Mar 30, 2011

Motherwell reach Cup semi-final

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Motherwell beat holders Dundee United in a replay at Fir Park to set up a Scottish Cup semi-final meeting with St Johnstone at Hampden.

Jamie Murphy fired the Steelmen in front early on and Chris Humphrey converted from close range to add a second before the break.

Francis Jeffers rifled home Well's third on 63 minutes as the home side continued to dominate.

United rarely threatened, Scott Robertson having a shot saved late on.

'Well will now face Saints at the national stadium on Saturday 16 April, Aberdeen taking on Celtic in the other semi-final at the same venue the following day.

Having taken the lead twice in the 2-2 draw at Tannadice that prompted the replay, Motherwell were eager to make home advantage count, Humphrey flashing a shot wide of the United goal in the opening minutes.

And the hosts found the breakthrough in the eighth minute when Murphy latched on to John Sutton's knock down and volleyed into the net.

Motherwell were well on top and Francis Jeffers forced a save by Dusan Pernis before Shaun Hutchinson headed wide from Steven Hammell's corner.

The visitors continued to be stretched and Sean Dillon blocked an effort by Steve Jennings before Murphy had two further efforts, the first saved and the latter over.

And the Tangerines fell further behind when Hammell's cross was flicked on to Humphrey at the back post and the winger, who tormented the United defence with his pace and trickery, firmly placed the ball into the top corner.

Dundee United manager Peter Houston sought to change his team's fortunes by sending on Barry Douglas from the bench in place of David Robertson and shuffling his pack to push makeshift defender Jon Daly back into his more familiar striker role.

Scott Robertson brought Motherwell keeper Darren Randolph into action for the first time with a drive.

Tom Hateley came close to a third for Motherwell before the free-kick, his free-kick drifting just wide with Pernis rooted on the goal-line.

The travelling fans claimed in vain for a penalty in the opening stages of the second half when David Goodwillie tumbled in the box.

Motherwell looked to make the game safe and Sutton had an effort saved before Keith Watson blocked Murphy's drive.

But a third goal was not long in coming as Jeffers found space at the edge of the box and hammered a shot past Pernis.

A series of substitutions interrupted the flow of the game and Robertson's 89th-minute shot that was tipped over by Randolph was the closest United came to making a dent in the scoreline.



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