Pictures from the 2-1 win over St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Under 19s League at McKenna Park.
Pictures from the 2-1 win over St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Under 19s League at McKenna Park.
Motherwell U19s bounced back from last week’s disappointing defeat at the hands of St Johnstone with a 2-1 win over St Mirren at McKenna Park today.
After an entertaining, but scoreless, first-half, Motherwell took the lead shortly after the restart when Craig Moore latched on to a Stuart Carswell cross to blast his side into the lead.
The one goal advantage quickly became two when defender Darren Brownlie, up for a corner, found space at the back post to turn and bundle the ball past the keeper and a number of defenders.
Saints, to their credit, quickly hit back though when Anton Brady’s fine finish from the edge of the area bounced past the helpless Willie Muir.
However, the goal didn’t catapult the hosts back into the match – indeed, Motherwell were the only team really threatening as the game headed towards its conclusion but the score stayed the same and the points returned to Lanarkshire.
After last week’s heartbreaking stoppage time defeat to Saints at Bathgate, Gordon Young opted for two changes to his side.
Striker Moore came in to replace Lee Erwin who had to be content with a place amongst the subs and Stuart Carswell made a welcome return to the side after missing the opening three matches whilst with the first-team. The unfortunate Adam Ashgar was the man who dropped out.
It was a bright but breezy afternoon in Glasgow, perfect for football, and Motherwell almost made the perfect start when a short back pass allowed Keiran McGachie to drive towards goal. By the time he reached the box though, Saints were starting to get back in numbers and after forcing the big striker to cut inside, his driving shot from the edge of the box flew just over the bar.
Six minutes later, the same player again pounced on some slack defending and after beating Michael McNiven to the ball, the former Stenny man looked to have been clipped just inside the area. He was, however, a victim of his own honesty and after staying on his feet, managed to square the ball to Steve Hetherington whose curling effort was terrifically saved by the recovering Saints keeper.
Motherwell continued to press and looked the team most likely to score and, with 20 minutes on the clock, a combination of superb goalkeeping and poor finishing kept it at 0-0.
McGachie, who was at the centre of everything Motherwell had in the final third, was again the creator. Collecting a poor kick-out, he wasted no time in unleashing a stinging effort that forced McNiven to parry. The ball dropped for Stuart Carswell, who looked to have a tap in, but could only screw the ball wide from an acute angle.
‘Well continued to push and had more than a few crosses into the box which were mopped up by the sturdy Saints backline.
Into the second half and after Saints had the chance to test Muir from a free-kick from the edge of the area (that ballooned high over the bar), Motherwell finally took the lead and it was a sweeping move of some quality.
Keiran MacDonald, Zane Francis-Angol and Hermann Mboa Mekongo all combined in the middle of the park, with the latter spreading it wide to the right flank for Nicky Devlin. The former Dumbarton full-back quickly played in the supporting Carswell who flashed a lovely cross towards the near post where Craig Moore nipped in ahead of Jason Naismith to smash the ball home from close range.
That goal only succeeded in pushing Motherwell on and McGachie once again came close to getting his name on the scoresheet. Racing on to a long Euan Murray ball over the top, he outpaced the covering defender but his low shot was well saved by the feet of McNiven at the expense of a corner.
It looked as if it was only a matter of time before the Steelmen doubled their advantage and so it came courtesy of an unlikely source. A Keiran MacDonald corner from the right was flicked on at the near post before landing at the feet of Darren Brownlie. The big defender was afforded time and space to turn and shoot the ball into the net from a tight angle, the ball somehow weaving its way past a posse of defenders and the goalkeeper.
Incredibly, from a position of control, Motherwell were immediately pegged back as St Mirren brought themselves back into the game with an excellent strike. Mark Lamont created space on the left and his deep cross towards the back post was cushioned down for the supporting Anton Brady who lashed a shot home from just inside the area.
Game on? Well, not really as Motherwell never really looked under too much pressure as the game wound down to a finish. Indeed, Euan Murray almost restored the two-goal deficit with a header from a corner that was knocked off the line and McGachie was denied a penalty for the second time when he appeared to be pulled down by McNiven but the referee wasn’t interested, pointing for a corner and not at the penalty spot.
