Nov 6 2012 by Eddie Murphy, Perthshire Advertiser
Saints unbeaten run comes to an end against Motherwell
The prospect of clambering to the very summit of the SPL to celebrate a year in charge had crossed the mind of manager Steve Lomas.
For all of 38 seconds.
Nicolas Cage once starred as a carjacker in Holywood blockbuster “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” but he was sluggish in comparison with Motherwell flyer Jamie Murphy, who has proved a persistent nuisance to Perth defenders.
The points were heading back to Lanarkshire while fans were getting settled in their seats.
It might have been different had Gregory Tade buried a diving header rather than powering wide from close range but even by that time, 10 minutes in, Saints should have been two down.
Nigel Hasselbaink was a shoe-in for miss of the season at McDiarmid when he fluffed his lines against Kilmarnock but Estonian centre Henrik Ojamaa came up with another contender in the third minute.
It looked like a case of Missing Impossible when the centre latched onto the debris created by an embarrassing botch-up between spooked defender Steve Anderson and anxious keeper Alan Mannus.
All Ojamaa had to do was roll the ball into an empty net from 16 yards.
Instead he opted to slam it and the ball veered horribly high and wide.
In their first attack Saints, trailing to Murphy’s first minute strike after Ojamaa’s shot had rebounded from Anderson into his path, should have levelled but Tade tends to miss the easier opportunities.
The opening minutes were utterly chaotic. Higdon sent a 30-yard volley dropping inches wide of the target and seven minutes from the break Motherwell were two up.
This time Murphy was given licence to roam fully 40 yards before lacing a low shot into the corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Shaken by the early fiasco, Saints did test keeper Randolph with a sneaky near post Liam Craig free-kick touched wide by his boot, they had spot-kick claims turned down, Murray Davidson breezed a long- ranger wide and Steven MacLean was denied by brave goalkeeping.
But the two-goal cushion allowed a Motherwell team coming off a fourgame losing run without netting to sit in and hit on the break.
Mannus raced from his line to thwart Ojamaa in a head to head before
Vine replaced Tade in a bid to chart a way back into the contest.
The striker, anonymous against Celtic, showed imagination and movement alongside MacLean. And Craig held his head in his hands after Vine and Hasselbaink teed-up a 70th minute chance which was smacked high overthe bar.
Within three minutes it was game over for sure. This time Ojamaa played a neat back heel which saw Nicky Law and Murphy jousting for the right to apply the coup de gras.
The midfielder won the race and dinked a finish over the keeper.
Six minutes from the end Vine trickery crafted an opening for Hasselbaink.
The Dutchman’s downward from blank range was bundled away by Randolph.
Vine persevered and nifty footwork bamboozled the Well defence and thistime the cutback was slammed home by David Robertson for his second of the season. But unlike his late intervention up in Inverness, this one counted for nothing.