Motherwell U20s went down 3-2 to Dundee United in an entertaining match at Fir Park this evening.
Both teams were level at the interval but it was United who drew first blood, Dale Hilson latching on to a long ball to slot under the advancing LEE HOLLIS.
Stevie Campbell’s side made it two on the hour with a superbly taken goal from Ryan Ferguson who curled a belter high into the top right corner.
The Steelmen hit back quickly though and CRAIG MOORE bagged his fourth of the season when he capitalised on some slack United defending.
The match was held up for five minutes after Willy Robertson had to be stretchered off with a nasty head injury.
United secured all three points on the ninetieth minute when Jordan Moore slid home from close range.
There was still enough time for BOB McHUGH to smash home a late consolation deep into injury time but it wasn’t enough as the Steelmen remain in eleventh position.
Jonatan Johansson’s young side were looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at East End Park last time out, where Bob McHugh’s opener was cancelled out by strikes from veteran forward Craig Drago and Alex Whittle.
The Finn made just one change from the side that started against Dunfermline, FRAZER JOHNSTONE coming in for MORGYN NEILL with ADAM ASGHAR moving to right back and ADAM CUMMINS partnering EUAN MURRAY at centre back.
The game started vibrantly with United passing the ball about well. Hilson should have done better than sclaff his effort when weaving his way in to the box for the visitors, after carving out the best of the early chances.
Moore then almost put ‘Well ahead slightly against the run of play, after beating John Souttar to a bouncing ball. He clipped his effort over the onrushing United goalkeeper, but looked on in vain as the ball was scrambled off the line.
JOSH WATT then forced Anderson in to a fine save after cutting in from the left, with Moore offside as he tried to prod in the rebound.
Down the other end and Ryan Ferguson then brought Hollis in to action for the first time, with the Steelmen stopper blocking with his feet as the United midfielder hared in to the box. Hilson’s follow up on the loose ball was also dealt with easily by the former Airdrie ‘keeper.
The visitors came closest to taking the lead when Jordan Moore rose in the box to bullet Ross Gilmour’s cross off the post. The striker will perhaps feel he should have netted given the time and space he had so close to goal. Watt then found Anderson in inspired form once more as he tested the away goalie with a vicious hit from 30 yards, which the keeper beat out at full stretch.
As the half came to a close, Hilson almost gave the away side the lead, but dragged his effort just wide of Hollis’ left hand post after making space at the edge of the box.
Where chances were squandered in the first half, they were duly tucked away in the second, as the fans were treated to a five goal thriller in the remaining 45 minutes.
United took the lead when a long ball over the top came off the head of Cummins and fell perfectly for Hilson. The striker still had it all to do but he kept his composure and stroked the ball past the oncoming Hollis and in off the post.
The lead was doubled a few minutes later when a wayward strike from Willy Robertson deflected off Murray and straight to the feet of Ryan Ferguson. The blonde-haired midfielder curled a pearler up and over Hollis from just inside the box. Having taken their chances, United were now 2-0 up, but they quickly saw their lead halved, after a defensive mix up allowed Craig Moore an opportunity.
A poor looking pass forward from STEVIE HETHERINGTON split two defenders, and as Moore managed to stay onside he beat Anderson at the front post from an angle to bring his side right back in to it.
With the game poised at 1-2 to the visitors, the hosts sensed they could get back in to the game, but despite the best efforts of Watt and Moore in trying to create, a leveller could not be found.
The game was delayed in the final ten minutes after a sickening clash of heads between United’s Souttar and Robertson saw the latter knocked out cold, and taken off the pitch on a stretcher. No sooner had the game resumed than United sealed the win with a third goal.
Hilson showed his strength and pace to outrun Asghar going in to the box, before laying a slide rule pass on a plate for Jordan Moore to tuck home from six yards, making it 1-3 to the Arabs.
There was still time for another goal though as McHugh timed his run on to Watt’s weighted pass to perfection before blasting past Anderson to bring the game back within a one goal margin.
The injury time for the head knock ticked over, as United ran out 3-2 victors at the end of a great game of football.
Motherwell: Hollis, Asghar (Shirkie – 90), Leitch, Murray, Cummins, Hetherington, McCafferty, Johnstone (Thomas – 79), McHugh, Watt, Moore
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Green, Neill
Goals: Moore (62), McHugh (90)
Booked: Hetherington, Murray