Pictures from the 2-1 defeat by St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at St Mirren Park.
Pictures from the 2-1 defeat by St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at St Mirren Park.
Alan Burrows at St Mirren Park
Despite another spirited comeback from the Steelmen, Motherwell slipped to a 2-1 depeat at St Mirren Park this evening.
Saints had roared into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Steven Thompson double before the interval.
Bob McHugh halved the defecit with thirteen minuts to go as McCall’s men dominated the closing stages.
Despite chances, some heroic defending from the hosts kept their lead intact and they held on for all three points.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall made just one change from the side that roared back to beat Hibs at Easter Road six days ago. The experienced Simon Ramsden replaced Adam Cummins in defence, the young Liverpudlian having to settle for a place amongst the substitutes.
The game began at a ferocious pace and even in the early stages; the game looked stretched with both teams trying to counter-attack.
It was the Steelmen who looked a little more composed in possession and Jamaican winger Chris Humphrey created the first opportunity to score after ten minutes.
His penetrating burst into the box bamboozled two Saints defenders, but his shot at goal from 12 yards was deflected for a corner.
The game swing quickly from end to end and it wasn’t long before the Saints came close to scoring.
John McGinn’s corner looped towards the back post where Jim Goodwin was perfectly placed. He slid the ball goalwards, but Keith Lasley did brilliantly well to get back and hook the ball off the line.
Seconds later, Motherwell were back on the offensive and were only denied the lead courtesy of a wonderful save from Samson and the frame of the goal. Nicky Law’s tantalizing cross was met by Michael Higdon, whose goal-bound shot was tipped on to the station of bar and post by the Scotland International stopper.
That chance gave ‘Well confidence and they would go on to enjoy a significant amount of possession as the interval drew near.
Typically, and against the general run of play, Saints took the lead.
Marc McAusland slid the ball down the right flank for Jon Robertson down the right hand side and his bending cross found Thompson, who prodded the ball past Darren Randolph for his seventh of the season.
Barely two minutes had past an, incredibly, St Mirren made it two.
Gary Teale’s deep ball from the right flanked looked as if it was heading out for a goal kick but Thompson got up brilliantly well to nod the ball back across goal, past Randolph for 2-0.
Motherwell would have to come out the blocks quickly in the second half but it was actually Saints who should have made it 3-0 when McGinn got on the end of Lewis Guy’s cut-back, but his side-foot effort was brilliantly turned round by Irish International Randolph.
In an effort to try and salvage something from the match, Stuart McCall introduced Bob McHugh and began to commit more players forward and, with 15 minutes to go, their efforts were rewarded.
Henrik Ojamaa was released down the left and his low cross was hammered into the net via the crossbar by McHugh.
Motherwell then set-up camp in the home half. An astonishing goalmouth scramble in the 81st minute seemed destined to provide a second goal for the Steelmen, but some brave goalkeeping from Samson and committed blocks by the Saints backline ensured the home side’s lead remained intact.
McAusland’s header four minutes before time should have extended his St Mirren’s lead, but for all Motherwell’s late domination, Saints held on for the win.
‘Well now face two home matches in the next week as the battle for the top-six continues apace.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at St Mirren Park
FT: St Mirren 2 -1 Motherwell
90mins: Four minutes added on….
88mins: St Mirren sub, Barron off for Carey
83mins: Ojamaa pulls the ball out the sky in the box. His shot on the turn is tame though.
82mins: St Mirren sub, Van Zanten of for Dummett
80mins: All Motherwell!! Wave after wave of pressure now.
79mins: Motherwell sub, Daley on for Hateley
77mins: McHugh pulls a goal back in off the bar from Ojamaa’s cross. Game on!
73mins: And another chance for McHugh! Races through and on the edge of the box pulls the trigger. Just over!
St Mirren sub, Teale off for Mair.
71mins: Motherwell sub: Francis-Angol on for Hammell
70mins: Chance! McHugh on the end of Humphrey’s cross. His goal-bound shot is deflected over from 8 yards,
69mins: Motherwell sub, Higdon off for McHugh
68mins: Half-chance there from Henrik. Good tricky run but drags his shot just past from 20 yards.
65mins: Much of a sameness here! Very little in the way of threatening attacks from ‘Well. St Mirren look dangerous.
56mins: Good play between McLean and Teale allows the latter time to slot Thompson clean through. Thankfully his pass is wide of the mark.
48mins: Fantastic save from Randolph!! Dives low to his left to deny McGinn from close range.
