No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||M Smith (81)||
Jamie MacDonald, Callum McFadzean (Kris Boyd 47), Will Boyle , Greg Taylor, Miles Addison, Steven Smith, Rory McKenzie, Greg Kiltie (Martin Smith 79), Gary Dicker, Dean Hawkshaw (Jordon Jones 53), Souleymane Coulibaly.
Subs Not Used: Oliver Davies, Jonny Burn, Mark Waddington, Jamie Cobain.
David Shaw @ Rugby Park
Killie kicked off the new season with a home match against Motherwell and a chance to impress their faithful after a hugely disappointing preseason.
Home fans turned up at the Theatre of Gravyless Pies in good numbers, all dressed smartly in their fabulous new Hartlepool... sorry, Killie tops. Leroy’s promotional video that suggested you should let your dog shit on the carpet and come to the football instead of walking the poor sod had clearly worked a treat. And as both sets of fans impeccably honoured the minute’s silence to Jackie McInally, referee Calamity Craig Thomson got another glorious season underway.
After just 6 minutes, Lee Clark took exception to some verbal from the 4th official, who quickly grassed him up to Calamity Craig. Thomson subsequently sent Lee to the stand so that he could presumably keep tabs on the absent Josh Magennis. Big Josh was offered a deal by Charlton but the club has since turned the offer down.
Coulibaly started as the lone striker with Kiltie and McKenzie sitting just behind him. Youngster, Dean Hawkshaw, partnered Dicker and McFadzean in midfield. Boyle and Addison were the preferred central defensive partnership with Taylor starting at left back and Stevie Smith at right back. The only other notable positional change that Lee Clark had made was to shorten the length of the plastic fantastic.
Killie began fairly brightly and a Coulibaly effort went just wide. Shortly afterwards a Smith free kick almost beat Samson at his right post but the effort was just too high. Hawkshaw and McKenzie were linking well and driving forward but the final ball would never quite fall to a Killie player and for the most part Samson was rarely troubled, apart from an Addison header that sailed just over the crossbar.
At the other end, our back four really struggled. Ainsworth was the first to threaten when he broke free on the right to cross for the unmarked McDonald, who should have made no mistake but completely mistimed his effort. Motherwell then started to dominate the rest of the half and Addison was lucky when an attempted clearance ricocheted of Craig Clay but was thankfully saved by McDonald.
Alas, Motherwell finally took the lead when Lionel Ainsworth again broke clear on the right and beautifully lobbed the ball over McDonald. It was truly an exceptional finish and little more than Motherwell deserved at this point. Moments later, Johnson broke down the left and only a superb save by McDonald prevented a second. In truth, Killie’s defence was an absolute bomb scare, with both fullbacks being ripped apart and the two centre-halfs struggling to contain Scott McDonald.
Hopes of any second-half recovery were immediately dashed after a loose throw-in by Taylor was picked up by Cadden, who ghosted down the right wing to deliver a perfect cross for Johnson to head home. It was a simple goal and a real kick in the teeth for the home support, many of whom had barely digested their gravyless pies.
Clark immediately replaced McFadzean with Kris Boyd in an attempt to go for broke and it almost instantly paid dividends when Boyd tested Samson from distance. Coulibaly was next to try his luck as Killie finally began to take the game to their opponents.
Sadly, the game ended soon after for Hawkshaw when McHugh attempted to head the ball and headed Hawkshaw instead. It was the kind of challenge that would have seen a rugby player sent to the sin-bin, yet Calamity Craig just yellow carded the offender. Such was the force of the collision that both men were flat out for several minutes before both had to be substituted.
Jordan Jones replaced Hawkshaw and Killie began to attack with more intent. However, Ainsworth then missed a glorious chance to seal the game after a swift counter-attack. Soon afterwards, Martin Smith replaced the ineffective Kiltie with just ten minutes to go and the midfielder had an immediate effect on the match.
He gathered the ball in his own half before breaking forward and finding Boyd. Boyd’s lovely lay-off to Taylor on the right wing resulted in an inch perfect cross from the fullback that was headed home by Smith, who had continued his run into the box. Incredibly, Killie had scored a really well worked goal and were now firmly back in the match. Jones then skipped past his marker on the left wing and his delightful cross really should have been met by Coulibaly, who slid in too late.
The pressure was still on the Motherwell defence as six minutes of injury time was displayed on the board. Killie continued to bombard their opponents but Coulibaly and Boyd couldn’t find an equaliser. There was a decent shout for a penalty when Coulibaly was barged in the box by Heneghan but Calamity Craig decided that it was a free kick the other way!
And as the final whistle sounded, the disappointment of another home defeat dampened the souls of the home fans – not helped of course by the added prospect of having to go home and clean dogshit off the carpet!
Best for Killie were the substitutes – Boyd, Jones and Smith, with Hawkshaw also receiving pass marks.
Best for Motherwell was Craig Samson. Most Killie fans would’ve expected him to be their weakest link – he wasn’t.
Lee Clark: (On being sent to the stand inside 10 minutes by referee Craig Thomson) "Apparently for foul and abusive language, I don't know if that was directed at an official, which I certainly didn't, I refute that suggestion 100 per cent. I would have thought that early in the game a conversation between me and the ref would have been enough. But it wasn't the only strange decision of the afternoon, was it?" (On Killies penalty when Souleymane Coulibaly tangled with Ben Heneghan) "I've seen the footage a couple of times over and there could be a great opportunity for a penalty. What it certainly isn't is a foul against Souley. That's a double whammy. That was another strange one to add to the list. (On the Board rejecting Charlton's offer for Magennis) "It is fantastic news for me, Josh was honest enough to say he didn't feel right for today's game, and when you have a player of his quality out of the squad, it has a big effect. The board has spoken to Josh, who has said that if the club have turned down the offer, he will give everything for as long as he is here. Whether that is until the end of the August window, or the end of his contract, we will see. But I am hoping to have him in the group next week for the Hamilton game."