Matchzone: Motherwell (H)
Kilmarnock bounced back from midweek disappointment with a solid 1-0 victory against Motherwell on Saturday 4th November.
A second half strike from Innes Cameron secured the points as Killie rose to fourth in the cinch Premiership table.
Derek McInnes made one change to the side that was defeated in Perth, with Robbie Deas replacing Liam Polworth in the starting eleven, but it was a forced change early in the first half which would have a major impact on the outcome.
The first half-glimpse of goal fell the way of Theo Bair, who headed off target from a tight angle within the opening five minutes. Killie retaliated through a Danny Armstrong attempt which was driven narrowly wide at the Chadwick end, before the home side’s attacking threat suffered a blow.
Captain Kyle Vassell’s impressive goalscoring run was halted as he was forced off after quarter of an hour, despite his best attempts to run off a knock suffered earlier in the match. His replacement, Innes Cameron, would have the biggest influence on the game.
The opening half-hour was broken up by a series of stoppages, with both defences fending of any serious threats during passages of play between the referee’s whistles. Brad Lyons earned an applause from both the home support and his manager with a superb slide challenge which halted a dangerous ‘Well counter-attack deep in the Killie half.
The home crowd’s interest peaked shortly after when a VAR check for handball sparked hopes of a penalty. Hopes were prematurely ended and play was quickly waved on.
Killie came closest to taking the lead via a succession of corners, one of which came inches from finding the far post after taking a nick off a defender, another was superbly saved by Liam Kelly. A 25-yard free-kick attempt from Danny Armstrong also escaped the near post prior to the half-time whistle.
In contrast to the first, the second period quickly burst into life as Innes Cameron fired his side ahead within four minutes of the restart. David Watson picked up a rebound and saw his close-range attempt blocked, before a pinpoint cutback picked out fellow academy graduate Innes Cameron who smashed home from 10 yards (1-0).
Boosted in confidence, Marley Watkins’ shot across the face of goal came millimetres from doubling Killie’s lead moments after their first.
Watkins was again at the centre of attack following Robbie Deas’ surging run down the left wing, but the Welshman’s connection wasn’t enough to clip the ball around Scotland cap Liam Kelly.
At the opposite end, Will Dennis displayed his own shot stopping ability. Capitalising on a recovery of possession, Paul McGinn burst forward to the edge of the penalty area before enticing a full-stretch save from the Killie No.1.
The Watson to Cameron link continued to cause issues, resulting in the powerful forward’s header being stopped on the line. Pressing forward from the back, Robbie Deas rose a shot over the target from the left side of the box as Killie gathered momentum.
Approaching the final 15 minutes, Motherwell enjoyed a period of possession in the Killie half, but without testing Will Dennis.
Searching for a spark, former Killie men Stephen O’Donnell and Oli Shaw came off the visitors’ bench, but a professional performance would safeguard the Rugby Park side’s clean sheet.
Post match reaction
Speaking at full-time, Derek McInnes praised the way his team responded to the midweek result. You can listen to the full interview – HERE.
Result: Kilmarnock 1-0 Motherwell
Kilmarnock lineup: Dennis, Mayo, Wright, Findlay, Deas, Armstrong, Watson, Lyons, Kennedy (McKenzie 79), Watkins, Vassell (Cameron 15).
Motherwell lineup: Kelly, Spittal, Paton, Bair (Shaw 79), Casey, McGinn (O’Donnell 79), Blaney, Spencer, Biereth (Slattery 72), Butcher, Wilkinson.
James Frew Man of the Match: Brad Lyons