Motherwell held to goalless draw

PA Sport
Hearts had a penalty claim rejected after Callum Paterson went down
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Hearts had a penalty claim rejected after Callum Paterson went down

Motherwell again failed to find the net at Fir Park as they were held by Hearts in a disappointing 0-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League contest.

The home side had the better of the second half after a poor first 45 minutes but their final ball was lacking.

Hearts had a penalty claim rejected when Darren Randolph caught Callum Paterson with his knee as he collected a high ball but referee Crawford Allan was the best-placed man in the stadium to judge and did not appear to think twice about ignoring the appeals.

Both sides were unchanged after victories last weekend but Motherwell could not find the form of their 5-1 win at Inverness, their fourth on the road this season.

The controversy came in the 13th minute when Randolph and Paterson chased a high ball from opposite directions. The home player was favourite to get to the ball and did so but sparked an angry reaction from several visiting players after colliding with the Hearts striker.

On initial viewing, the Republic of Ireland international's trailing boot appeared to have come down on to Paterson's face but television replays showed the movement was entirely natural after Randolph caught the striker with his knee as he leapt for the ball.

Allan was ideally placed and re-started the game following treatment by dropping the ball to Randolph after deciding there was no intent or dangerous play. The goalkeeper later took the opportunity to apologise to Paterson during a break in play.

There was little else to get excited about in the first half. Michael Higdon came close with another header from a Humphrey cross but Jamie MacDonald dived to push the ball away. Hearts were slightly the better team before the break with their 4-2-3-1 formation allowing youngsters Jamie Walker and Jason Holt some freedom to attack along with Stevenson.

Motherwell had stepped up a gear after the break but their crossing was consistently letting down their build-up play.

They managed to hit the bar midway through the half, but only as a result of another wayward cross as Humphrey's centre bounced on top of the goal frame. But Hearts almost snatched victory in the final seconds when Ryan McGowan headed just wide from a corner.

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