Hibernian 0 Motherwell 2: Roberts and Cole fire Steelmen to impressive win

Motherwell produced a stunning performance to claim their first win over Hibernian at Easter Road since August 2013.

The Steelmen moved eight points ahead of rivals Hamilton at the bottom of the table and just five points off the top six.

A brilliant solo strike from Jordan Roberts after 25 minutes gave the visitors the lead before the winger assisted Devante Cole for Motherwell’s second less than a minute into the second half.

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Graham Alexander named an unchanged line-up from the midweek draw with St Mirren but Motherwell were boosted by the return to the squad of Declan Gallagher from injury.

Jack Ross made one enforced change from last weekend’s win over Hamilton with Lewis Stevenson replacing the injured Josh Doig.

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It was an uneventful opening ten minutes although Tony Watt received some rough early treatment as he hit the turf on two occasions.

Hibs were looking to make it five wins on the bounce and they had the first chance on ten minutes.

Lewis Stevenson’s deep cross was headed over the bar by the diminutive Martin Boyle from six yards out.

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Roberts, impressive on his full debut in midweek, capitalised on a slack pass from Paul Hanlon on 13 minutes but Darren McGregor prevented the cross to an unmarked Tony Watt.

Christopher Cadden was making his first appearance against his former club and he went close on 15 minutes.

The Motherwell academy graduate collected a cross on the angle of the box and he fizzed a powerful shot just over the bar.

The Steelmen’s first chance arrived on 21 minutes through Allan Campbell. Cole slipped the combative midfielder through on goal but his powerful shot was blocked by a brilliant tackle from McGregor.

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Motherwell didn’t have to wait long until their next chance as Roberts fired the visitors ahead on 25 minutes.

The on-loan Hearts winger raced onto Watt’s brilliant through ball, outpaced McGregor and slid a composed finish underneath the onrushing Ofir Maricano.

The ‘Well looked pretty comfortable as Hibs failed to test Liam Kelly in the opening half hour.

It was the visitors who threatened next when Campbell had an ambitious effort from range comfortably saved by Marciano on 34 minutes.

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The Steelmen were dealt a blow on 40 minutes when Jake Carroll sustained a head injury in a challenge with Christian Doidge.

The Hibs striker was booked for the challenge and Carroll was forced off to be replaced by Nathan McGinley.

Motherwell made the dream start to the second half as they doubled their advantage less than a minute after the restart through the excellent Cole.

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Roberts turned provider for Cole to fire a composed effort beyond Marciano into the bottom right corner.

Jack Ross immediately responded by making a triple change and Hibs improved with Joe Newell firing into the side netting just after the hour.

Minutes later, Kelly had to make his first serious save of the afternoon when he was sharp off his line to thwart Doidge.

‘Well boss Alexander responded to Hibs’ pressure by bringing on captain Gallagher as he switched to a 5-3-2 formation.

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Hibs continued to push forward and Kelly made an unbelievable save to deny Doidge on 77 minutes.

Gallagher failed to clear a cross from the right as the ball reached an unmarked Doidge but Kelly spread himself brilliantly to deny the Hibs striker’s goalbound effort.

It was almost the perfect afternoon for Motherwell but boss Alexander was sent off at the death by referee Alan Muir.

Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Magloire, Lamie, Carroll, Maguire, Campbell, Crawford, Roberts (Lawless 79′) Cole, Watt(Gallagher 69′)

Subs: Morrison, McGinley, Devine, Polworth, Cornelius, Hastie, Long.

Starting XI: Marciano, P. McGinn, McGregor(Porteous 46′), Hanlon , Cadden, Newell, Irvine, Stevenson(Gogic 46′), Boyle, Murphy(Nisbet 46′), Doidge.

Substitutes: Macey, Gray, Wright, Hallberg, Allan, Bradley.

Booked: Doidge 36′, Boyle 80, Hanlon 81′

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