Just before full-time, ‘Well had a golden opportunity to make the points safe but once again, McGachie was denied by McNiven. Francis-Angol and Mboa Mekongo worked a brilliant move down the left which finished with a decent ball into the area from the left back. It was only partially cleared and after Carswell and sub Lee Erwin had combined, it fell kindly for striker inside the box but his shot was expertly saved by Saints’ on-form goalkeeper with three players all waiting to tuck it home.
It was the last action of an otherwise entertaining encounter. Motherwell move into third in the table ahead of tomorrow’s other matches and face last season’s league winners Celtic next Saturday at Lennoxtown (12 noon kick off).
Motherwell: Muir, Francis-Angol, Murray, Brownlie (Lynch), Murray, Devlin, Hetherington, Mboa Mekongo, Carswell, MacDonald (Erwin), Moore, McGachie
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Green, Ashgar, Leitch
One final reminder to fans to come along and be a part of an exciting new dawn as Motherwell prepare to launch the ‘Well Society.
Taking place on Monday 5th September at the Alona Hotel, Strathclyde Park; all fans are invited to attend the first in a number of open meetings.
Top of the agenda will be the board’s plans, aims and objectives following John Boyle’s retirement during the summer and the new membership Scheme – “The ‘Well Society”.
Commenting, Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “We are delighted to announce this, the first of a series of meetings over coming weeks where our fans can debate directly with the whole board on our soon-to-be-launched, exciting new membership scheme.
“We have all known for some time that John’s stewardship of the club was coming to an end.
“The Board has said on a number of occasions that, ultimately, we wish to be owned by the Community and this proposed new structure is a huge step towards setting out how to achieve this goal. We believe it will put the club in the unique position of not being reliant on either a benefactor or the bank.
“We want the people of this community to have pride in the club as a responsible representative of the region, regardless of whether or not they attend the games on a match day.“
“If you genuinely wish to see the club succeed and flourish and build on an already rich heritage, then come along and get involved on the 5th of September. All questions, points and opinions are very much welcome – nothing is off limits.”
Doors will open at 6.30pm with the meeting scheduled to start at 7pm. The venue can accommodate 500 supporters some of whom may need to stand.
Every month this season, Cash Converters will be giving you the opportunity to present your Motherwell Player of the Month with a trophy, and now is your chance to vote for who you think deserves to receive August’s award.
It’s been an excellent month for the Steelmen who sit joint top of the Scottish Premier League table – has the mercurial Jamie Murphy caught your eye?
Or what about new signing Nicky Law; the former Rotherham man has been at the heart of everything good. Big Michael Higdon has already bagged three goals and Tom Hateley is not far behind with two belters.
No matter who it is, all you need to do is vote for which ‘Well player you think has been the stand-out performer for August and, if you are correct, you could be chosen at random from all entries received, to congratulate our star man in person.
To cast your vote, simply visit our Motherwell Facebook page, ‘Up the Well’ or by CLICKING HERE.
The link will also give you the opportunity to enter the draw to take part in the next Convert for Cash, which will be taking place on September 24th, when Aberdeen visit Fir Park.
For the August Player of the Month – VOTE HERE.
Motherwell youngsters Ross McKinnon and Steven Howarth have both gone on 28-day loan deals to gain vital first-team experience.
Left-back McKinnon will follow in the footsteps of Ross Forbes, Gary Smith and Jordan Halsman by signing on at Second Division side Dumbarton.
Former Clyde striker Howarth, Motherwell’s top scorer at U19s level last season, will join Paul Hartley’s Alloa Athletic side as they push for promotion from division three.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall said, “We have been arranging quite a few bounce games for our fringe lads to play in but nothing can replicate a competitive match.
“Ross and Stevie both need games and this will give them a perfect opportunity.
Hopefully they will return to Fir Park next month sharper and will make a big push for a spot in the first-team.”
Meanwhile, Under 19s defender Dean McLean has mutually agreed to terminate his contract and will leave the club with immediate effect.
Good morning folks,
Sorry it has taken so long to email you after Saturday’s victory; I had to head down south immediately after the match and only now found time to sit and put this together.
It was another excellent attacking performance from the players at East End Park and, as I said after the match, if you had offered me all three points and four goals before we kicked off then I would have taken it, without any doubt.
Obviously, everyone got a little bit nervous when they pulled a couple of goals back but, having watched the game again, I always felt like we were in control of things and so it proved with the killer fourth goal.
