Motherwell 3 – 0 East Stirlingshire
Motherwell claimed three points with a convincing win over Lowland League opponents East Stirlingshire.
An up tempo second half, inspired by Marvin Johnson’s goal after 52 minutes, with Scott McDonald and Chris Cadden adding two more late in the half eventually gave the Fir Park men a comfortable scoreline but they failed to over-run a ‘Shire side which was demoted from the SFL last season.
Mark McGhee resisted any temptation to weaken his line-up for the visit of non-league East Stirlingshire, in the knowledge that a resounding victory was required if ‘Well are to progress beyond the group stages of the Betfred Cup.
And the players sensed the need for a positive start as ‘Well could have been two up within the first minute.
Marvin Johnston dragged the ball in from the wing and after drifting pass a handful of opponents his firm drive was palmed away by Darren Dolan at full stretch.
The ‘Shire ‘keeper was the saviour again when Scott McDonald burst through the middle but his delicate lob was palmed high by Dolan before a defender booted the ball away as it bounced towards goal.
The Fir Park men, in their denim blue kit, looked intent on getting an early goal and after five minutes McDonald’s angled toe poke forced another fine save from Dolan.
However, after that furious start ‘Well’s play became over elaborate and as the Lowland League side became organised and more confident the visitor’s ‘keeper was less troubled.
Some smarter moves around the box createda couple of openings. The first fell for Cadden but from 10 yards he fired straight at the ‘keeper. The midfielder then set up Johnson with a cushioned header but his volley drifted past the post.
At the other end Craig Samson was a virtual spectator until six minutes from half time when Derek Ure’s 25 yard drive gave him his first save.
By the half time whistle the only cheers that could be heard came from the band of 82 ‘Shire fans in the main stand.
Johnson was again first to threaten the visitor’s goal three minutes into the second half but his glancing header was comfortably held by Dolan.
Three minutes later the ‘keeper was helpless as Johnson swivelled at the edge of the box before drilling a low drive into the net.
Before play restarted Lionel Ainsworth and Joe Chalmers replaced Dom Thomas and Stevie Hammell.
However, before either of them got a touch it took a twisting reflex save from Samson to push away Graeme McGregor’s deflected shot and keep ‘Well in front.
At the other end Dolan had to react smartly to Ainworth’s clever free kick from wide left which was curling under the cross bar.
Suddenly the game had a feeling of being a cup tie and another net bound effort from Ainsworth was headed wide by Ross Fisher.
After 64 minutes and with Motherwell much more lively about the visitor’s box Johnston’s cut back set up Craig Clay but the Welsh midfielder’s measured shot was blocked in the centre of goal by Andrew Grant.
His near namesake David Grant then brought gasps of relief from the home fans as his curled shot bounced narrowly past Samson’s left hand post.
With 14 minutes remaining McDonald eased the nerves nonchalantly nodding Cadden’s cross home from a couple of yards for his first goal of the season.
The favour was reciprocated two minutes later when McDonald teed up Cadden but his strike at goal was blocked by a couple of defenders.
The young midfielder finally got his name on the scoresheet four minutes from time when he swept Richard Tait’s cut back into the corner of the net.
With another three points in the bag though Motherwell head for Stranraer on Saturday knowing that another win would probably be enough to see them into the last sixteen of the cup.
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 3 – 0 East Stirlingshire
87′ | 3-0
Tait does brilliantly to get down the right and pull it back into a great area for CADDEN to slot into the bottom corner. 3-0!
84′ | 2-0
Great ball by Johnson to Ainsworth who takes on the shot from 20 yards. Dolan dives low to his left and tips it away to safety
81′ | 2-0
Johnson curls in a deep ball which Dolan can only parry to Ainsworth but from a tight angle, he fires just over the bar.
80′ | 2-0
East Stirlingshire sub, McGuigan off for Peddie
78′ | 2-0
Great chance as Ainsworth plays McDonald clean through. The Aussie cuts back and squares Cadden whose shot is well blocked
76′ | 2-0
Cadden puts the ball on a plate for McDONALD who nods home from 6 yards! 2-0!
