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    Skipper backs ‘Well Society survey

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    TV: Highlights from Almondvale

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    TV: JJ frustrated at first-half showing

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    Hibernian U20s 2 – 1 Motherwell U20s

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    Under 20s take on Hibs tonight

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    Francis-Angol: Life in the fast lane

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    Get ‘FFIT’ with Motherwell FC

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    TV: Highlights from Creamery Park

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    TV: It’s déjà vu for Johansson

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    Motherwell U20s 1 – 2 Ross County U20s

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    Skipper backs ‘Well Society survey

    Skipper Keith Lasley believes the Well Society can further cultivate the togetherness that has helped the team to recent success.

    Lasley is a member of the ‘Well Society and has filled in the 60-second online survey that was launched to help Motherwell fans to “Have Your Say” in the future of the club.

    There is a separate survey for members and non-members as the Well Society looks to boost recruitment and make further progress on the way to securing the long-term financial security of the club and community ownership.

    And Lasley is convinced the fan ownership model can help the team consolidate their consecutive top-three finishes.

    The midfielder said: “We are all in together. We are trying to help the fans by entertaining them, the fans are trying to help us by giving us that extra yard.

    “The Well Society adds another layer. You really are in it together because you have a part of the club and a share in the company. That can only help bring everyone together.

    “Motherwell have done really well in recent years and I think one of the big plus points for the club as a whole is how close knit it is between the players and the fans and the people from the boardroom all the way down.

    “New players who come to the club find it easy to settle in because there is a real good feeling within the club.

    “The Well Society can bring everybody together and that can only be a good thing for the team.”

    Fill in the survey by clicking one of the appropriate links below:

    Members: CLICK HERE

    Non-members: CLICK HERE

    Get Involved – 5 a side tournament.

    The Well Society are also delighted to announce the first ever Annual Five a Side tournament with the Well Society Trophy at Stake.

    When: Saturday 12th October, 1:30pm-4:30pm

    Where: Fir Park Astro Turf

    Conditions: 5 a side, maximum 7 players per team (5 players + 2 subs)
    Entry £50 per team.
    Participants must be 16 years & over.

    The competition is open to Non-members as well as Members

    What’s at stake: The Well Society Trophy + £150 cash for winning team.

    Tournament Structure: The tournament is restricted to 16 teams participating & they will be split into 4 groups of 4. The top 2 teams from each group will then go through to the knockout phase / quarter final.

    Register your team by sending the details to wellsociety@motherwellfc.co.uk

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    TV: Highlights from Almondvale

    Highlights from Almondvale as Motherwell U20s late comeback was not enough to stop them losing 2-1 to Hibernian.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: JJ frustrated at first-half showing

    Jonatan Johansson bemoaned a poor first-half as ‘Well Under 20s lost for the fourth successive match.

    The Steelmen were completely out of sorts in the first forty-five and found themselves 2-0 down at the interval.

    A late charge, brought about after a super Steven Higgins goal, almost yielded a leveler but Hibs held on for all three points.

    Former Charlton striker Johansson was left to count the cost of his side’s slow start but did praise his side’s determination.

    “It’s an old cliché but it was a game of two halves,” he told MFC TV after the match.

    [pullquote]The first half was really, really poor. You can’t play football without confidence, without wanting the ball, helping each other out and wanting to run.[/pullquote]

    “The first half was really, really poor. You can’t play football without confidence, without wanting the ball, helping each other out and wanting to run.

    “It’s just basic, basic stuff and we just didn’t show up.

    “However, in the second half, I was quite happy. We played against a good side away from home and really applied ourselves.

    “We were brave and created some chances, especially in the last 15-20 minutes where we pushed them back and could have equalised.

    “I have to be happy with the second half, although it is frustrating that in the first half we never showed up and looked like we were scared and feeling sorry for ourselves.”

    -WATCH THE INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Hibernian U20s 2 – 1 Motherwell U20s

    Despite a late charge, Motherwell Under 20s went down 2-1 to Hibernian at Almondvale this evening.

    The hosts completely dominated the first-half and were well worthy of their 2-0 lead, thanks to goals from Cody Mulhall and Jason Cummings.

    The Steelmen rarely threatned until a moment of brilliance from Steven Higgins got the Fir Parkers back in it with fifteen minutes left on the clock.

    ‘Well threw everything at it in search of leveler but it wouldn’t come, leaving Jonatan Johansson to pick the bones out of a fourth successive defeat.

