A 'Well team which looked a yard short in all departments suffered a severe blow to top six hopes at Tannadice this afternoon. A poor first half was followed by a collapse in the second and it has to be admitted that United deserved the points.
The ice age had passed and a healthy 'Well support had made the trip up to Tannadice to see a more familiar line up take on bottom of the league United. The experiment with youth forced on Billy Davies last week was reversed with the return of Brannan, Twaddle, Townsley and McCulloch in the starting eleven and with Adams and the long absent Goodman making a comeback on the bench.
Motherwell, in our away strip, started brightly and in the opening spell passed the ball confidently. We produced the first half chance of the game in five minutes when Townsley and Spencer combined on the right wing to produce a chipped cross to the back post which McCulloch header over the top.
The game then lost its shape and deteriorated into a fairly dull midfield slog. United had most of the play and managed a couple of shots. Their main threat came from a Lauchlan header which needed the base of the post to save us.
Later Ged Brannan had a shot from twenty five yards which flew just past the target. A poor half and the sooner it's forgotten the better.
Billy made a change to the formation at the start of the second half with Twaddle moving up to join the front two - 4:3:3 it was to be. Greg Strong was booked in fifty two minutes for a strong challenge and Lilley joined him in the ref's book shortly after. The altered formation looked shaky an in fifty six minutes United went in front. A cross from the right found Easton with plenty of space and time and he placed a header at the corner to Goram's left.
We had to pick up the pace of the game now and Hammell blasted an effort which was blocked almost immediately. That flurry was short lived though and we soon lost a second.
Hammell and Strong challenged for the ball at the corner of the box and lost it to Lilley who crossed to Hamilton. Again a header passed Goram, beat in the same corner.
Adams came on for Leitch in an attempt to change the game and the shaven headed Elliott replaced Twaddle. Then Don Goodman came on for Lee McCulloch and at times we had four up front, three in midfield and played with three at the back! Townsley was booked for a late tackle but we never looked like making any sort of a comeback.
United seemed to be gifted their New Year present when we reduced our midfield to three after the break. Some decisions managers make are right but it looked like this was a poor one.
Corrigan McMillan Strong Hammell
Townsley Brannan Leitch (S53 Adams) Twaddle (S67 Elliott)
Spencer McCulloch (S75 Goodman)
Subs unused: Woods Lasley
Referee E Martindale
Dundee Utd 2 Motherwell 0
2 January 2001
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