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    Dundee Utd U20s 3 – 2 Motherwell U20s

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    TV: Lasley mindful of Caley reaction

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    TV: McCall hoping for home comforts

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    Injury setback for Hollis

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    Muir takes charge of Caley clash

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    Under 20s to take on the Terrors

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    Topps day out at Hampden!

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    TV: Highlights from Excelsior Stadium

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    TV: JJ pleased after Falkirk thriller

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    Motherwell U20s 4 – 3 Falkirk U20s

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    Dundee Utd U20s 3 – 2 Motherwell U20s

    Despite fighting back from two goals down, Motherwell U20s lost 3-2 to Dundee United at the Excelsior Stadium this afternoon.

    United raced into a two goal first-half lead courtesy of goals from Scott Smith and Scott Fraser but Dale Shirkie reduced the arrears minutes before interval.

    Shirkie grabbed the equaliser from the penalty spot eighteen minutes into the second half but Fraser won the match for United with a long-range strike just three minutes from time.

    Jonatan Johansson made two changes to the side that beat Falkirk seven days ago.

    Ross Stewart and Dom Thomas were training with the first-team ahead of tomorrow’s match with Inverness. They were replaced in the starting eleven by Brett Long, making his first ever appearance for the Under 20s, and Frazer Johnstone.

    It was a somewhat subdued opening to the match, which only exploded to life after twelve minutes when United striker Reghan Tumilty had the ball in the net, but the assistant had flagged him offside for starting his run a second too early.

    Then ‘Well had Long to thank for an excellent treble save to keep it level. The Northern Irishman palmed out Scott Smith’s initial shot from the edge of the box then sprung up to deny Tumilty from the rebound. When it spun out to Jamie Mongomery, he again did well to block his low shot.

    It took Motherwell nineteen minutes to test home goalkeeper Phil Anderson. Frazer Johnstone robbed Cammy Ballantyne, strode forward before powering a low shot that forced the United ‘keeper to turn around low to his right.

    However, it was the Terrors who took the lead two minutes later. Montgomery found acres of space on the left flank. When eventually closed down, he laid it back for the supporting Smith who curled a sweet strike high over Long and into the far corner from the edge of the box.

    It stayed that way until the 32nd minute when the Tangerines doubled their advantage. Adam Harwood’s long diagonal ball played in the impressive Scott Fraser. He cut inside David Ferguson before picking his spot low into the right hand corner.

    After giving themselves a mountain to climb, Motherwell gradually worked themselves back into the match and finished the half stronger. Dale Shirkie finished a nice move with a shot blocked by Souttar at the expense of a corner. The resulting kick from the quadrant fell for the striker, and his raking shot forced Anderson to tip over.

    Then, with a minute left to the break, Shirkie did reduce the arrears. Indecision in the United rearguard allowed the Irvine-born youngster space on the edge, and he drilled it low into the corner to put a different complexion on the scorline going in at the interval.

    ‘Well made a good start to the second, but it was the hosts who would threaten first, Aiden Connolly getting in behind only for his shot to be well saved by Long again.

    Down the other end, Anderson made another terrific block to stop David Ferguson, who had got on the end of a Cadden corner, but the keeper spread himself well.

    Then, thirty seconds later, ‘Well were awarded a penalty for what looked like handball. Shirkie placed it on the spot before drilling it high and hard into the roof of the net.

    ‘Well had two quick-fire chances to get ahead; McCafferty firing over from the edge of the box and Higgins putting a shot wide after haring clear of the United rearguard.

    At the other end, Montgomery got in behind young Luke Watt and substitute Danny McNulty but found Brett Long in stubborn form again, the 17-year old racing off his line to make another good save.

    Then, with three minutes left to play, Scott Fraser (the best player on the park) scored the winner with another excellent hit. ‘Well had chances to clear and could have closed him down quicker, but take nothing away from the strike, a 25-yard screamer high into the top corner.

    It was a sore one for the Steelmen to take but United just about edged it over the ninety minutes. ‘Well have a week’s break before returning to action against Inverness CT on Wednesday 2nd April.

    Motherwell: Long, Watt, Ferguson, Hall, Neill, McCall (McNulty – 74mins), McCafferty, Cadden, Shirkie, Higgins, Johnstone (Mackin – 83mins)

    Subs Not Used: Currie, McMillan, Leitch, McLean, Clarke

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    TV: Lasley mindful of Caley reaction

    Keith Lasley has warned of the threat posed by a hurting Inverness after the Highlanders’ Cup Final defeat on Sunday.

