What a triumph for nine man Motherwell. Two up and cruising but eventually reduced by two against a poor St Mirren team. But we hung on and deserved to take our place in the fourth round draw - around eight pm on Sunday.
The conditions were perfect at the start of the match with weak winter sunshine and only the slightest breeze. Steve McMillan was missing (suspended) as was Stuart Elliott who picked up a knock in training.
Don Goodman made a welcome return and he partnered Lee McCulloch up front. Derek Adams was rewarded for signing his new contract by starting in midfield alongside Townsley, Leitch and Brannan. The back four of Corrigan, Strong, Kemble and Hammell was backed up by Captain Goram in goal.
The game kicked off five minutes late, we won the toss and attacked the goal in front of a very healthy 'Well support. There was an impressive showing of balloons, streamers and confetti to greet the team.
In five minutes The Goalie produced a great touch, pushing the ball against the bar but five minutes later the woodwork saved Saints as Townsley managed a shot from ten yards from a goalmouth scramble. Roy was beaten at his right hand and the ball came off the post.
Our next attack was inspired by the hard working Don on the right when he released Corrigan who's well hit shot came off the goalie for Lee to have a go.
In 29 minutes Goodman was booked for a rash challenge on the touchline. There was no threat and the booking was to prove costly. Shortly afterwards we made the breakthrough with the softest of goals. Hammell floated what looked like a harmless cross in from the left and Lee rose in a challenge to get a touch. The ball rose and looped over Roy who failed to scramble clear. One up and cruising!
The game really got going then. A few hard tackles raised the temperature and in thirty six minutes Goodman paid the price for his earlier mistake when referee Willie Young considered a fall by the Don to be a dive and off he went.
Backs to the wall now - and the Kemble needed treatment for a heavy ankle knock. Still we had made to the break.
Ben limped on to the park at the restart and Spencer appeared in place of Adams. Ged Brannan moved back in between that centre backs and we played with five at the back. Early on the impressive Townsley made the first of several runs toward the Biddies box and was clipped. It looked like either a penalty of another dive but the ref let play continue.
In sixty three minutes we went two up. A free kick from midfield by Gedi was partially cleared from defence and fell to the left foot of Spencer some eighteen yards out. His strike was good and it was always headed for the corner of the net.
Despite having ten men we had long spells of control and looked like we could add to the tally. With fifteen minutes left Strong was booked and Twaddle replaced McCulloch - Lee had covered every blade of grass on the park.
Ten minutes to go and we were still two up but Quitongo was given a chance outside the box. He dribbled past three defenders and slotted the ball past Goram. In frustration Greg Strong booted the ball away into the crowd.
The teams lined up for the kick off and but the assistant referee had his flag raised. Willie Young consulted with him, called Greg over and showed him a second yellow. We were down to nine men.
There then followed a heroic spell when Saints threw everything at us but our defence held. Leitch and Spencer were booked in the last few minutes but despite their huffing and puffing we gave them no opportunity to score.
The brave nine men got a well deserved standing ovation as the whistle blew. Billy Davies had a long chat with the ref to establish his views on the red cards and Derek Townsley was awarded the Man of the Match award.
Billy expressed his delight at the determination shown by the players and has his fingers crossed for a home draw in the fourth round.
Corrigan Strong Kemble Hammell
Townsley Brannan Leitch Adams (S45 Spencer )
McCulloch (S74 Twaddle) Goodman
Subs unused: Woods Lasley Oueifio
Referee W Young
St Mirren 1 Motherwell 2
27 January 2001
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