    The Finn opted to mix it up again after the Ross County defeat last Tuesday. Currie, McNulty, Cummins, Ainsworth, McHugh and Thomas all dropped out, replaced by Stewart, Kellock, Hall, Johnstone, Higgins and Cadden.

    It was a quiet opening and it took the home side almost ten minutes to pierce through the Steelmen rearguard. Euan Smith and Ross Caldwell teamed up down the right but the striker’s shot would fizz just wide of the post.

    However, it was merely a warning shot across the bow as, with their next meaningful attack, Hibs scored the games’ opening goal.

    Smith was again involved, finding space on the right wing before sending a teasing cross into the middle. It skidded thought to Mulhall who took a touch before slotting it past the despairing Stewart.

    It could have gone from bad to worse just minutes later when Mulhall turned provider for Cummings but his snapshot hit the outside of the post and wide for a goal kick.

    Hibs were well in control, dominating possession and forcing Motherwell to knock it long for the helpless Higgins, who wasn’t able to feed off scraps from his more experienced opponents James McPake and Alan Maybury.

    The hosts passed up further chances when Smith dragged a shot wide of the post after a poor clearance and Mulhall fired over after a terrific ball across the face of goal.

    Hibs did eventually grab a second goal two minutes before the interval, although there was a slice of good fortune attached to it.

    Cummings collected on the right before cutting inside to take the shot on. It flicked off the unlucky Ross Kellock to take it past the helpless Ross Stewart and into the net.

    Jack Leitch had Motherwell’s first effort on goal with what was virtually the last kick of the half, but dragged it inches wide of the post.

    It brought to an end a terrible first forty-five for the Claret and Amber men.

    They did, however, start the second half on the front foot and almost got back into things when David Ferguson got on the end of a Leitch corner but couldn’t get anything behind his close-range shot and the chance was gone.

    Hibs had one or two half chances to kill the game; Cummings knocked it wide after bursting clear of the ‘Well defence and Caldwell blazed over from the edge of the area.

    As the game approached the last quarter, Motherwell pulled one back in spectacular circumstances via Steven Higgins.

    The little striker, who has had to be patient in recent weeks, got on the end of a Ferguson pass. He took an exquisite first touch and, with his back to goal, sent a deft lob over the scrambling Horne and into the net.

    It transformed Johansson’s men. For 75 minutes they hadn’t mustered anything in the way of an attacking threat, but would dominate for the closing stages.

    Ferguson sent a curling shot straight into the arms of Horne, Moore flashed a free kick over the bar before sending a shot agonisingly wide of the far post after outpacing McPake on the edge of the area.

    In the end, if was too little, too late as the home side held out for a deserved victory. Motherwell will now look to try and get their season back on track against St Mirren next Tuesday.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Ferguson, Kellock (Shirkie – 67mins), Hall, Neill, Leitch, McCafferty, Johnstone (Thomas – 53mins), Moore, Higgins, Cadden

    Subs Not Used: Long, McCall, Anderson, Mackin

  • Archive

    Under 20s take on Hibs tonight

    Motherwell U20s return to action tonight (Monday) when they face Hibernian at Livingston’s Energy Assets Arena (Almondvale).

    Jonatan Johansson’s men will aim to halt a run of three straight defeats in the league.

    The latest, a 2-1 reverse at home to Ross County, leaves the Steelmen stuck on 14th place.

    However, a win and favourable results elsewhere could propel the youngsters up to as high as joint fifth.

    The match will kick-off at 7pm.

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    Francis-Angol: Life in the fast lane

    Zaine Francis-Angol is relishing his new attacking role at Motherwell – especially with the backing of the manager, teammates and fans.

    With the likes of Jamie Murphy, Omar Daley and Chris Humphrey departing in recent months, the natural left-back has been thrust forward into a wide midfield role.

    Manager Stuart McCall has been encouraging the 20-year-old to use his pace to get forward and he has been receiving priceless tips from Scotland international James McFadden.

    And Francis-Angol admits the Motherwell supporters have given him a further lift as he gets used to his new position.

    Francis-Angol, who set up John Sutton’s winger in the 1-0 win over Partick Thistle, said: “It’s a good position because I like the attacking side of the game as well. It’s good to be able to get forward and still do a defensive role when the right-backs push forward.

    “I’m enjoying it. I played left back my entire career. I played a few games at youth team on left wing and came on a few times last season to hold the defensive shape.

    “Now I have this attacking role. I hope I can offer pace down the wing and a few deliveries into the box.

    “The manager encourages us to be positive and try to make things happen and create.

    “Because it’s a new role, the more games I will get, the more experience I will gain and the better I will get, and that will hopefully show.