73′ | 1-0
East Stirlingshire sub, Hogg is off for Comrie
73′ | 1-0
Chalmes advances to support McDonald and receives the ball just inside the box. HIs curled shot is saved by Dolan.
67′ | 1-0
East Stirlngshire sub, Sludden on for Murray
66′ | 1-0
D. Grant comes close for East Stirlngshire, his shot from 18 yards curling just wide of the post. Had Sammy worried.
64′ | 1-0
Johnson wins the ball back in a great area and squares it to Clay 12 yards out but a defender bravely gets in front of it!
60′ | 1-0
Bit of head tennis inside the box as frustratingly the ball just wont drop for someone. Finally falls to Heneghan who volleys wide
59′ | 1-0
Ainsworth goes close again, with a shot from the left but the defender gets his head in the way. Corner…
59′ | 1-0
Close! Ainsworth’s deep free-kick forces Dolan to shift quickly and tip it over the bar.
56′ | 1-0
Chance for East Stirlingshire, Ure with a shot through bodies. Takes a deflection but Samson is alert to it and saves.
54′ | 1-0
2 Motherwell subs, Ainsworth on for Thomas and Chalmers on for Hammell.
53′ | 1-0
JOHNSON finally breaks the deadlock, turning his man on the edge of the box and powerfully firing past Dolan
49′ | 0-0
McDonald gets down the outside of the box and crosses to the head of Johnson but he can’t get enough power in it to test Dolan
Lasley gets the second 45 underway. COYW!!
HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 East Stirlingshire
44′ | 0-0
…falls to McDonald but his shot is deflected wide for a corner.
44′ | 0-0
Late chance here for ‘Well, a free-kick wide on the left….
40′ | 0-0
Ure with the first effort that troubles Samson. Thankfully the goalie deals well with the bounce in front of him
33′ | 0-0
Cadden shows good skill and gets past his man but Dolan reads his cross well and gets down low to gather
30′ | 0-0
Johnson jinks through the middle and gets a shot away which is travelling in but for Fisher’s foot, who then sweeps it out
27′ | 0-0
Another chance goes! This time the ball is whipped in and Heneghan stoops low to head but it is just wide of the post.
21′ | 0-0
Inches away! Great play again, Cadden nods the ball down to Johnson on the edge of the box but his volley flies just past.
16′ | 0-0
Lovely build-up play frees up Cadden inside the box but his shot is straight at Dolan.
14′ | 0-0
East Stirlingshire have a corner…..but the low ball in is swept clear by McDonald
2′ | 0-0
Close again! McDonald this time who goes for the chip but Dolan gets enough on it and gets back to clear his lines
1′ | 0-0
CLOSE! Johnson twists, turns and gets a low shot away from 15 yards which Dolan has to put around the post!
Out come both sides, the Steelmen showing off their new denim blue away kit, East Stirlingshire in yellow and blue.
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
“I would’ve liked to get more but all credit to them they made it difficult for us.
“It was 0-0 at half time but we could’ve been ahead – we could’ve been 3-0 up at half-time – but we didn’t take our chances and we didn’t create clear enough chances.
“In the second half we did and we took three of them which was pleasing.”
|Craig Samson||Darren Dolan|
|Richard Tait||Connor Greene|
|(’53) Stevie Hammell||Adam Murray (’66)|
|Ben Heneghan||Andrew Grant|
|Stephen McManus||Ross Fisher|
|Marvin Johnson||Graeme MacGregor|
|Chris Cadden||Dylan McGuigan (’80)|
|Keith Lasley||Derek Ure|
|Craig Clay||Kris Faulds|
|(’53) Dom Thomas||David Grant|
|Scott McDonald||Connor Hogg (’73)|
|Dean Brill||Dean Shaw|
|Louis Laing||Scott Buist|
|(’53) Lionel Ainsworth||Paul Sludden (’66)|
|(’53) Joe Chalmers||Lewis Peddie (’80)|
|Ross MacLean||Craig Comrie (’73)|
|Dylan Mackin||Simon White|
|David Turnbull||Gavin McMillan|
|11||Shots on target||2|
|12||Shots off target||2|
|Referee: Craig Charleston|