It has been a pleasing start and I hope you are all enjoying things at the moment. Football fans get down when things are not going well so there is nothing wrong with daring to dream and being excited when it is working out. That said, I don’t think anyone will get too carried away. Our aim this season, first and foremost, is to get into the top six and that is still very much top of the agenda. If we achieve that, we’ll take it from there.
Before I move on from all things Dunfermline – I just wanted to thank the near 900 fans that made the journey through to Fife and gave such excellent backing. Our crowds this year, particularly away from home, have been nothing short of brilliant and I have read one or two comments in some of Sunday and Monday’s papers commenting on it. Keep it up! Keep at your friends, family and colleagues to come along and support the club. And the lads with the drum… Brilliant!
That leads me on nicely to the last point I wanted to make and it’s about next Monday and the Open Meeting for fans. I know club managers are not always renowned for taking much of an interest in what happens off the field but I do and am keen to see the club build and move forward. I’ve only been here eight months but, already, I have built up an attachment and a desire to see the new model flourish. Our brilliant fans, and you all have been brilliant with me since my arrival, have an unbelievable change to get seriously involved with the club and further influence our progression.
Having spoken to Leeann and her team, it’s important you get involved! It’s Monday 5th September at 7pm.
Just finally, all the best to Scotland this weekend. I’ll have my Scotland scarf on roaring the boys on at Hampden.
All the best,
Motherwell will face a home tie against SPL side Hibernian in the Scottish Communities League Cup 3rd Round.
After seeing off Third Division Clyde in the previous round, ‘Well will now take on Colin Calderwood’s side on either Tuesday 20th or Wednesday 21st September 2011.
Full match details, along with ticket information, will be confirmed shortly.
The full draw:
Ross County vs. Celtic
Falkirk vs. Rangers
Airdrie vs. Dundee Utd
Kilmarnock vs. Queens Park
Ayr vs. Heart of Midlothian
St Johnstone vs. St Mirren
Motherwell vs. Hibs
Aberdeen vs. East Fife
Stuart McCall has hailed a blistering attacking display in the 4-2 win over Dunfermline at East End Park, but admitted some late sloppiness made for a nervous finale.
From being 3-0 up and cruising, the Well conceded two late goals, before Michael Higdon poked home a nerve-settling fourth goal – the big striker’s second of the match.
And the ‘Well gaffer, who saw his side go top with the win – for 24 hours at least – admits more nervy finishes like that will be enough to give him some grey hairs.
[pullquote]There’s no doubt in my mind that we deserved to win the game, but it should have been more comfortable than it was.[/pullquote]
“This strawberry blonde won’t stay strawberry blonde for long if we play like that at 3-0 up”, quipped McCall. “I was delighted with the first half performance, delighted to go in at half time at 2-0, and we said at half time that we couldn’t become complacent. We got the third goal and we became a bit sloppy.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we deserved to win the game, but it should have been more comfortable than it was. You’ve got to give credit to Dunfermline for getting back in to the game.”
“To score four goals away from home and to be top of the league, for now, is nice for the supporters and the players. It was an important win for us, because we go to Parkhead after the international break.”
“We said yesterday that when you have a two week break you don’t want to dwell on a defeat or a poor performance. “
Bizarrely, three of the game’s six goals took wicked deflections, but there was no doubt about Higdon’s brace. After ending his goal drought at Clyde the former St Mirren man is well and truly off the mark after a bustling, clinical display in Fife.
The ‘Well gaffer was understandably full of praise for his powerful hitman.
“We decided to play him against Clyde, hoping he’d get a goal there, and that would kick him on,” confirmed McCall, outlining a plan which has clearly worked perfectly.
“And thankfully he did, and got two today. That’s what we brought him in for.”
Despite watching his side concede two late goals which gave a buoyant, attacking display a somewhat testing climax, the Steelmen boss also praised new signing Tim Clancy.
The Irish defender only signed on Thursday, and showed remarkable poise to turn in a competent display beside the calming influence of Stephen Craigan.
“I asked him yesterday if he was OK to go straight in,” the manager recalled. “Big Hutchy (Shaun Hutchinson) had done his hamstring at the death against Clyde, and we couldn’t risk him.”
