Marc McNulty and David Gray on target as Hibernian see off Motherwell



Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by PA

Marc McNulty and David Gray on target as Hibernian see off Motherwell

Hibernian took a significant step towards securing a Ladbrokes Premiership top-six place after goals from Marc McNulty and David Gray saw off Motherwell 2-0.

McNulty notched his seventh goal from as many games by converting a 19th-minute penalty before captain Gray headed in Stevie Mallan’s corner six minutes before the break.

The result moves the Leith club five points clear of Saturday’s opponents, who are seventh – while Paul Heckingbottom’s side are now also within two points of city rivals Hearts going into the international break.

Hibs collected all the spoils but it was the visitors who went close to opening the scoring after just 22 seconds. Gboly Ariyibi skinned Hibs full-back Gray on the left flank and his low pass across the six-yard box was turned onto his own post by Lewis Stevenson.

The Edinburgh side survived and went on the offensive. A deflected drive from Mallan bounced just past Mark Gillespie’s post before McNulty hit a volley into the side netting from a tight angle after connecting with Flo Kamberi’s deep cross.

Heckingbottom’s side continued to press during a lively start. Daryl Horgan got to the byeline and dug out a chipped delivery but McNulty’s header was blocked by goalkeeper Gillespie.

Hibs’ perseverance paid off as the hosts took the lead in the 19th minute courtesy of McNulty’s spot-kick.

Horgan raced past Richard Tait into the area and cut the ball back for McNulty, whose first-time shot came back off the hand of Tom Aldred.

The Motherwell defender was booked before the striker powered the resulting penalty past Gillespie.

There was more joy for Hibs six minutes before the break when Gray powered a header past Gillespie in a congested box from Mallan’s corner.

The hosts were forced into a change just three minutes into the second period when Gray hobbled of injured, with Sean Mackie climbing off the bench.

But it was Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano that was called into action to keep out Curtis Main’s stinging low drive in the 54th minute.

Hibs playmaker Horgan then threatened at the other end. The Ireland international cut inside Tait and made his way into the box but his right-footed shot was deflected over by Allan Campbell.

The home side should have added a third in the 71st minute.

Motherwell defender Tait hit the ball off the line after Mallan’s corner was deflected goalwards before Horgan dragged a shot wide from 12 yards in the same move.

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