Motherwell 0-0 Kilmarnock

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland

Motherwell narrowed the gap on Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers to six points but were held at home in an exciting goalless draw by Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola denied Stephen Craigan and Chris Humphrey and a Tom Hateley corner struck the crossbar.

Gary Harkins sent a drive against a Well post and Manuel Pascali found the net but was pulled up for a foul.

Jaakkola saved well after the break from Steve Jennings and Michael Higdon.

But a draw was a fair result as fans were left with a sense of deja vu, with the sides having also shared the spoils at Rugby Park without scoring at the start of the campaign.

Manuel Pascali is left disappointed
Pascali's effort was the closest either side came to scoring

And it meant that Stuart McCall's high-flying side were denied a rare fourth successive win in the first game of the season's second quarter.

Both sides had gone into the game unchanged and looking to continue their excellent recent form.

Kilmarnock had raced into a three-goal lead against Celtic last weekend before being pegged back to draw and were first to threaten at Fir Park.

A Harkins drive straight into the arms of Darren Randolph was the closest they came to troubling the goalkeeper early on.

However, the action was swinging from end to end and, following a corner, a 15-yard Craigan shot was blocked on the line by Jaakkola and Jamie Murphy was unable to pounce on the rebound.

Motherwell were creating the better chances and, when Humphrey neatly collected a cross on his chest at the back post, the winger's low drive would have tucked just inside the far post had Jaakkola not got to it with his finger tips.

The Kilmarnock goalkeeper was left foundering when a Hateley corner curled against the crossbar and Craigan's header on the rebound nestled on the roof of the net.

Kenny Shiels' side came back into the game and Harkins made space for himself despite the attentions of Craigan and sent his low drive crashing off the far post - with former Killie defender Tim Clancy blocking Paul Heffernan's attempt to score with the rebound.

Kilmarnock did have the ball in the net just before half time, but Pascali was ruled to have gained advantage via a push as he rose high above the home defence to meet a corner with his head.

A superb double save from Jaakkola prevented Motherwell scoring a legitimate opener after the break.

Steve Jennings played a neat-one two with Higdon and the goalkeeper beat away shots from the midfielder then the striker.

Apart from that early pressure, Kilmarnock were looking increasingly comfortable and, although the ball pinged around both goalmouths in the closing stages, the final whistle arrived without either breaking the deadlock.

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