“Tim had only played the first game for Kilmarnock and a bounce game, but he had no doubts that he wanted to play and I thought he was excellent. For him to just come in to the side, I thought he did really well.”
The former Bradford boss took the time, in the aftermath of the win in Fife, to confirm to the assembled press that a deal for Jamaican international Omar Daley has been agreed in principle.
The pacey winger has agreed personal terms with the Fir Park club but must now return to Jamaica in order to iron out a couple of issues regarding international clearance.
However, with the 64-times currently a free agent there is no obligation to get the player in before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.
But, all being well, McCall may have the player available to him when the SPL reconvenes in two weeks’ time.
Pictures from the 4-2 win over Dunfermline in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at East End Park.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at motherwellPICS.
Alan Temple at East End Park
A Michael Higdon brace saw Motherwell return to the top of the league after a hugely entertaining 4-2 win at East End Park.
It was the least McCall’s side deserved for a composed, expansive performance from start to finish, and one which guarentees the Steelmen a place at the summit of the SPL – for 24 hours at least; although they did have to cope with an unwarranted nervous ending to proceedings.
‘Well were ahead early doors as a delightful passing move culminated in a sweeping left-footed finish from Michael Higdon. The lead was doubled ten minutes later as Jamie Murphy surged from midfield before firing past Paul Gallacher, via a kind Alex Keddie deflection.
The game looked to be dead in the second half as Chris Humphrey popped up to score a delightful solo goal.
The Pars’ attempt at a comeback was somewhat laboured as they struggled to create many clear-cut chances, but they did pull a goal back with 20 minutes still to play. This time the home side benefitted from a deflection, as David Graham’s speculative effort found the net, off the back of Joe Cardle.
And Joe Cardle’s late strike has claret and amber hearts in mouths, only for Michael Higdon to complete the scoring in a six-goal thriller; his second of the match.
Naturally, Motherwell reverted to a more tried-and-tested line-up after a successful outing for many of the second string players against Clyde in midweek. Daren Randolph, Stevie Hammell, Stephen Craigan, Chris Humphrey, Steve Jennings and Jamie Murphy all returned to a strong Steelmen starting eleven.
There was also a debut for Tim Clancy, a midweek signing from Kilmarnock. The Irishman replaced Shaun Hutchinson in the heart of defence after the young Geordie succumbed to a hamstring strain.
Dunfermline also made a swathe of changes following an altogether more harrowing Scottish Communities League Cup experience during their defeat to Irn-Bru Second Division East Fife.
Gary Mason, Martin Hardie, Joe Cardle and Clydesdale Bank Premier League joint-top scorer Andy Kirk all returned for the Fifers as they looked to continue a remarkable unbeaten streak at the start of the campaign.
Stuart McCall had previously stated the importance of going into the international break on the back of a positive result, and ‘Well started in fluid fashion, with Nicky Law looking particularly incisive with a couple of runs at the heart of the Pars defence.
And The Steelmen were rewarded for an industrious opening after eleven minutes. Some wonderful interplay on the edge of the box involving Steve Jennings, Keith Lasley and Michael Higdon allowed the latter to spin inside the box and fire a superb finish across Paul Gallacher into the corner of the net.
The visitors were utterly dominant in the early stages and could have doubled their lead after 20 minutes as Tom Hateley curled a sumptuous free-kick from 30 yards off Gallacher’s right-hand post. Jamie Murphy also looked to have a claim for a penalty as Dunfermline scrambled to clear, but Euan Norris waved the shout away.
But McCall’s charges made it two a matter of minutes later. A lax Pars midfield and backline allowed Jamie Murphy to surge forward and his low drive proceeded to take a knick off Alex Keddie, wrong-footing the unfortunate Gallacher and nestling in at the near post.
Things went from bad to worse for Keddie as he was booked for a poor challenge on Michael Higdon moments later. That moment was actually a rare incident of passion and intensity in a very flat performance from the erstwhile unbeaten home side.
That was illustrated five minutes before the break as Tom Hateley, remarkably, was allowed to run the length of the right flank before cutting inside a blazing over the bar – without a challenge in sight.
Only a last-ditch block stopped Motherwell going in at half-time three-down – not a scoreline that would have flattered them – as Higdon was denied a clear effort following a Stevie Hammell cross.
