A close-range strike from Allan Campbell was enough to separate Kilmarnock and Motherwell as Tommy Wright’s return to football ended in a 1-0 defeat.
The home side started strongly, winning a free kick in a dangerous position straight from the kick-off for a foul on Nicke Kabamba. The resulting effort was taken by the experienced Chris Burke and met by Kabamba who’s header deflected out for a corner. The intent to attack Motherwell was clearly evident.
The game became rather scrappy with a lack of quality apparent as half-time approached, neither keeper having a significant save to make. Anything that was fired at them was tame and lacked conviction.
It was all square at the break with the game lacking in clear-cut chances. Defences were certainly on top, not having to deal with any threat. However, Killie looked the most likely to make a breakthrough with the liveliness of Greg Kiltie and Rory McKenzie, who both were always looking for the ball to make something happen.
Devante Cole spurred a great chance for Motherwell in the 56th minute as his header found Colin Doyle’s arms while McKenzie tried his luck with a speculative effort from distance soon after to no avail.
The Steelmen broke the deadlock on the 71st minute through dynamic midfielder Campbell. He got on the end of a Tony Watt cross to fire home off the underside of the bar and in. It was brilliant play from the Motherwell Player of the Month to beat his man and get the delivery in.
As the clock ticked down, Killie made tactical and personnel changes. However, the standard of delivery and end product just wasn’t good enough from the hosts to get back level. Wright was left scratching his head at his team’s lack of killer instinct whilst the Well dugout were jumping for joy to come away with the three points. Here are three things we learned.
Campbell the difference
It will be no surprise to hear the praises being sung of goalscorer Campbell. He was yet again a main man in the Motherwell team. Winning tackles, showing leadership and most importantly, contributing by scoring the goal that took all three points back to Lanarkshire.
He is out of contract at the end of the season and there’s no doubt there will be many potential suitors for the Scotland U21s international.
Killie lacking cutting edge
New boss Wright spoke highly of his squad going into the game and they implemented his plan well for the majority of the game, bossing 56% of possession. There were lots of good spells of play throughout the match.
With more cutting edge in the final third and more support for Kabamba up top, Kilmarnock do have the talent in their squad to start picking up the points. Wright did really well at St Johnstone to get results and there’s no doubt once he stamps his style, the results will start to turn.
Well on the up
Whilst Graham Alexander insisted in his post-match interview that they aren’t looking up nor down, his side grabbing the three points in this match will be a significant confident booster going into the Lanarkshire derby with Hamilton this weekend. This win over Kilmarnock has made it three wins from their last four.
If the Steelmen can get the service to Watt, Chris Long and Devante Cole in the final third, there’s no reason they can not only steer away from a relegation scrap, but also start looking to finish as high up the table as possible.
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.