    “Last season I got a taste of the first team by making a few appearances off the bench and it made me even more hungry to start games.

    “This season has been even better so far starting a few games. I worked hard through pre-season and thankfully got a start in both the European games.”

    McFadden has been playing on the right flank or in a more central position this season but has passed on his wealth of experience as a left-winger.

    Francis-Angol, who has made 32 first-team appearances, said: “He is always giving advice, so it’s good to have an experienced player on the opposite wing and in the dressing room. He tells me to keep moving, pass and move, get in behind, when to make the runs.

    There are bits of information that I need to push into that position.”

    Francis-Angol’s direct running made him a favourite with the fans as soon as he made his first-team breakthrough last season. And he appreciates the catchy song they styled to match his name.

    “I don’t know who made it up but it’s a great song! It definitely gives you a boost when you hear the song, especially when you are on the pitch and have maybe made a mistake.

    “Any noise they make gives you a boost, the sound of the crowd and the aura of the stadium.”

    Francis-Angol arrived at Fir Park in the summer of 2011 to continue his football education after leaving Tottenham, where he had been since he was a nine-year-old.

    He said: “The highlight was probably training with Beckham when he came in. It was a crossing session, he was teaching me how to use my right foot. I think I trained with Bale once or twice, but it was hard to come by a first-team session at Spurs.”

    With Tottenham being among the biggest spenders in world football, it is naturally difficult for youngsters to break through there – indeed more of Francis-Angol’s ex-Spurs colleagues are now in Scotland than at White Hart Lane.

    “Tom Carroll is in and around the first team at Spurs and Harry Kane,” he said. “He is a striker, a great finisher.

    “But there are a lot of players from my age group at Spurs who are up in Scotland now. Calum Butcher and Kudus Oyenuga joined Dundee United in the summer. My mate Olumide (Durojaiye) is at Falkirk, Callum Tapping at Hearts.

    “Quite a few of the ex-Spurs lads are up here – basically half my youth team. I have played against Callum a couple of times at youth level but not at first-team level yet, so that will be fun.”

    Francis-Angol’s football experience also includes the international scene having won four caps with Antigua and Barbuda. Zaine was born in London but qualifies for his country through his Antiguan-born mother.

    And his pride in representing the Caribbean country is coupled with his desire to improve his game by testing himself on a different stage.

    “We are basically out of the (World Cup) qualifiers now so there are no games coming up. There might be a few friendlies soon.

    “The last time I played was last year about Christmas time. I have played against USA, Guatemala and Jamiaca. Omar and Chris weren’t there; thankfully I wasn’t playing left-back against Chris!

    “It’s really good, a different experience and mentality. Going away and playing against players from different continents is good experience. It’s a slightly different sort of football, more slow-paced and waiting for an opportunity.

    “Heat contributes to that, you can’t keep going at 100 percent all the time, you have got to take it easy and keep possession a bit more. Whereas it’s too cold to stand still here so you have to constantly attack!

    “I will always be there to help out and better myself through the games. We used to go to Antigua on family holidays when I was young. I still got some cousins and aunties there, who are very proud of me playing. My uncle and auntie came to watch some of my games.”

    This interview first appeared in the Kilmarnock ‘Steelmen Matchday Magazine’. You can order back copies or season subscriptions from our publishers, Curtis Sports.

    Words: Gavin McCafferty
    Photography: Jeff Holmes

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    Get ‘FFIT’ with Motherwell FC

    Motherwell FC are now recruiting for Football Fans in Training funded by The Scottish Government in partnership with The SPFL Trust.

    FFIT is a 12-week course aimed at tackling men’s health problems across all the SPFL Premiership Clubs.

    Each session combines dietary and healthy living advice through informative and interactive classroom sessions as well as taking part in planned and progressive physical activity at Motherwell FC.

    The programme will begin on Tuesday the 17th of September from 6pm to 730pm and will take place in the Davie Cooper Suite.

    This is a great opportunity to get involved with your Football Club and help yourself live a healthier life. The programme is open to men aged between 35-65 who fit any of these criteria:

    • BMI of 28+
    • Belly 40 inches +
    • Trouser waist size of 38 inches +

    If you meet any of the above criteria and are keen to get involved in this excellent project please register your interest by contacting graeme.mcarthur@motherwellfc.co.uk or call the Community Trust on (01698) 239926.

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    TV: Highlights from Creamery Park

    Highlights from Creamery Park as Ross County come from behind to sink Motherwell Under 20s 2-1.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: It’s déjà vu for Johansson

    Jonatan Johansson cut a frustrated figure as the same old mistakes returned to haunt his Motherwell U20s side.