46mins:McLean runs straight up the park but his effort is well over.
46mins: Second half underway.
HT: Teams back out. Huge performance needed in this 45 from the Steelmen.
HT: St Mirren 2 – 0 Motherwell. Uphill task for Motherwell yet again.
41mins:GOAL – Thompson makes it 2! Rose well at the back post and nods it across goal in off the other post.
38mins: GOAL: Thompson puts St Mirren 1 up.
…but Ramsden was there to block.
36mins: Bit of a let off again there! McLean does well to bring down a superb ball over the top. He drew Randolph wide and cut it back….
33mins: Ojamaa with another crack from range. Not far over though! Long range shooting the story of the game so far,
27mins: Ball falls to Humphrey on the edge of the box. Shoots over the bar though,
25mins: St Mirren with the pressure now. McLean and then Barron see their shots deflected just over.
23mins: Good spell of pressure here! First Ojamaa sees his shot blocked which was heading in then Murphy’s cross is nodded out for a corner.
19mins: St Mirren win a corner and from the delivery, Goodwin’s shot is cleared of the line. A let off!
16mins: Ojamaa shoots from range. High and wide. Not a great game so far.
11mins: St Mirren break and all Thompson has to do is roll the ball across goal to his teammate. Intercepted by Ramsden.
9mins: Humphrey wins the first corner of the game. Set-piece finds Law but his shot is blocked. Another corner to ‘Well.
8mins: Claims from the Saints fans as Randolph appears to handle right on the edge of the box, possibly outside. Waved away,
4mins: MacAusland ventures up front but his 25 yard effort is sky high.
3mins: First half-chance of the game. Teale delivers from out wide but Randolph collects with ease.
1min: St Mirren kick-off. Game on!
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I thought it was great entertainment and a terrific game. They took their chances, two terrific goals from Steven Thompson, a near-post finish and a back-post clinical header.
“I was disappointed to go in at half-time 2-0 down. It was an open game, we had opportunities and hit the woodwork, and failed to hit the target on other opportunities.
“The last 30 minutes was just a siege, they brought big Lee Mair on, brought David van Zanten on. I don’t think they could have brought any more defenders on.
“How we never got an equaliser I’ll never know. But I said to the boys, there are ways to lose games and I certainly want to go down fighting.
“We went right to the last minute, played some really good football and it just wasn’t our night.”
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:
“I must give Stuart McCall and his staff great credit for the way that they play. They are very, very open and very bold at times and they go for things.
“They leave themselves two v two at the back and the last 20 minutes they put us under severe pressure down the flanks with the fantastic pace that they have.
“That was something we had to consolidate. I thought we had a very good 60 minutes in terms of owning the ball and creating. The chances and work rate were exceptional.
“But also we showed a great resilience and a defensive mentality, that we won’t be broken, and we were delighted to get over the line.”
Motherwell travel west along the M74 to take on St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
St Mirren playmaker Paul McGowan is fit to face Motherwell after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Defender Lee Mair returns from a ban but striker Thomas Reilly is out for 10 weeks after fracturing his ankle.
Midfielder Stuart Carswell has picked up a knock last week and has failed to recover in time to play for Motherwell.
Defender Steven Saunders played for the Under-20s this week following his recovery from knee surgery but is not yet ready to be included in the squad.
Tickets are still available from the Away Ticket Office at St Mirren Park priced at:
UNDER 12: £5
There are no expected travel problems between Motherwell and Paisley but, where possible, fans should take Christmas shoppers into account and their impact on traffic routes when planning their journey.
It will be an overcast evening in Renfrewshire. Temperature highs in the Paisley area will be 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit).
FOLLOW THE MATCH:
Motherwell Media will bring you all the action from Tannadice. Graham Barnstaple and Alan Burrows will call every kick off the ball live on MFC TV.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall expects an extremely tough test against St Mirren on Friday but is hopeful the Steelmen can continue their excellent run of away form.
The Fir Parkers have won their last four away SPL matches but face a stiff test against a talented Buddies side.
Former Scotland International midfielder McCall is full of respect for Saints and their players but has laid down the challenge to his players to maintain their recent run as the SPL heads into the busy festive period.
[pullquote]We haven’t had the best of results on Friday nights but we’ll hopefully take a good support through and as long as the result it right, it sets up a good weekend.[/pullquote]
“I’m looking forward to it,” he told the gathered press at Motherwell’s weekly news conference.