It’s hard to believe that Jim McIntyre wouldn’t have had come vociferous home truths for his side at the break, and his side did display a little more intensity in the early stages of the second half, while struggling to break down and organised ‘Well back four.
Yet it was Motherwell showing the more potent streak up front, and Alex Keddie was forced to clear a dangerous cross-cum-shot after Nicky Law cut inside the box and lashed a right-footed towards the back-post.
And that potency was re-enforced ten minutes into the half as Chris Humphrey made it 3-0. The Jamaican was allowed all the space in the world to surge down the right flank before cutting inside the box. With no challenge forthcoming he powered a left-footed drive past Gallacher, arrowing in to the net via the inside of the post.
While Motherwell had graciously lapped up the good fortune of the first half deflected Murphy goal, it was Dunfermline’s turn to get a slice of luck after 69 minutes. Second half substitute David Graham smashed an effort from distance which struck Joe Cardle, completely wrong-footing Darren Randolph, and finding the back of the net.
Randolph had to be on his toes to save a near-post header from Andy Kirk as McIntyre’s side tried to turn the screw in the latter stages.
A Jason Thomson shot, which harmlessly cleared the ‘Well crossbar, proved to be a warning shot as Dunfermline ensured a very nervous finale. Joe Cardle spearheaded a four-versus-two counter attack after a Keith Lasley slip and, after moving into the box, his shot cannoned off Craigan to make it 3-2.
But the loud band of ‘Well fans needn’t have worried. Moments later a lovely move set Nicky Law free on the byline, and his delivery across the face of goal was poked home by Michael Higdon from close range.
[tab:As it happened]
Kris Jack at East End Park
Full Time – Dunfermline 2-4 Motherwell. A deserving win for Well, unfortunate to lose the they goals they did, but an assured performance. Top of the League.
90 Mins – GOAL! Higdon at the double puts it to bed! A patient build up from Humphrey and Law picks out Higdon at the back post. Magic stuff.
88 Mins – GOAL! Dunfermline pull it back to 3-2. Craigan OG? Cardle given it by Pars announcer though. Randolph had it until Craggs stuck out a leg. Squeaky Bum Time after a really unlucky break for the captain.
80 Mins – Thomson fires over for Pars, after good work to keep the ball in by Kirk. It’s taken this long for Dunfermline to make a game of it.
69 Mins – GOAL! Graham strike takes a massive deflection past Randolph and in to make it 3-1. Pars comeback on the cards?
55 Mins – GOAL! 3-0 to the Well. Chris Humphrey cuts in from the right, as he’s done all day, this time rattling the ball in off the post. Great solo effort.
53 mins – Nicky Law goes close with an effort, as Barrowman swaps with Graham for Dunfermline.
39 Mins – Hateley given free reign of the right wing to run and cut inside, only to fire well over.
21 Mins – GOAL! 2-0 Well, Murphy goes on a darting run in to box, his shot taking a deflection off Keddie and in. Well running the show here.
20 Mins – Law fouled 30 yards out and Hateley rattles the post with a bending free kick. Murphy denied penalty while closing down rebound.
16 mins – Higdon could have had a second, as Humphrey’s cross form the byline almost picks him out. Up the other end, Barrowman fires well wide.
11 Mins – GOAL! Great play from Jennings, Murphy and Lasley to play in Higdon, who smashes the ball low in to Gallacher’s far corner. A merited Well lead.
5 Mins – Motherwell with most of the possession in the early stages, Clancy with a few introductory long balls for good measure.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We said that we wanted to end with a good result because we have two weeks before we go to Celtic; I could handle scoring four away from home every week.
“We would have like to have done it a bit more comfortably but you’ve got to give credit to Dunfermline.
“We just got a bit sloppy. Once we got the third goal we started taking too many touches on the ball, taking too many risks and not keeping the ball the way we can do.
“If you’d said before the game we would come here and won 4-2, I would have been delighted – so I’ve got to still be happy with that.”
Dunfermline manager Jim McIntyre:
“They played well, but for me we didn’t compete enough. In the second half we got ourselves back in the game, but Motherwell deserved to win.
“We were extremely disappointed with our first-half showing and Motherwell punished us. They’re a good side and we’ll have days like this when it is a learning curve.
“We learned that if you don’t start games well, it is hard to recover. You will get punished at this level. It is about how they respond to it now.”