A Bob McHugh hat-trick helped Motherwell U20s pick up all three points in a super 4-1 win against Hibs at Newtongrange.
The hosts took the lead on the thirteenth minute but a treble from the in-form McHugh and a late Josh Watt goal secured just the fourth victory of the campaign.
Jonatan Johansson made eight changes from the side that played well but lost against Celtic in Glasgow three weeks ago.
Out went Stewart, Kerr, Cummins, Hetherington, Carswell, Daley, Higginbotham and Moore and were replaced by Hollis, Devlin, Murray, Ashgar, Leitch, McCafferty, Shirkie and McHugh.
Indeed, only Saunders, Francis-Angol and Watt kept their place for the match, which would be played on a very heavy, bobbly pitch at Newtongrange.
It was a fairly even opening to the match with both teams struggling to get any rhythm.
It was the hosts who posted the first opportunity of the match on twelve minutes; Dean Horribine’s low shot deflected just wide of the post. The midfielder was to prove vital a minute later though as it was his forward pass that paved the way for the opening goal.
Euan Murray’s attempted clearance cannoned off Ross Caldwell, allowing the striker a free run at Hollis. The Bellshill-born 19-year old kept his composure to stroke it beyond the outrushing ‘Well keeper and into the net.
‘Well had to weather a bit of a storm and Pa Kujabi almost doubled the advantage on the 20th minute. However, the Gambian was thwarted by the first of many excellent Lee Hollis saves at the expense of a corner.
As the first-half wore on Motherwell were growing into things, and McCafferty signaled intentions with a bouncing shot from the edge that forced a smart save from Sean Murdoch.
With ten minutes left until the interval, Asghar must have though he had brought his side level with a curling shot from the edge that landed just the wrong side of the post, courtesy of a slight deflection off a Hibs defender.
Motherwell would draw level from the resulting corner.
A well-worked move came to an end with a lovely reverse ball into the left channel by Watt had McHugh. Opening up his body, he coolly tucked it past Murdoch and into the net.
Hibs had an incredible opportunity to get themselves back ahead just two minutes later, but Caldwell, normally ruthless, missed a glorious opportunity. Kujabi got himself to the touchline and his square ball across the face found the young striker but instead of grabbing his brace; he blazed it over when a goal seemed certain.
It was the last real chance of the first-forty five, but it was the Steelmen, through Scotland cap Steven Saunders, who posted the first chance of the second. An out-swinging corner from Josh Watt landed at the feet of the former Queen’s Park man, but his half volley flew high over the bar.
After that early scare, Hibs began to exert their authority. Forster close-range headed flew over the bar from close range, Jack Leitch hooked another header off the line and Kujabi fired wide of target after finding himself with acres of time and space inside the area.
The game changed with the introduction of Lee Erwin, the striker making his return after six-months on the sidelines.
The Scotland Youth International showed a hunger and desire to pull Motherwell up the park, and he was to play an influential part in the Steelmen taking all three points.
His first piece of action shortly after coming on was to almost set-up strike-partner. A lovely mazy run, leaving three in his path, eventually spun to McHugh, but the shot was fizzed wide.
Kujabi had a driving run of his own shortly after but he lacked composure and fired a shot over the bar from the edge when he should have worked the ‘keeper.
At this stage, it was all Hibs and Hollis was again in top form to deny Gold’s near post flick after Kujabi’s whipped cross towards the near post.
It was to prove a vital block from the former Airdrie man as the Steelmen went ahead somewhat against the run of play. A corner eventually worked its way out to Watt on the right. His deep, hanging cross found Saunders who prodded it down for McHugh to smash home from a few yards out.
Feeling a little aggrieved, Hibs went in search of an equaliser but found Hollis again in super form.
In fact, it was Motherwell who sensationally added a third and fourth. McHugh completed his hat-trick, collecting a fantastic Erwin pass to slot beyond Murdoch before a Josh Watt cross-cum-shot in the dying seconds looped over the keeper and in to add an exclamation point to the win.
In truth, the scoreline flattered the young Steelmen side, but with a season full of bad luck, Johansson will have been delighted to see his fortunes changes. The win lifts ‘Well above Ross County and into thirteenth in the SPL Under 20s table.
Motherwell: Hollis, Devlin, Francis-Angol, Saunders, Murray, Asghar, McCafferty, Leitch (Johnstone 87mins), McHugh, Shirkie (Erwin 62), Watt
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Green, Thomas, Higgins
Goals: McHugh (35, 80, 85), Watt (89)
Booked: Watt, Devlin