    Caley battled for 120 minutes and then penalties, but agonisingly lost out from twelve yards in what was their first ever Cup Final.

    ‘Well skipper Lasley had sympathy with how John Hughes’ men were defeated, but reckons there will be no-one in the opposition dressing room feeling sorry for themselves.

    Asked what effect Caley’s exertions at Celtic Park will have, the 34-year old quipped, “A big one, hopefully.”

    [pullquote]We’ll have to be wary of all that. There is no way we can take it for granted that, because they’ve had a tough slog, we can just turn up and take the points[/pullquote]

    “No, in all seriousness, they will obviously be disappointed but I don’t think Yogi will be short in getting them back up for it.

    “It might have been a little different had Aberdeen ran over the top of them, three or four nil.

    “In actual fact, I felt Caley were right in the game throughout and it could have went either way. They will probably be thankful to just to have another game quickly so they can get it out of their system, as opposed to stewing on it for a week.

    “We’ll have to be wary of all that. There is no way we can take it for granted that, because they’ve had a tough slog, we can just turn up and take the points.

    “They’ve shown again this season how good they are, they are still right in the mix for a European place so all the ingredients are there for an exciting match.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall hoping for home comforts

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall hopes to take advantage of three home matches as the Steelmen battle it out for European spots.

    The Fir Parkers have been at home just once in the last four matches with difficult trips to Tannadice, McDiarmid Park and Easter Road.

    ‘Well now have three fixtures on their own patch in the next ten days and the results could go along way to determining where McCall’s men might finish.

    The first of those is Inverness CT and the Motherwell manager is sure his side will need to be at their best to beat a team looking to bounce back from Cup Final disappointment.

    Speaking to the broadcast media ahead of Wednesday’s match, the Scotland assistant said: “We’ve got five games to play before the split, three of them are at home, so we’ve got to try and take advantage.

    [pullquote]First and foremost, we’ll be up against a determined Inverness this coming Wednesday. They gave us a bit of a going over at their place, which, incredibly, was over seven months ago. We certainly owe them one for that poor performance.[/pullquote]

    “First and foremost, we’ll be up against a determined Inverness this coming Wednesday. They gave us a bit of a going over at their place, which, incredibly, was over seven months ago. We certainly owe them one for that poor performance.

    “Despite Sunday’s defeat, no one should be under any illusions, Caley are one of the major threats we face in qualifying for Europe. Two weeks ago, they had the distraction of two Cup competitions, now that’s gone.

    “Their focus, regardless of Sunday’s result, was always going to be on finishing as high as possible in the league. They’ve got a good strong squad there and they’ve performed terrifically well to be where they are.

    “From our point of view, we’ve played well at home in 2014 and our aim is to keep that going.”


    MFC TV

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    Injury setback for Hollis

    Goalkeeper Lee Hollis has suffered an injury setback after breaking his finger against Hibs nine days ago.

    The 28-year old had won back his place in the first team after a five-month ankle injury nightmare, starting the last two matches against Hearts and Hibs.

    However, after just five minutes of that match at Easter Road, he suffered the break and will now miss the next three to four weeks.

    Faroese International Gunnar Nielsen missed that match in the Capital with an ankle knock but has resumed full training again.

    [pullquote]The short break without a game has allowed some of our lads to get back fit and three (Hammell, Carswell and Francis-Angol) are back in contention.[/pullquote]

    Meanwhile, the short break without a match has allowed some of ‘Well’s injured to get back into contention for forthcoming matches.

    Stevie Hammell, Stuart Carswell and Zaine Francis-Angol are now fit and back available for selection. Lee Erwin and Henri Anier have returned to training and Simon Ramsden will shortly join them.

    Unfortunately, the news on Paul Lawson is not as good. The midfielder had been struggling with an Achilles injury for a number of weeks. That required surgery and the former Ross County man will now miss the majority of what is left of the current campaign. Fraser Kerr also remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall said: “It’s a blow to lose Lee but Gunnar has recovered from the knock that kept him out against Hibs so that evens itself out I suppose.

    “The short break without a game has allowed some of our lads to get back fit and three (Hammell, Carswell and Francis-Angol) are back in contention.

    “We also have other either returning to training this week or due to rejoin us shortly so that’s certainly a boost.”

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    Muir takes charge of Caley clash

    Referee for Wednesday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Inverness CT at Fir Park is Alan Muir.

    It will be Muir’s first Motherwell game of the campaign, and indeed, his first in charge of the Steelmen in over fourteen months.