“We haven’t had the best of results on Friday nights but we’ll hopefully take a good support through and as long as the result it right, it sets up a good weekend.
“We’ve had a couple of good games against St Mirren. They have good experienced players allied to players like McLean who has scored some smashing goals this season.
“I like the look of McGinn as well, I actually coached him as part of my Pro-license. Teale is very capable as is Thompson up front but I could go through a few who are all capable on their day.
“However, as always with us, we’re away and give great respect to the opposition but if our players play at their maximum we can go anywhere and win the game and will be aiming to do so in Paisley tomorrow.”
Extended Highlights from Fir Park as Motherwell Under 20s crash to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Dundee.
Scotland International cap Stevie Saunders made his long-awaited return to action tonight as Motherwell U20s lost to Dundee at Fir Park.
The former Queen’s Park product has spent the best part of the last eighteen months on the sidelines after first rupturing his Achilles before going under the knife again to tidy up a troublesome knee.
His introduction on the hour gave a young Steelmen side some much-needed composure and the defender even marked it with a neat goal in the dying seconds.
[pullquote]“I’ve been working hard at getting back and thirty, thirty-five minutes was a good outing for me.[/pullquote]
After the match he told MFC TV of his delight at making his return: “It’s good to be back after so long out.
“I’ve been working hard at getting back and thirty, thirty-five minutes was a good outing for me.
“I was pleased with the goal; I thought I’d take a chance and stay up and when it came to me I just slid it by the ‘keeper. It’s just a shame it was a consolation goal, especially after the boys performed a lot better in the second half.
“It would be nice for the boys to get a win and for me to come back but it wasn’t to be.”
Jonatan Johansson was again left frustrated as cheap goals cost his side dearly this evening.
The Fir Parkers fielded a young side with just one player over the age of 18 years old. The defense in particular was inexperienced with Danny McNulty and Ross Kellock starting their first match at Under 20s level.
Dundee could call on a little more experience with the likes of Brian Easton, Stephen O’Donnell, Lewis Toshney and Martin Boyle all having turned out for Barry Smith’s side in recent times.
And that showed in the opening stages as the visitors ran into a commanding 3-0 lead before the break.
Motherwell battled back and got to within a goal but were unable to get a third and a share of the spoils.
[pullquote]It’s a shame we were so naive in the first half but they are young players and still learning.[/pullquote]
Johansson told MFC TV: “We went with a very young back four in the first half and I think they learned a lot.
“Dundee had two sharp players up front and they gave us a beating in the first half. We were second best and the pace of their players took us by surprise. They’re used to playing u17s and this level is a different tempo.
“I’m pleased with the reaction and pleased with the second half and when you have the experience of Stevie Saunders back in the middle of defence, we looked a totally different team. It’s a shame we were so naive in the first half but they are young players and still learning.”
Steven Saunders marked his return to action with a goal but it wasn’t enough as a young Motherwell U20s side crashed to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Dundee.
The visitors raced into a three goal lead thanks to an opener from Martin Boyle and a double from Craig Wighton.
Adam Asghar reduced the arrears before the interval but the Steelmen couldn’t add any further goals until the closing seconds when sub Saunders neatly tucked the ball under Baird.
Johansson made a massive seven changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Falkirk at Airdrie last Wednesday.
Dom Green, Danny McNulty, Ross Kellock, Adam Asghar, Paul McCafferty, Omar Daley and Dale Shirkie came into the side in place of Fraser Kerr, Simon Ramsden, Zaine Francis-Angol, Stevie Hetherington, Craig Moore, Axel Bossekota and Bob McHugh.
And it was Dundee who made the best possible start when Boyle scored inside the opening 90 seconds. The former Montrose striker got on the end of a lovely slide-rule ball from Jamie Reid and kept his composure to slot under Ross Stewart and into the far corner.
‘Well tried to hit back when Daley’s great run and cross found Jack Leitch in the box but his goalbound looking shot was blocked by Lewis Toshney who had got across to cover well.
It was to prove pivotal as the Dark Blues doubled their advantage on the eleventh minute. Wighton collected 25-yards from goal and after a neat one-two with Boyle on the edge of the area, he had all the time and space he required to pick his spot in the corner as Dundee went two ahead.
At that stage the visitors were well on top and should have added to their advantage. Connor MacLeod blazed over from the edge after robbing Green and Danny Cavanagh crashed a shot off the crossbar as Gavin Burns’ side cut the home defence open at will.
