Highlights from the Excelsior Stadium as a late Dale Shirkie goal gave Motherwell all three points against Ross County.
TV Highlights from Excelsior StadiumThursday 09 May 2013
TV: Johansson praises his sideThursday 09 May 2013
Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson praised his players after the U20s 1-0 win over Ross County.
The youngsters have taken fourteen points from the last six matches, the best run of the campaign. Putting it in context, it took eighteen league matches to achieve that total in the first part of the campaign.
They signed off the league campaign with a 1-0 win over the Staggies thanks to a last-minute Dale Shirkie.
And the former Finnish International paid tribute to the way his team have really picked up in the closing stages of the campaign.
[pullquote]This season we’ve learned a lot together and are a better team now. All credit to the players for their attitude and work everyday in training.[/pullquote]
He said: “It was an excellent day and everyone played above their level. It was a real team effort and to get the winner so late on made it perfect.
“We played some excellent football and created four or five really good chances to score. They started coming into the game and made it end to end.
“Dale [Shirkie] came on near the end and showed a great attitude after being disappointed not to start and ended up scoring the winner.
“This season we’ve learned a lot together and are a better team now. All credit to the players for their attitude and work everyday in training.”
Motherwell U20s 1 – 0 Ross County U20sThursday 09 May 2013
A last-minute winner from substitute Dale Shirkie gave ‘Well all three points against Ross County in the final U20s match of the season.
The Steelmen had created numerous chances throughout the ninety minutes, including having the ball in the net on three separate occasions only to be thwarted by the assistant’s flag.
And just when it seemed Jonatan Johansson’s men would have to settle for a share of the spoils, Shirkie got on the end of a lovely Lee Erwin pass before slotting under Sean McCarthy.
It means the youths finish the season six games unbeaten, taking fourteen points from the last eighteen available.
Johansson made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Falkirk on Tuesday night. Stewart, Saunders, McNulty and Shirkie dropped out, replaced by Hollis, Ferguson, Cadden and Higgins.
Motherwell thought they had made the best possible start when Steven Higgins put the ball past McCarthy in the visitors goal. Chris Cadden and Dom Thomas combined to set-up the Scotland youth forward but the assistant’s flag was up and it wouldn’t count.
‘Well continued to create and a couple of Morgyn Neill headers, a scuffed Higgins shot and a bullet Euan Murray header all didn’t provide the opening goal.
It took County until the 13th minute to really make Lee Hollis work, a stinging Ryan Ross effort from just outside the box forcing the ‘Well stopper tip over.
That strike did little to alter the flow of the match, which was predominately towards the Highlanders’ goal.
Thomas forced McCarthy into two decent saves, the first was a shot from just outside the box after a long Hollis kick-out, the other created by a barnstorming run from young Cadden, was turned round at the expense of a corner.
The half continued in the same manner. Lee Erwin forced McCarthy into a decent block at his near post after a neat one-two with McCafferty. Then, shortly after, a Jack Leitch free kick from the touchline fell kindly for Higgins inside the box but he could only fire over from close range.
As the game got closer to the interval, Motherwell chances continued to come and go. Erwin fired over after a tantalising McCafferty cross from the left. The little winger then had a pop of his own shortly after, his strike from the left side of the penalty spot forced McCarthy into a smart, one-handed save. The rebound fell for Cadden inside the area but his shot hit the side netting.
After being out of things for the majority of the half, the Staggies could and perhaps should have got their noses in front just before the half-time interval. Ross McKillop headed a corner inches wide of the post before skipper Steven Ross sent a fizzing strike just off target.
Seconds before the whistle, County had a penalty claim turned down when Gary Glen fired a stinging shot into a ruck of players. Whilst the ball may well have hit an arm, it would have been difficult for any of them to get out the way of the ball given how close they were to the former Hearts man.
The second half started in the same vein as the majority of the first, with Motherwell creating chances.
