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Late Sutton Goal Denies Hibs A Deserved Victory

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A last minute goal from ex Hearts’ striker John Sutton denied Hibs a deserved victory at Easter Road this afternoon after Terry Butcher’s men had fought back from two goals down to lead going into time added on.

With Tom Taiwo suspended and Duncan Watmore, Kevin Thomson, Scott Robertson and Owain Tudur Jones injured, Butcher was forced to change his midfield pack once more and Paul Cairney replaced Alex Harris whilst James Collins took over from Taiwo to partner Danny Haynes in attack.

Hibs started brightly, winning a series of corner kicks and Haynes was unlucky not to latch onto Liam Craig’s through ball before Motherwell scored with their first attack.

James McFadden slipped the ball in behind Forster for Ainsworth who looked up and picked out the run of Sutton who slotted it into the net from close range.

Hibs almost equalised moments later when Cairney’s cross was deflected into the path of Haynes, who blasted the ball over the bar from 12 yards before James Collins went close with a header.

Motherwell then doubled their advantage when Ainsworth collected Iain Vigurs’ pass before beating Nelson and curling the ball into the net past Williams.

Just before the break Hibs pulled a goal back when Cairney’s cross from the left was guided in by Jordon Forster for his second goal in two games.

Forster almost equalised with another header from a Liam Craig corner then Collins went agonisingly close when he latched onto McGivern’s cross but his strike came back off the post with Hollis beaten.

Moments later Cairney slipped in Haynes inside the box but his shot flew well over the bar.

Hibs attacking play lifted the crowd and they eventually grabbed a deserved equaliser 15 minutes from time when Nelson rose highest at the back post to head the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.

The referee was unsighted but thankfully the linesman was well placed to award the goal.

Three minutes later Cairney completed a hat-trick of assists when he slipped in substitute Paul Heffernan who hammered the ball high into the net to the delight of the supporters.

With eight minutes remaining Collins almost wrapped things up but his header from Forster’s cross went just wide.

Deep into time added on Motherwell levelled the scoring when Sutton headed in from close range after a great run by Vigurs on the left.

The result leaves Hibs two points behind sixth placed St Johnstone having played a game more.

Afterwards a disappointed Terry Butcher said: “We are very sore; very disappointed. We had a tremendous comeback and showed great character and that’s been spoiled by an unbelievably soft goal although it was great play by Vigers and I must give him credit but we had umpteen chances to cleat the ball.

“We will be working all this week on thrown ins, for and against and clearances because that was schoolboy defending. It was a bizarre game which sums our season up. Jekyll and Hyde.

“The natives were very restless and understandably but having said that for the first ten minutes we’ve done really well in the game and they have scored with their first meaningful attack.

The last 10 minutes of the first half lifted the crowd and there was not a lot of ranting and raving at half time because we felt that if we could get a second goal we could go on and win it.

“When we got the third goal we thought great and the headlines would have been about a magnificent comeback then we can’t defend a throw in in the last minute of the match and I’m bitterly disappointed by that.”

Paul Heffernan said: “It felt a little bit like a defeat especially when you get yourself in front. Late goals always feel like that when you concede late. There were a few harsh words said in the dressing room as we are all disappointed in there. We showed good character and spirit to get back into the game so there are some positives.

“It was good to get on for 15 minutes to try and make an impact and to catch the eye and obviously it was good to get the goal so hopefully that will give the manager something to think about for the next game.”

Hibernian: Williams, McGivern, Hanlon, Nelson, Craig (Handling 83′), Cairney, Collins, Stevenson (Harris 65′), Forster, Stanton, Haynes (Heffernan 74′).Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Boateng, Maybury, Cummings.

Motherwell: Hollis, Reid, Hutchison, McManus, McFadden (Cadden 73′), Sutton, Vigurs, Lasley, Murray, Ainsworth (Moore 69′), Leitch. Substitutes not used: Stewart, Hammell, Shirkie, Thomas, Neil.

Referee: Steven McLean.

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