Motherwell 1-0 Hearts
By Ross Hart
Chris Porter’s early header was enough to condemn Csaba Laszlo’s side to a fifth game without a win ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup derby with Hibernian.
The home side started the game with more purpose than their visitors and Jim O’Brien fired a ball across the face of the Jambos’ goal but no ‘Well player was able to capitalise.
It didn’t take long for Motherwell to take the lead. Neat play down the right saw Paul Quinn find Stephen Hughes, who turned Lee Wallace and crossed for Porter to nod past Janos Balogh after 11 minutes.
The former Oldham man is a target for Laszlo as he looks to bolster his frontline in this month’s transfer window and the Jambos’ record of one goal in their last five outings outlined where the Tynecastle side are struggling.
They did waste an opportunity to level the match after half an hour. Andrew Driver’s whipped free-kick found Christian Nade but the striker was unable to add to his one goal tally for the season as his header floated harmlessly over the bar.
Porter again went close on the stroke of half time with a header but this time his effort from a Steven Hammell free-kick was off target.
Both teams struggled to create many chances, even as Hearts introduced Calum Elliot, back from a highly productive loan spell at First Division Livingston, where he netted 11 goals.
Laszlo will be concerned with his side’s failure to create many chances as they stay fourth in the league while for Motherwell they have collected seven points from the last nine available to move seven points clear of bottom side Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Motherwell: G.Smith, Quinn, Craigan, Reynolds, Hammell, Hughes, Klimpl, O’Brien (Murphy 87), Lasley, Porter (D.Smith 86), Clarkson.
Subs not used: Krysiak, Malcolm, Sutton, McGarry, Saunders.
Hearts: Balogh, Neilson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace, Jonsson, Stewart, Palazuelos, Driver, Obua (Glen 68), Nade (Elliot 63).
Subs not used: Kello, Cesnauskis, McGowan, Templeton, Rapnik.