Frazer Johnstone sent a beauty of a half volley just wide of target sixty seconds in. A minute later, Jack Leitch had the ball in the net again but yet another goal was ruled out, the referee having blown for a foul by Cadden on Hutchinson in the build-up.
Johansson’s side continued to push and a County survived a couple of fizzing balls across the face of goal.
Both teams made a number of substitutions that certainly slowed down the tempo of the match. indeed, it was ten minutes to go before either side were to create again.
Ryan Ross brought out a good save from Hollis low to his left hand side. Down the other end, Erwin forced McCarthy into another decent block with a strike from twenty yards.
With two minutes left to play, Motherwell thought they had grabbed the winner but for third time in the match, the officials would rule it out; Lee Erwin the unlucky players this time.
However, substitute Dale Shirkie would have the final say. Lee Erwin slid him clear of the last defender and the youngster showed terrific composure to blast it through the legs of McCarthy for all three points.
Motherwell: Hollis, Ferguson, Neill, Murray, Johnstone (McCall – 75mins), Cadden, McCafferty, Erwin, Higgins (Anderson – 66mins), Leitch, Thomas (Shirkie – 75mins)
Subs Not Used: Stewart
Thomson takes charge on SundayThursday 09 May 2013
Referee for Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Ross County at Fir Park will be Craig Thomson.
40-year old Thomson will be handling his third Motherwell game of the current season.
His first was the 4-1 demolition of Aberdeen back in December when goals from Tom Hateley, Michael Higdon and a Jamie Murphy swept Craig Brown’s side away.
His other was the 2-1 win at Tynecastle when two early goals from Michael Higdon and a Dylan McGowan own-goal was enough to see off the Jambos.
Craig will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having been a top-flight official for a decade.
His record in charge of the Steelmen is a bit of a mix bag with eleven wins from 35 matches. There have been sixteen defeats and eight draws too.
Not included in that list was the 2007/08 Scottish Cup fourth round replay win against Hearts at Fir Park, when he replaced the injured Stuart Dougal midway through the second-half.
In those games, Motherwell have scored 47 and conceded 49.
125 players have gone into the book, 62 were wearing claret and amber, while five players, including former and current captains Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley, have been dismissed.
Thomson will be ably assisted by Derek Rose and Graham Alan Mulvanny with Greg Aitken on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is George Clyde and SPL Delegate is John Connelly.
TV: Highlights from the Falkirk StadiumTuesday 07 May 2013
Highlights from the Falkirk Stadium as Lee Erwin’s second-half strike earned Motherwell U20s a 1-1 draw with Falkirk.
TV: Johansson pleased with responseTuesday 07 May 2013
Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson was pleased with his side’s second-half showing as ‘Well came from behind to earn a draw with Falkirk.
The young Steelmen were poor in the first forty-five and Falkirk were rightly in front. In fact, Biabi Botti’s “offside” goal should have counted but ‘Well were saved by an erroneous flag from the referee’s assistant.
The second half was far more encouraging and Erwin’s equaliser was followed by a number of chances to get ahead.
In the end, both teams were forced to accept a share of the spoils in a game high in effort and endeavor but a little low on quality.
[pullquote]The second half was better. We kept the ball better and controlled the game although they probably had the better chances.[/pullquote]
“It’s was a scrappy game and, at times, not very pretty but the pitch didn’t help with that,” Johansson told MFC TV after the match.
“I thought we were poor in the first-half. We weren’t as sharp as we have been [in recent matches] and they won more second balls. They were stronger than us in many ways and deserved their 1-0 lead at the break.
“The second half was better. We kept the ball better and controlled the game although they probably had the better chances. It’s pleasing to have the point coming from behind but I’m not 100% happy.”
Falkirk U20s 1 – 1 Motherwell U20sTuesday 07 May 2013
Graham Barnstaple at the Falkirk Stadium
Motherwell Under 20s came from behind to earn a point against Falkirk this evening.
The young Steelmen were a goal down after sixteen minutes when Michael Martin slotted home from just inside the area.
However, nine minutes into the second half, Lee Erwin pounced after Danny McNulty’s deep cross had bounced back off the right-hand upright.