    Despite this, the 38-year old will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans after taking charge of two matches last season.

    The first was the league opener at Ross County as the Steelmen played out an uneventful 0-0 draw with the league’s new boys.

    His other, and last, match was a 1-0 home defeat by Dundee United in November 2012, a late Johnny Russell header giving Peter Houston’s side all three points.

    He also handled five matches the previous season too. It started with Celtic’s 4-0 win in early September 2011, then a 1-0 win over Aberdeen, Bob McHugh scoring the winning goal some fourteen days later.

    The third was a resounding 3-0 victory of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park before Dunfermline were swept aside 3-1 at Fir Park in a re-arranged game from Boxing Day. The last that season was when Motherwell memorably beat Hearts 3-0 on their way to securing third in the SPL.

    His overall record in charge of Motherwell is fairly decent. The Steelmen have won seven, draw four and lost six from seventeen games. ‘Well have netted 21 times whilst conceding 26.

    In all those games he has produced 51 yellow cards, 25 of which were shown to a player in claret and amber, and four red cards. The first given to former defender Paul Quinn for a professional foul on David Fernandez in a 1-0 defeat to Killie in 2008, another to Michael Higdon, then an opposition player, in a game with St Mirren in November 2010. To Stephen Craigan for an off-the-ball incident in the match with Dunfermline earlier this year and, most recently, to Keith Lasley for a second bookable offence in that Hearts win in 2012.

    Alan will be ably assisted on the day by George Drummond and Michael Banks with Brian Colvin on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is Brian Cassidy and the SPFL Delegate is George Douglas.

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    Under 20s to take on the Terrors

    Jonatan Johansson’s Under 20s return to action this Tuesday when they take on Dundee United at the Excelsior Stadium.

    The young Steelmen edged out Falkirk in a seven-goal thriller last Tuesday and need a win to keep them in contention with Celtic, Rangers and Hibs at the top of the table.

    The Arabs were narrowly beaten by Rangers last midweek, a goal after just one minute enough to separate the sides at Dumbarton’s Bet Butler Stadium.

    Unusually, it’s the second time ‘Well will have faced the Terrors at Airdrie this season. Tuesday will be an away match at ground now widely used by many SPFL Premiership clubs for Under 20s fixtures.

    The match will kick-off at the Excelsior Stadium at 2pm – entry to the match is free of charge.

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    Topps day out at Hampden!

    The SPFL’s official trading card partner Topps is bringing its brilliant Swap and Play Tour to Hampden Park on Monday 7th April (11am-4pm) – and ‘Well fans are invited!

    On the day itself a Motherwell first team star will be on hand to pose for pictures and sign autographs.*

    With loads of great activities planned, Well fans of all ages will have a blast at the home of football including:

    Match Attax 2014 World Championships!
    Play against other collectors to see if you have what takes to become the 2014 Match Attax Master!

    Swap Shop!
    You can swap SPFL Match Attax cards and stickers PLUS you can also swap Premier League Match Attax and Stickers!

    Have your picture taken with the real Scottish Premiership and Barclays Premier League trophies!

    World Cup Zone!
    Play the brand new Match Attax World Stars, get your face painted and get hold of World Stars Match Attax goodies!

    Fun Football Competitions!
    Take part in Topps’ cool quizzes, games and competitions. Awesome prizes up for grabs and bid for football memorabilia at our Charity Auction!

    Samba Skills!
    Get football freestyle tips from super-star Dan Magness!

    Pre-register now at toppsfootball.co.uk and get an exclusive Topps Box of Awesome which includes loads of Topps goodies!

    * Terms and conditions apply. Registration closes on Wednesday 2nd April. Player timings subject to change. For full details see toppsfootball.co.uk.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Excelsior Stadium

    Extended highlights from the Excelsior Stadium as a Dom Thomas quadruple gives ‘Well Under 20s a 4-3 win over Falkirk.


    MFC TV

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    TV: JJ pleased after Falkirk thriller

    Jonatan Johansson praised his side’s resilience after beating Falkirk despite going behind and twice being pegged back.

    The Bairns went ahead early on but two goals from Dom Thomas had the Fir Parkers ahead at the break.

    Falkirk twice leveled in the second half, but another two Thomas goals, completing his quadruple, gave ‘Well a deserved three points.

    It was a relief to Johansson, who was looking to bounce back after back-to-back defeats to Aberdeen and Hearts.

