch got himself booked for a bit of stupidity after conceding a free kick.
Aberdeen started to come again and it was no surprise when they equalised five minutes before the break. Stavrum got the break in front of goals and Goram was well beaten.
Just when it looked like a goal free first half up popped Lee after slack work in the Dons defence. He had the goalie to beat and passed the ball though his legs to put us 2-1 up at the interval.
Ged Brannan (a problem with a virus) was subbed at half time by Derek Adams and Studs moved up the park to support the front two. Goram responded to the home fans taunts and raised a cheer by acting as the Fat Goalie.
But the goalie was caught out in fifty minutes and came for a ball he had no chance of reaching. The Dons missed the resulting chance as the driving rain started to sweep across the park.
In sixty five minutes Townsley missed a chance. He found himself clear at the penalty spot but Esson was out fast to force the shot over. Then at the other end Elliott gave away a free kick dead centre eighteen yards out. The ball thudded into the out rushing wall and away.
We scored our third after a great run from McMillan gained a shy at the corner flag and from the resultant cross McCulloch found himself with an easy goal from six yards.
3-1 up and that should have been that. Game over surely.. but no. We started to defend too deep. Twaddle replaced Lee with fifteen minutes to go. And we dug in trying to hold the lead.
Goram said after the match that 'we don't know how to defend a lead'. Correct Andy!
Ten minutes to go and a cross came to the back post - for once the defence failed to clear and Di Rocca shot and scored.
The Dons took heart from the goal and kept pressing. We started to waste time - holding the ball at the corner flag and delaying free kicks and throw-ins.
Hugh Dallas signaled four extra minutes and in the last of them Jess was given the run of the midfield, no challenge was made and he fired a good strike from outside the box. The ball bounced off of The Goalies' chest and the ball broke to an Aberdeen foot and into the net.
The ref allowed the kick off and then blew the final whistle.
Billy was not a happy man at the press conference - he used the word naive several times. He spoke about the midweek defensive training and the fact that you can't legislate for what happens when the team get on the park. "The final two goals should have been dealt with much better".
Still, the problem of defending a lead only happens if you score goals in the first place!
Team: Goram, Corrigan, McMillan, Kemble, Brannan(Adams), Strong, McCulloch(Twaddle), Goodman(Elliott), Hammell, Townsley, Leitch
Subs (unused) Woods, McClen
Aberdeen 3 Motherwell 3
Referee Hugh Dallas
25 November 2000