Dec 6 2012 By Graham Miller
Motherwell captain Keith Lasley with manager Stuart McCall
A last-gasp equaliser by Niall McGinn means that Motherwell still have work to do to secure a place in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.
For the second time this season, a goal in the dying seconds denied the Steelmen a win against high-flying Dons at Pittodrie as Northern Irishman McGinn pounced at the death to cancel out Jamie Murphy’s superb 80th minute strike.
The Well striker’s effort was one of the match’s few moments of quality, but wasn’t enough to see the Steelmen over the line and secure another tough away cup tie against Hibernian in the fifth round.
However, Stuart McCall will fancy his side’s chances in next Tuesday’s replay after being forced to make three changes to his side for the trip to Aberdeen on Saturday.
Reserve keeper Lee Hollis made his first start of the season, standing in for the suspended Darren Randolph, while Shaun Hutchinson — who missed out through injury — was replaced in defence by Fraser Kerr and Stevie Hammell regained his left-back spot ahead of Zaine Francis-Angol after recovering from injury.
The match started brightly, with the best of the chances coming in the opening minutes. Hollis was forced into action early and was equal to the task, making two decent saves. The first came after a ball was whipped in by Jonny Hayes from the right and poked goalward by Rory Fallon from six yards. Somehow, the former Airdrie keeper kept the ball out before it was cleared to safety.
Moments later Hayes hit a dangerous, bouncing strike from distance, which dipped awkwardly in front of Hollis but, somehow, he managed to turn it away.
Full of confidence following his fantastic midweek strike, Chris Humphrey tried his luck from distance again, but Jamie Langfield managed to get a fingertip to his 25-yard drive. Josh Magennis then tried a similar strike for the hosts, but Hollis handled it with ease. The lively Henrik Ojamaa almost created the opener, when he robbed Russell Anderson in the box and neatly teed up Murphy, who dragged his shot narrowly wide of Langfield’s post.
A Tom Hateley free-kick on half-time dropped onto the top of the net and the opening period ended goalless.
The second half started slowly, with the first chance coming after Keith Lasley was fouled on the edge of the Aberdeen box but Hateley’s powerful free-kick was just off target.
The game became a dour midfield battle, with both sides giving away possession cheaply.
But, with 10 minutes left on the clock, Ojamaa outmuscled former Fir Park favourite Mark Reynolds and laid the ball off to Michael Higdon. The striker fed Murphy, who cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
However, with just second separating Well from a place in the next round, McGinn popped up with another important goal for the Dons, heading home an Andrew Considine cross to keep the home side’s cup dreams alive and set up a tense replay next week.