Ten-man Hibs held by Motherwell in SPFL Reserve League clash
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The hosts also had right-back Jacob Blaney sent off towards the end for two bookable offences as both teams had to be content with a point after a 90 minutes played mostly in swirling wind and considerable rain.
Murray Johnson and Ethan Laidlaw returned from international duty and went straight into the line-up but Steve Kean and Gareth Evans were without Jacob MacIntyre and Rudi Molotnikov, who are still away with the Scotland Under-17 squad. Darren McGregor continued in defence alongside Kyle McClelland with Oscar MacIntyre at left-back, while Robbie Hamilton joined Josh McCulloch and Allan Delferrière in the midfield and Malik Zaid sat just behind Laidlaw and O’Connor.
McCulloch had the first opportunity of the match, collecting a pass from Delferrière and trying his luck, but Zaid had the first presentable chance of the game following a corner. Hamilton’s deep set-piece was knocked down by McClelland to O’Connor, who laid it off for the Libyan midfielder but he skied his effort from the edge of the area. Moments later Delferrière’s effort was deflected before being saved by Josh Bogan in the ‘Well goal, and the ‘keeper did well to deny O’Connor the opener after the striker had latched onto a clearance and shrugged off two defenders before making a bee-line for the box, his low effort blocked by the legs of Bogan.
On the half-hour mark, O’Connor did find the net, slamming home from close range after Motherwell had failed to deal with another Hamilton corner despite Ferrie clearing off the line, and McClelland saw a header saved well by Bogan from another set-piece.
Shortly before the break Hibs had the chance to go 2-0 up from the penalty spot after McCulloch’s legs were swiped from under him by Shay Nevans as he bore down on goal, but Laidlaw sent his kick over the bar and the teams went in with just a goal separating them.
Delferrière saw a fierce effort saved ten minutes into the second period but a looping header from Ferrie after Dylan Wells and Robbie Garcia had combined well on the left flank restored parity just before an hour had been played. McClelland forced a smart stop out of Bogan from a vicious 20-yard effort that threatened to sneak in at the ‘keeper’s near post as Hibs pushed for a second goal but despite seeing plenty of the ball in the final third the hosts were unable to find a winner.
Adam Khan, Reuben McAllister, and Owen Hastie came on for McCulloch, Delferrière, and Zaid as Hibs changed shape to go three at the back but the tactical switch was unable to produce a second goal, although MacIntyre went close with a shot that found the side-netting.
With five minutes remaining Blaney, already on a booking for a pull of the jersey to halt a counter-attack, was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red after flying into a fifty-fifty on the edge of the Motherwell area, leaving Hibs to see out the game a man down.
Hibs remain top of the reserve table with five wins and two draws from their seven matches so far.