Motherwell Under 20s came from behind to beat Inverness 2-1 in the Highlands this afternoon.
Nick Ross had put the Caley Jags ahead, but their lead lasted less than a minute when Bob McHugh robbed the home defence and tucked it home.
Then, with just ten minutes left on the clock, Stuart Carswell fired in a thirty-yard stunner high into the top corner to secure an impressive three points.
Jonatan Johnasson made six changes to the side that lost 4-0 to Aberdeen last midweek. Out went Lee Hollis, Fraser Kerr, Zaine Francis-Angol, Adam Cummins, Lee Erwin and Kallum Higginbotham.
Ross Stewart, David Ferguson, Morgyn Neill, Chris Cadden, Dale Shirkie and Dom Thomas replaced them.
Both teams traded chances in what was a fairly even first-half but it was Motherwell, through Bob McHugh, who would create the game’s first opportunity.
A neat ball over the top of the Caley defence had the striker in a foot race. His shot from just outside the box was well held by home keeper Scott Mathieson.
The home side replied quickly and would have went ahead but for a terrific goal-line block by Steven Saunders. Ross found some space on the left channel and, after getting a break off the outrushing Stewart, his cutback was perfect for Ryan Christie but Saunders was perfectly placed to hook it clear from just under the crossbar.
Paul McCafferty will feel he might have hit the target after good work on the left flank by Shirkie set him up but the little winger’s shot went a yard or so wide of the post.
Play was swinging back and fourth and Stewart did well to block a Sutherland shot with an outstretched foot before Mathieson was at full stretch to turn away a McHugh turn and shot from twelve yards out.
The home keeper was in top form shortly after when he turned away a fierce McCafferty effort at the expense of a corner.
Not to be outdone, Stewart produced an excellent stop of his own to deny Sutherland for the second time in the match. The big striker worked space for himself and his low shot was heading for the far corner but for the outstretched hand of ‘Well’s 18-year old stopper.
Into the second half and Stewart started where he left off, making another brilliant block to deny the hosts. Sutherland and Liam Polworth combined and the latter found himself in space inside the box. The ‘Well keeper was quick off his line though and made the block as the game remained at stalemate.
The stubborn Steelmen rearguard were eventually breached when Nick Ross raced between Saunders and Neill to get on the end of a Khutsishvilli throughball. He kept his composure to fire beyond Stewart and into the far corner.
Inverness’ lead lasted about a minute before Johansson’s side hit back. Inverness were slack at the back and when Andrew Skinner was caught in possession, Bob McHugh nipped, held off Stephen McKenzie before nutmegging Mathieson for the equaliser.
That goal gave Motherwell confidence and Leitch almost put ‘Well in front with a decent volley inside the area which sailed over.
However, it would be a stunning strike that would eventually give Motherwell their second and, ultimately, the three points.
Bob McHugh’s free-kick on edge of the area cannoned off the wall and ended back at his feet. He squared it left to waiting Stuart Carswell who took a touch to set himself before rifling an unstoppable strike high into the top right hand corner.
It was the last real chance of an entertaining game. After a recent difficult run, the Fir Parkers will be more than delighted with a win that sets them up for next week’s home match with Hearts at Fir Park.
Motherwell: Stewart, Ferguson, Leitch, Saunders, Neill, Carswell, McCafferty, Caddens, McHugh, Shirkie (79mins), Thomas
Subs Not Used: Currie, Watt, Anderson