‘Well then had Stewart to thank as he twice produced great blocks to keep the score respectable. His first was a one-on-one with Wighton and the second, a minute later, was a low Boyle shot again saved by the Motherwell number one.
The home side somehow managed to weather the storm without conceding and gradually got themselves back into the match. Asghar had a near post shot well saved by Baird before almost connecting with a fizzing Daley ball across the face of goal.
Johnstone also had his shot blocked after a neat McCafferty cut back and Green’s header from the resulting corner was straight at Baird as the Fir Parkers worked hard at getting back into the match.
However, their hard work would be undone as the Dens Park side grabbed a decisive third just eight minutes before the interval with a classic counter attack. Daley had his pocked picked on the left flank before the ball was quickly knocked forward to Boyle in the centre of the park. Driving forward and the home defence scampering back to cover, he rolled in his strike partner Wighton who got to the ball just ahead of Green to toe-poke past Stewart and into the net.
There was a danger of a Motherwell collapse but, to their credit, the young Steelmen side hit back almost straight away. A Jack Leitch free-kick flew towards the penalty spot allowing Asghar, who had made a great run across his marker, to flick it on and past Baird into the net.
It was a glimmer of hope the hosts required.
Incredibly, they should have reduced the deficit even further before the interval. A Green cross was almost turned into his own net by the recovering Easton but the former Hamilton defender’s blushes were spared by Baird who was well placed to block.
Asghar hit a close-range free-kick straight at the Dundee keeper and Leitch burst clear after a terrific Daley diagonal but with a large part of the goal to aim at, his shot lacked conviction and was easy for Baird to catch.
The second half didn’t produce the same amount of chances as the first but there was still enough opportunities for more goals.
Seconds after the restart, Boyle should have made the game safe for his side when he got on the end of a great cross from the left but his header dropped inches wide.
Up the other, Shirkie got on the end of a neat Daley reverse ball but his low shot was deflected just wide. The resulting kick from the quadrant was perfect for Morgyn Neill but the big defender could only head over.
Both teams traded half chances with Johnstone firing straight at Baird and Reid fizzing an effort at Stewart which the ‘Well keeper was well placed to save.
The highlight of the night was the return of Steven Saunders who has missed the last eighteen months with an Achilles injury then a tidy up operation on his knee. His introduction on the hour gave the Fir Parkers some much-needed composure in the back four.
Play raged on though and a low Asghar shot and a Dom Thomas header were both blocked by Baird as it remained 1-3.
‘Well were forced into another change when Dale Shirkie was forced off after colliding with the advertising board behind the goal. The big striker was treated for a significant time before leaving the ground in an ambulance. He was replaced by another returner, Steven Higgins, himself having missed the last five months due to injury.
Thankfully, Dale was later discharged from hospital with some bumps and bruises and is already on the mend.
With the game nearing its conclusion, McCafferty had a great chance to make the last five minutes interesting when he burst into the area but with just the keeper to beat, his shot lacked the desired power and it was easily gathered by Baird who hadn’t been properly tested all night.
Right on full time, substitute Saunders marked his return with an excellent goal. Dom Thomas was the creator, sliding the defender in on the left flank and his first time shot was slotted past Baird.
It was too little too late though as another disappointing night ended in defeat for Johansson’s young men.
Motherwell: Stewart, Green (Saunders – 58mins), Kellock (Thomas – 58mins), Neill, McNulty, Johnstone, McCafferty, Asghar, Shirkie (Higgins – 7mins), Daiey, Leitch
Subs Not Used: Currie
Goals: Asghar (39), Saunders (90)
Referee: Alan Newlands
A reminder for fans that the Under 20s match with Dundee, re-arranged from later this month, will go ahead at Fir Park tomorrow (Tuesday) night.
Both teams find themselves at the foot of the table however a win for the Steelmen could push them to within a point Ross County in thirteenth with a game still in hand.
10-man ‘Well won the last time the teams met at Dens Park back in September with Craig Moore and Stuart Carswell scoring the vital goals in a 2-1 win.
The match will take place at Fir Park with kick-off 7pm.
Adults and Concessions:
Season book holders or Well Society membership: £2
Season book holders or Well Society membership: £1
If you cannot make the game, MFC TV will have full live commentary from Fir Park. A full match report, pictures, reaction and highlights will also be available on the official site after the match.
Extended highlights from Easter Road as Motherwell sensationally came from behind to win 3-2 with a later Bob McHugh winner.