London Hearts Supporters Club

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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Neil Cameron auth-> David Somers
[C Porter 11]
10 of 013 ----- L SPL A

Motherwell 1 Hearts 0

Jan 8 2009 Neil Cameron

CHRIS PORTER chose a night when a number of agents were watching him to score with a fine header that gave Motherwell a deserved victory.

And on this evidence, the English striker would stroll into the Hearts side that could have played for hours without having a shot worthy of the name.

Indeed, after last night they have now played seven hours and seven minutes of football without scoring.

Porter, who limped off at the end, is a wanted man with a number of Championship clubs, plus last night's opponents, keeping close tabs on Motherwell's main goal threat.

His manager, Mark McGhee, would have been delighted with the win. His side are now unbeaten in three games.

However, the big question is: Can McGhee keep Porter until June - or will he have to start searching for a replacement striker this month?

Hearts were so awful last night, Gail Porter would have improved their forward line. They need to take something from scrappy and tricky away matches such as this if they are to finish third.

Tynecastle boss Csaba Laszlo admitted on Tuesday he likes the look of Porter and it remains to be seen if a January move is made.

Motherwell were led out by Stephen Craigan, making his 250th appearance for the club, but home fans were wondering whether they were watching one of Porter's last games for the club.

Rangers scout Ewan Chester was in the stand, presumably looking at Hearts pair Christophe Berra and Andrew Driver. Fortunately, the Fir Park pitch was not a talking point.

The hot air dome which had been stretched across it for the past few days had done its job. Just a pity nothing could have been done about the freezing weather.

The start was patchy. There were few moments of fluent passing play and it said much that a tackle by Motherwell's Maros Klimpl on Michael Stewart in eight minutes brought a loud cheer. There was little else for the crowd to enjoy.

Then in 11 minutes, and outof nowhere, a fantastic piece of football produced an outstanding goal for Motherwell.

JimO'Brien started it with a neat backheel down the right touchline and the ball sneaked between two Hearts players to Paul Quinn.

His touch found Stephen Hughes who turned to make space inside the box then crossed and Porter out jumped Marius Zaliukas to direct the ball home at the near post.

Laszlo could at least take comfort that the strike at least proved he can spot a player. It was Porter's eighth of this season.

Motherwell got a lift from it and David Clarkson was confident enough to take on a half-volley outside the box which was always going over.

McGhee would have been happy with the possession Motherwell had been enjoying, if not every aspect of their play. Too many of their passes broke up at promising attacks.

Hearts were offering nothing at this stage. Driver was carefully looked after on the left by Quinn and doing that these days goes a long way to thwarting the men in maroon.

They did at least have an effort after 32 minutes. From a free-kick a good 30 yards from Graeme Smith's goal, Driver sent a searching cross to the back post. the ball was met by the imposing if immobile Christian Nade whose header was always going over. But for all that Motherwell played much of the first 45 in Hearts' half, they could do no better than 1-0 when half-time came around.

The second half started even more slowly.

Hearts at least had a bit more about them in that Eggert Jonsson had a shot from distance which Smith comfortably dealt with then it was David Obua's turn to head over from a cross.

The crowd of 4938 could have done with a bit more quality from two sides who can play good football when they want to.

To be fair to both sets of players, perhaps the pitch wasn't quite as good as it looked.

Then in 62 minutes Hearts sent on Calum Elliot for Nade.

Elliot, back at Tynecastle after being on loan at Livingston, said beforehand he would probably be booed by both sets of fans.

Motherwell don't like him because in his short spell at Fir Park he failed to do much, while Hearts supporters once jeered him after a poor display.

The visiting fans did at least applaud their own man but that was drowned out by the home support who let Elliot know what they thought of him.

Moments later Obua was hooked for young Gary Glen who made such a good impact against Hibs on Saturday.

The game's first booking came after 77 minutes when Craigan was too late with his challenge on Elliot, much to the Motherwell fans' delight.

Despite the fact McGhee's side didn't create many clear-cut chances, they should have killed it off but tried to walk the ball into the net.

Porter's night didn't end as he would have wanted when he walked off with five minutes left holding his thigh. However, his side were never going to enjoy anything other than a win.

MAN OF THE MATCH Paul Quinn (Motherwell)

Taken from the Daily Record

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