Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park
Motherwell Under 20s continued their recent good run with a 4-2 victory over Kilmarnock at Fir Park.
The Steelmen roared into a three-goal lead, Paul McCaffery’s solo goal sandwiched in between a Bob McHugh double.
‘Well looked comfortable but Robbie Muirhead’s deflected goal gave the visitors hope.
Then, with just a minute left on the clock, Muirhead pulled another back making for a nervous ending.
But, with virtually the last kick of the ball, substitute Steven Higgins fired home from close range
The Fir Parkers were looking to build on their recent good run and Jonatan Johansson made just one change from the side that smashed four past St Johnstone. Adam Cummins dropped out and was replaced by the returning Euan Murray.
Both sides had chances in the opening five minutes, with Lee Hollis saving at close range from Rory McKenzie after a strong run down the right by the Killie man.
At the other end, Dom Thomas played in a cross for Lee Erwin but the big striker’s effort was hit straight at keeper Devlin MacKay.
The game then went to sleep for the next thirty minutes with neither side creating anything at all of note.
It eventually sparked back to life when ‘Well passed up a few half chances, McHugh shooting off target and Erwin firing just wide from a tight angle.
Then, with twelve minutes left to the break, Johansson’s men took the lead.
McHugh played a neat one-two with Erwin on the edge of the area, collecting the return on the byline. The striker cut back, beat two markers before firing in off the leg of Caoimhin Bonnar.
Two minutes before the break, the hosts doubled their lead thanks to a fine solo effort from Paul McCafferty. The winger collected the ball wide on the right, skipped past a couple of defenders before wrong-footing keeper MacKay from 15 yards out.
Motherwell made it three on the hour mark; Frazer Johnstone robbed Craig Slater on the edge of the box. The midfielder took his time and looked up before squaring to McHugh for a simple tap in from 12 yards out – his seventeenth goal of the campaign for the Under 20s.
Killie pulled one back with just over 15 minutes left, Robbie Muirhead cut in from the left flank and his low shot from a narrow angle took a wicked deflection off substitute Morgyn Neill to beat the stranded Lee Hollis.
Five minutes later Lee Erwin almost restored the three goal lead but his shot from the edge of the box skimmed the top of the cross bar with keeper MacKay well beaten.
In the dying minutes Hollis was called into action once again as he tipped a Greg Kiltie header over the bar. From the resultant corner Hollis pulled off a fine save from Kiltie again but the rebound fell kindly for Muirhead who tapped in from close range.
The win was sealed in stoppage time when ‘Well added a fourth; Thomas won the ball on the left edge of the box and his cross was stabbed home by Higgins to make it four unbeaten for the under 20s.
The youths finish the season with two matches next week, Falkirk away on Tuesday before closing the season against Ross County at the Excelsior Stadium on Thursday.
Motherwell: Hollis, Kerr, Francis-Angol (Higgins – 80), Murray (Neill – 59), Saunders, Johnstone, McCafferty, Erwin (Shirkie – 80), McHugh, Leitch, Thomas
Sub not used: Stewart