    The Steelmen scored early on through Craig Moore but were pinned back by Tony Dingwall’s leveller before Gary Glen scored the winner for Ross County.

    Whilst the Staggies can be pleased with the quality of both goals, ‘Well were once again left to count the cost of slack defending.

    In truth, County had another two decent chances after their second to make the scoreline more convincing whereas Sean McCarthy in the visitors goal was rarely troubled.

    [pullquote]I’m an ex player and know what it is like. You don’t think too far into the future then, all of a sudden, it is December and players need to start getting their game together.[/pullquote]

    And the Finn fired a warning shot to his players who are playing for the football futures.

    “The disappointing thing for me is for the last three games we could do this interview and repeat it three times and that is what is so frustrating.

    “It’s all very well saying it’s about learning but there is only so many chance you get to prove that you have learned. The mistakes we talked about for the last two games keep happening all I time.

    “I’m an ex player and know what it is like. You don’t think too far into the future then, all of a sudden, it is December and players need to start getting their game together.

    “I felt like we were comfortable in the opening stages however they changed a little bit and put more pressure on us making us kick long. As soon as teams put pressure on us we get nervous on the ball and it is the same story every week.”

    -WATCH THE INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Motherwell U20s 1 – 2 Ross County U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s slipped to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of 10-man Ross County this evening.

    Craig Moore headed his side in front but Barry Smith’s side got level through Tony Dingwall midway through the first half.

    Former Hearts striker Gary Glen scored the winner with seventeen minutes left to play before getting himself sent off ten minutes later.

    Jonatan Johansson made five changes from the side that lost at Dunfermline seven days previous. Out went Ross Stewart, Ross Kellock, Fraser Johnstone, Dale Shirkie and Lee Erwin, replaced by Max Currie, Adam Cummins, Paul McCafferty, Bob McHugh and new signing Lionel Ainsworth.

    Much like last week, the Steelmen made a great start and were ahead after just three minutes. Jack Leitch and Lionel Ainsworth combined on the right flank. Leitch eventually worked it onto his left foot before hanging up a cross towards the penalty spot where Craig Moore was well placed to head beyond the outstretched arm of Sean McCarthy.

    McHugh and Ainsworth both passed up half chances as the home side dominated the first twenty minutes.

    County started working their way into things and Gary Glen posted intentions with a stinging drive that Adam Cummins had to deflect wide for a corner.

    Tony Dingwall then fired a shot from distance over the bar before eventually netting the equaliser just before the half-hour.

    The youngster collected on the edge of the area after patient County build-up. He took a touch inside his marker before striking a lovely shot high into the top corner with Currie left helpless.

    Motherwell tried to hit back but two McHugh shots failed to trouble McCarthy, with one wide of the post and the other over the bar.

    Then, three minutes before the interval, Jack Leitch came so close to putting his side ahead again. Industrious play by McHugh on the right flank created the chance. His cutback was perfect for the midfielder but his shot cannoned off a defender before coming back off the base of the right hand upright.

    County started the second half on the front foot with Glen sending an early volley high over the bar. Down the other end, McHugh scooped over from close range after getting on the end of a David Ferguson header from a corner.

    Thomas had a low shot comfortably held by McCarthy and Moore almost found himself in after a long clearance, but the ball just wouldn’t sit down and the resulting shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

    Neither team stamped their authority on the half until County got themselves ahead on the 73rd minute.

    Gary Glen was the scorer but Kyle MacLeod would take just as much of the plaudits with a super ball through. The experienced hitman got in behind the home defence, worked the angle before slotting into the far corner.

    Minutes later, the same player went though one-on-one again but his finish was poor, hitting it straight into the hands of Currie much to the frustration of the Staggies bench.

    County continued to press for the killer third and Marc Klok came close with a free-kick from thirty yards, but Currie was well positioned to turn it away before it was eventually hooked clear.

    There was a moment of controversy eight minutes from time when goalscorer Gary Glen was sent for an early bath. The forward must have said something to the assistant referee after what appeared to be a routine throw-in decision.

    It was certainly an odd ending to the game but it certainly didn’t affect the visitors who, despite their man disadvantage, comfortably saw out the game with no scares.

    Motherwell: Currie, Ferguson (Shirkie – 84mins), McNulty, Cummins, Neill, Leitch, Ainsworth, McCafferty, McHugh, Moore, Thomas (Cadden – 65mins)

    Subs Not Used: Long, Kellock, Johnstone, Higgins, Anderson