Motherwell Under 20s ended a four game losing streak with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over St Mirren this evening.
The Steelmen hadn’t tasted success since their opening day win at Rugby Park six weeks ago, but a goal in either half handed Jonatan Johansson a much-needed boost.
Dom Thomas opened the scoring after eleven minutes, before Craig Moore grabbed his fifth of the campaign twenty-five minutes from time to seal the win.
Saints weren’t without their chances, Ross Stewart having to make a string of excellent saves throughout the ninety minutes.
Motherwell had a more experience feel about them with the likes of Paul Lawson, Lionel Ainsworth and Adam Cummins drafted in from the team that lost to Hibs one week ago. Jonatan Johansson opted for five changes in total and it had the desired effect right from the off.
The hosts made the better start and scored with their first real attack. Having won a corner from a deflected Craig Moore shot, Jack Leitch whipped a terrific ball towards the back post where Cummins was lurking.
The defender crashed a header off the crossbar but Dom Thomas was well placed to prod into the net from close range – his first of the new season.
Both teams traded half-chances with Ainsworth firing a volley just wide of the post after Lewis Morgan had forced Ross Stewart into the first save of the match.
It was actually the first of many for the Scotland Under 19s goalie – his best perhaps came on the 20th minute. Anton Brady collected some thirty yards out and his crashing effort was heading in under the crossbar but for a last ditch hand to turn it over.
His next came twelve minutes later when his namesake Jordan managed to wriggle clear of David Ferguson but his low shot was again brilliantly turned around by the Steelmen stopper from point-blank range.
Saints upped their efforts in search of a leveler and Jordan Stewart was again denied, this time by a stunning last-ditch block inside the six-yard box by Jack Leitch.
‘Well managed to weather the storm though and had a decent chance of their own before the interval. Leitch was again involved, sending a superb ball out to the left flank for Thomas whose first time cross was pinpoint for Cadden but he screwed it over.
Ross Stewart was the star of the first-half for ‘Well and he picked up where he left off as the second got underway. He was on hand to deny Jon Scullion just three minutes after the restart, the big striker’s fearsome drive tipped over the crossbar at the expense of a corner which was eventually hooked clear.
Saints had enjoyed the majority of possession with ‘Well content to hit on the counter attack; utilising the creativity of Lawson and Leitch combined with the pace of Ainsworth, Thomas and Moore.
And they all combined for Motherwell’s decisive second goal on the 65th minute. Thomas was the principle architect though, collecting a Lawson pass, dribbling past three tackles before slipping in Craig Moore who lashed it high past Kieran Hughes and into the net.
Saints tried hard to get back into the game but chances either flew wide of the post, blazed over the bar or were straight at Ross Stewart.
Johansson introduced Steven Higgins and Paul McCafferty late in the game but it ended 2-0; ‘Well delighted to get back to winning ways ahead of Sunday’s Cup clash with East Fife.
Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden, Ferguson, Cummins, Neill, Leitch, Ainsworth, Lawson, Moore, Thomas (McCafferty – 81mins), Shirkie (Higgins – 71mins)
Subs Not Used: Currie, Hall, McCall, Mackin, Anderson