They are viewed as a breed apart and frequently undervalued, even by some teammates who contend that they are not real footballers, but anyone doubting the disproportionate importance of goal-keepers to their teams needed only to see 30 seconds of the action at Dens Park yesterday to be disabused of such notions.
The period in question came after nine minutes of a second half in which the home side had enjoyed their only spell of supremacy and looked to be about to level this tie when Cammy Kerr’s raking cross-field ball was brought down brilliantly by Sofien Moussa, who then turned Cedric Kipre to work the ball onto his right foot and he duly fired a curving shot across Trevor Carson. Under-worked to that point the Motherwell stopper was at full stretch, but managed to get enough of a hand on it to turn it away.
Moments later the ball was at the other end of the pitch where Elliott Parish raced to the edge of his box, but failed to get to the ball, Curtis Main claiming the credit for the goal but Dundee full-back Kevin Holt’s head appearing to deliver the decisive touch as both challenged for it in the air and combined to knock it over the Dundee ‘keeper.
Parish could also have done better when failing to prevent the first half opener, registered half an hour into the game, albeit it was a well crafted and taken goal, Nadir Ciftci having chested the ball down then pushed the ball into the path of Craig Tanner whose volley was well struck, albeit close enough to the goal-keeper that he should have blocked it as he dived to his left.
By contrast Dundee rarely threatened, other than through an admittedly steady stream of chances supplied by Jon Aurtenexte from set-pieces, none of which his colleagues managed to direct on target and there could be no argument made that on the balance of play the victory was anything other than fully deserved as Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson
“It was a fantastic performance, really, really good,” he said, after this season’s League Cup finalists booked their Scottish Cup quarter-final place.
“We did the simple things very well. We played in their half of the pitch and played some really attractive football there as well. Our forward boys, Nadir, Curtis and Tanner, provided a threat all afternoon and then when you need to defend saves like Trevor Carson made, performances like Charles Dunne, all that needs to come together and over the last month since we came back the majority of our performances have been like that.”
By contrast his Dundee counterpart Neil McCann was almost incandescent when describing his side’s contribution to their own exit, noting that the defeat had by no means merely been down to defensive blunders.
“Almost 100 per cent of our chances were free headers, balls bouncing in the box, no composure, not making Carson work, which is criminal… but what I would say is that the goals we’ve lost are shocking, gifts to Motherwell,” he said.
“When you miss those kinds of chances and you cough up goals like that, how can you come in here and say you were unlucky. It’s just wasteful in front of goal and weak in defence.”
“They’re absolutely joke goals aren’t they? They shouldn’t be in our net.”