Dumbarton 1-2 Motherwell
The Steelmen’s fourth pre-season fixture ended in a 2-1 win away to Championship side Dumbarton.
A fairly young side took to the park at the Cheaper Insurance Direct stadium, with youngsters Allan Campbell, Jack McMillan and Ross MacLean among the starting eleven.
Travelling fans got the opportunity to see new signing Carl McHugh make his first appearance in claret and amber – after making the switch from Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday.
Dean Brill started in between the sticks and Ben Heneghan was among the substitutes for McGhee’s side.
The opening goal of the day nearly came just a minute in, after some neat passing in the midfield led to Lionel Ainsworth making himself a yard of space and striking from outside the box – but his shot rose inches over the crossbar.
And a few minutes later, the Fir Parkers fancied their chances from range again. This time, Ross MacLean’s shot on target deflected behind for a corner.
Somehow Motherwell didn’t make the breakthrough after a neat flick and strike from Moult rebounded off the bar and into the path of Thomas, who lashed his strike off the post as well.
McHugh, who had slotted in to the side and was comfortable in possession, had his first strike on goal, but it flew over the crossbar and it remained goalless after 12 minutes.
Dean Brill’s first task was a fairly simple one, after a weak header made its way towards his far corner, but it was an easy one to collect for the keeper.
McHugh did well to win the ball in the middle of the park, but Thomas was caught in possession by Smith, who had an ambitious strike from range that spun wide off target.
A low strike from Grant Gallagher forced a good save from Brill who turned it round his post to keep it level after 20 minutes.
Two minutes later, Andrew Sterling cut inside McMillan and curled his strike on goal, but Dean Brill pulled off a wonder save to tip the ball over the bar.
But the new signings clean sheet didn’t last long after a Dumbarton corner was only cleared as far as the edge of the box. The ball was headed back in towards goal and some smart creativity from Robert Thomson to leap and connect with the overhead kick from close range arrowed it past Brill.
The Steelmen were peppering the goal with strikes from outside the box, as Dom Thomas’ effort deflected behind for another corner.
A great move around the edge of the Dumbarton box fell to Louis Moult, but his curling shot flew high over the bar.
Play came to a halt on the 34th minute after what looked to be a clash of heads resulted in a Dumbarton player making way.
Some great defending from Wright denied MacLean the opportunity of getting on the end of a great delivery from Joe Chalmers on the left.
It remained 1-0 to Dumbarton going in to the break and McGhee made four changes at the break, with McHugh, Kennedy, Moult and Ainsworth making way for Moore, Trialist, Hastie and Heneghan.
Heneghan missed a difficult chance at the back post from a corner, but immediately turned and curled a cross on to the head of Moore, who’s header was saved by Ewings, who replaced Brown at half-time for the home side.
It was all Motherwell in the opening ten minutes of the second half, as a brilliant lofted ball over the defence found McMillan whose low cross was spilled by Ewings and Dumbarton somehow kept their lead.
A few minutes later, Joe Chalmers put in another great cross, but Dumbarton knocked it behind for a corner.
On the hour mark, Dom Thomas fired low on goal but it didn’t trouble Ewings – and at the other end Brill was forced to turn the ball behind after a tricky strike skipped off the surface.
Three minutes later and Motherwell drew level.
A pinpoint ball from the half-way line over the defence from Ben Heneghan was met by a strong header from Moore whose effort came crashing back off the woodwork into the path of MacLean who stabbed it home.
On the 73rd minute, Luke Watt and a Trialist replaced Allan Campbell and Dom Thomas.
And three minutes later, the Fir Parkers took the lead after a mix-up between Ewings and Pettigrew about 30 yards out left Craig Moore with an open goal and he dribbled casually to tap in.
A good chance for Dumbarton went begging, as a great delivery from the left evaded everyone in the box and trickled out for a goal-kick.
With ten minutes left, a fire alarm halted play and the fans had to evacuate the stand. Five minutes later play resumed and ‘Well boss Mark McGhee made another couple of changes, with Mackin and another Trialist replacing McMillan and MacLean.
But with next to no time left on the clock, that was the last real action of the match as Motherwell grabbed their second victory of pre-season before facing Hibs tomorrow afternoon at Easter Road.
Motherwell: Brill, McMillan (Trialist – 85mins), Chalmers, Ferguson, Kennedy (Heneghan – 46mins), Campbell (Trialist – 72mins), Ainsworth (Hastie – 46mins), McHugh (Trialist – 46mins), Moult (Moore – 46mins), Thomas (Watt – 72mins), MacLean (Mackin – 85mins)