Motherwell Under 20s lost 3-1 to Celtic in their first game of the new 2012/13 season.
A free-kick from Bahrudin Atajic and a counter attack goal from Darnell Fisher had the Bhoys 2-0 up at half time, before Craig Moore pulled one back midway through the second half.
However, a sublime piece of skill from Denny Johnstone ended the game a contest with a third goal ten minutes from time.
Motherwell started brightly against John Kennedy’s young side and we’re first to threaten when Josh Watt’s direct running conjured up a corner kick. From Stevie Hetherington’s delivery, Jonathan Page headed wide of target.
Celtic started to find their way in to the game with Patrik Twardzik testing Lee Hollis from distance, before the ‘Well goalie made a smart stop at the feet of Kirwan after spilling an effort from Jack Kirwan.
Swedish striker Atajic then blasted a free kick over the bar from edge of the box having gone down under a challenge from Stuart Carswell.
The visitors eventually took the lead on 34 minutes from a similar position, after Darnell Fisher hit the deck following challenge from Zaine Francis-Angol, which drew a booking for the former Spurs full-back.
Twardzik fired the set piece in to the wall, but Page was penalised for encroaching, allowing a retake. This time Atajic found the target, as his right footed effort nestled in Hollis’s bottom left corner.
For all their possession, Motherwell couldn’t carve out an opening, with another Page header from a Nicky Devlin delivery their best the home side could manage.
In contract, Celtic were clinical and doubled their lead with only three minutes of the first-half remaining. Full-back Darnell Fisher broke up the right and, aided by a fortuitous ricochet off the thigh of Francis-Angol, he slotted the ball under Hollis from twelve yards.
The second half carried on where the first left off with Celtic soaking up pressure and looking to create chances on the break. They could and should have added to their lead, when Hollis made a great save at the feet of Kirwan, after a sclaffed effort from Twardzik had evaded the home defence.
Motherwell introduced Adam Asghar from the substitute’s bench was to set up Craig Moore to reduce the deficit. A perfect through-ball inside Fisher made its way to Moore, who had McNally back-pedaling towards the visitor’s box. The pint-sized hitman took another touch to steady himself before smashing the ball low beyond Fasan to make it 2-1.
It was a deserved goal that galvanized the hosts so much so Nicky Devlin almost leveled shortly after when he ghosted in behind Fisher, only to spoon Josh Watt’s pass wide of the post.
After losing the goal Celtic eventually settled and started to increase the pressure once again and after Denny Johntone had hit the post form around the neatly spot, he made it 3-1 to Celtic with a brilliant individual goal.
Collecting the ball on the left wing, he pirouetted past Page, before unleashing a fierce drive high across Hollis. It was a great goal which effectively killed the game a contest.
A Moore header from Kerr’s returned ball back across goal was the closest ‘Well came to pulling another back but it finished 1-3 Celtic with the youths plenty to work on ahead of the next match against Ross County next week.
Motherwell: Hollis, Devlin, Francis-Angol (Cummins – 46), Hetherington, Kerr, Page, Watt, Carswell, McHugh (Shirkie – 62), Moore, Leitch (Asghar – 63)
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Murray, Johnstone, Higgins
Cautions: Francis-Angol, Page, Moore
Goals: Moore (65)
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