Last minute heartache

Lee Hollis made his first start of the season and was denied a clean sheet in the final moments.
Lee Hollis made his first start of the season and was denied a clean sheet in the final moments.

MOTHERWELL were just 60 seconds from the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup, but lost a late equaliser at Pittodrie for the second time this season.

Back in September, ’Well blew a 3-1 lead in the north-east and there was a certain sense of deja vu as Niall McGinn headed past Lee Hollis to cancel out Jamie Murphy’s long range strike.

Hollis was making just his third appearance for the club with regular number one Darren Randolph suspended for two games and found two teenagers making up his central defence, Adam Cummins and Fraser Kerr, after Shaun Hutchinson picked up a hamstring injury.

Better news was that Stevie Hammell made it having been forced to miss the win over Dundee United in midweek after suffering a head knock against Hearts.

Perhaps sensing the visitors were a little weaker than usual in defence the Dons looked to finish it quickly and Hollis was called into action in the first minute.

Gavin Rae crossed into the box, and while Joe Shaughnessy could only hook the ball away, it gave Rae another change to deliver and this time Hollis had to dive to his right to keep out Shaughnessy’s header.

Despite being one of the best strikers in the SPL Scott Vernon has been deployed in a midfield role of late and being so deep allowed him to try his luck from all of 35-yards, but Hollis did just enough keep the awkwardly bouncing ball out.

’Well weathered the storm and on a bitterly cold day Chris Humphrey warmed the fingertips of Jamie Langfield with a half volley that almost crept under the bar.

Then Tom Hateley’s cross was met by Henrik Ojamaa with a diving header, but didn’t trouble Langfield.

On the half hour Aberdeen unveiled their secret weapon - an oompah band- and they proceeded to play Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes for the next tedious hour, with ’Well fans amusing themselves by changing the lyrics.

At least initially this did seem to galvanise Johnny Hayes as he broke clear of the ’Well defence but blasted over and Murphy couldn’t find the target either after Michael Higdon had set him up by robbing Motherwell old boy Mark Reynolds in the box.

In the second half right back Shaughnessy went close again as his cross deflected off Kerr and struck the outside of the post, while at the other end Hateley curled a free kick just over from the edge of the box.

It was looking imcreasingly likely that either a moment of inspiration or a mistake would be needed to break the deadlock and ten minutes from time it was the former as MURPHY picked the ball up on the left and darted across the edge of the box before firing past Langfield.

It looked like ’Well had secured their passage into the next round, but in the last minute Andrew Considine crossed from the left and McGINN’S header was just out of reach of the despairing dive of Hollis to go in off the post.

The two sides will try again to continue their interest in this year’s competition with the replay set to take place on Tuesday (December 11) at 7.45pm.

Aberdeen: Langfield. Anderson (Smith 89), Rae, Considine, Vernon, McGinn, Hayes, Fallon, Magennis, Reynolds, Shaughnessy. Subs not used: Brown, Megginson, Masson, McManus.

Motherwell: Hollis, Hammell, Law, Hateley, Humphrey, Ojamaa, Higdon, Muprhy, Lasley, Kerr, Cummins. Subs not used: Stewart, McHugh, Daley, Carswell, Francis-Angol.

Referee: Willie Collum.

Attendance: 6,061.