Both teams had chances to win it but it remained all-square, meaning Jonatan Johansson’s men are now five unbeaten in the league.
‘Well made four changes from the side who beat Kilmarnock in their last match. Lee Hollis, Zaine Francis-Angol, Fraser Kerr and Bob McHugh all dropped out and were replaced by Ross Stewart, Danny McNulty, Morgyn Neill and Dale Shirkie.
Motherwell started the better of the two sides, with Lee Erwin and Dom Thomas firing shots over from distance in the opening 15 minutes.
As so often happens, Falkirk scored with their first attack. Michael Martin brilliantly controlled a neat diagonal cross into the box. His first touch took him away from Euan Murray, his second saw him slide the ball past Ross Stewart from 12 yards out.
The home side were forced into a double substitution with Ryan McGeever and Conor Hogg both limping off and being replaced by Tyler Fulton and Ryan Blair.
Just after the half hour mark Falkirk had the ball in the net but a tight offside call denied Biabi Botti the goal. Replays show the brilliantly named Falkirk forward was actually onside.
Motherwell’s first shot on target came on 35 minutes, Dom Thomas shrugged off a couple of defenders but his shot from 20 yards was comfortable for the Bairns keeper Graham Bowman
In the final five minutes before half time, Falkirk could’ve added a couple of more goals but Blair’s flick across goal slide wide of the far post and then Botti’s header went into the ground before bouncing harmlessly into the arms of Stewart.
Motherwell made the best possible start to the second half when Lee Erwin equalised after only eight minutes. Danny McNulty’s cross to the far post deceived keeper Bowman and when the ball rebounded off the post Erwin was on hand to tap in.
It inspired the young ‘Well side and Frazer Johnstone was only denied a second by a fine save by Bowman low to his left. Minutes later, Dom Thomas cross was headed inches wide by Erwin as Johansson’s men went through the gears.
Falkirk weren’t out of it though and Botti should’ve done better than head wide when he was left unmarked in the box. Play then switched to the other end again Erwin was once again denied by Bowman who saved with his legs when the striker was clean through.
With 15 minutes left the Motherwell goal led a charmed life; Stewart did well to save from Stewart and when it looked as though Faulds was about to tap the rebound into the empty net, a sliding Neill somehow got a touch in it to send the ball over the bar.
In stoppage time both sides had a chance to win it but Neill could only head over for ‘Well and, at the other end, sub Blair shinned the ball wide at the far post.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils. Motherwell finish their season with a ‘home’ match against Ross County at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium this Thursday afternoon.
Motherwell: Stewart, McNulty (Ferguson – 80mins) Murray, Saunders, Neill, Johnstone, McCafferty, Erwin, Shirkie (Higgins – 63mins), Leitch, Thomas (Cadden – 88mins)
Subs not used: Currie, Anderson, McCall
Higdon wins PFA Player of the YearMonday 06 May 2013
Michael Higdon has won the PFA Scotland Player of the Year for season 2012/13.
Higdon, 29, becomes the first ever player from Motherwell FC to win the award in its 37-year history.
The former Crewe striker has scored 27 goals this term, surpassing Wullie Pettigrew’s post war top league goal scoring record for the club.
Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths was named Young Player of the Year as he made up for losing out to Higdon in the top award.
And Queen of South’s Allan Johnston pipped Stuart McCall to the award for Manager of the Year, having led his side to Second Division and Ramsden’s Cup success.
Everyone at Motherwell Football Club would like to congratulate Michael on his award, along with Darren Randolph, Shaun Hutchinson and Nicky Law who were all named in the SPL Team of the Year.
TV: Highlights from InvernessSaturday 04 May 2013
Highlights from the Caledonian Stadium where Motherwell’s comeback from 3-0 down wasn’t enough as Billy McKay sneaked a late winner.
Inverness defeat in picturesSaturday 04 May 2013
Pictures from the 4-3 defeat by Inverness CT in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at the Caledonian Stadium.