    [pullquote]It was fun to watch, although it might have been more fun had I not been a coach of one of the teams.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV, the Finn said: “It was fun to watch, although it might have been more fun had I not been a coach of one of the teams.

    “There was some really good play and some good performances; you can go through the whole team and there’s not one player who didn’t have pass marks.

    “Dom Thomas will grab the headlines and rightly so, he’s a fantastic player. He got his rewards today; he probably hasn’t played to his high standards in the last few matches, but today everything came off for him. His overall play was excellent!

    “All in all, we could probably have made the night a little easier on ourselves, but the three points is great and, in particular, I must commend the team’s resilience for bouncing back from three disappointments.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell U20s 4 – 3 Falkirk U20s

    Dom Thomas grabbed all four goals as Motherwell U20s edged out Falkirk 4-3 at the Excelsior Stadium this evening.

    The Steelmen went behind early on but two goals from Thomas had them ahead at the interval. The hosts were pegged back by Ryan Blair but Thomas quickly fired them in front again with his hat-trick goal.

    The Bairns hit back for a second time when Olumide Durojaiye pounced on a slip by Ross Stewart to prod home a corner but Thomas would have the last word, picking up on a rebounded shot to smash home the winner with seven minutes left on the clock.

    Jonatan Johansson made two changes to the side that lost to Hearts seven days ago. Ross Stewart returned from International duty with Scotland U19s to take his place between the sticks, Max Currie dropping to the bench.

    And, after his red card last week, Danny McNulty dropped out and was replaced by 16-year old Luke Watt, brother of former ‘Well youngster Josh.

    The hosts made a positive start, forcing four successive corners, but Falkirk just about managed to defend them all. And, after seven minutes, it was Stevie Crawford’s side who had the first chance on goal, full-back Liam Dick could only direct his header straight at Stewart.

    It was a warning shot the young Steelmen failed to heed as, with their next attack, Falkirk opened the scoring.

    Blair Alston slipped in Lewis Small and the midfielder kept his composure to tuck it beyond Stewart into the far corner.

    Motherwell immediately went on the hunt for an equaliser and Shirkie’s half-volley was blocked before Cadden’s cutback for Steven Higgins would have brought about a goal but for a last ditch block by Bairns keeper Graham Bowman.

    The visiting keeper was in great form, blocking a stinging shot from both Thomas and Higgins, sandwiched either side of a Paul McCafferty shot that flashed just wide of the far post.

    However, he was powerless to stop the leveler from Thomas. The little winger collected a flick from skipper Cadden, switched it onto his left foot before curling a cracking shot into the far corner.

    It was a deserved leveler at that stage and Johansson’s men got it and it was another stunner from Thomas. The 17-year old winger collected a McCall pass before curling a beauty high into the top right hand corner with Bowman at full stretch.

    There was still ten minutes to play before the break and ‘Well had further chances to score; McCafferty smashed a shot high over the bar and Cadden had another effort straight at Bowman.

    Cadden also had the first effort of the second half, getting on the end of a McCafferty pass, but his effort lacked power. Seconds later, Thomas almost had his treble but again, ballooned his effort high over the crossbar.

    Falkirk had struggled to get into things but Stewart had to look smart to deny Michael Martin, the ‘keeper having to turn his low shot around the post for a corner.

    The Fir Parkers could have increased their lead when Higgins raced onto a Shirkie flick-on but he fired straight at Bowman.

    It would prove a crucial miss as Falkirk got level shortly after and there was a real touch of fortune about the build-up, but Blair’s finish was quality.

    Durojaiye completely miss-hit a shot that was heading towards the corner flag, but it turned out to be an excellent pass for his teammate. The midfielder coolly lifted the ball over the outrushing Stewart to level things up.

    However, Motherwell quickly put that disappointment behind them as Thomas grabbed his third of the evening just minutes later.

    He jinked past two on the edge of the area, played a neat give and go with Higgins before calmly tucking it past Bowman. An excellent goal to seal his treble!

    It stayed that way until the 80th minute when Falkirk leveled for a second time. A corner from the right looked to be bread and butter for Ross Stewart, who was enjoying a very decent evening, but he spilled it, allowing Durojaiye to prod home from a few yards out.

    Astonishingly, Dom Thomas took just three minutes to add his, and Motherwell’s, fourth to win the game. Bowman flapped at Paul McCafferty’s deep cross from the right, allowing Higgins in. The little striker’s shot was blocked, spun out to Thomas who blasted home despite Ryan McGeever’s best attempts to block it on the line.

    ‘Well could have added a fifth before the end, Shirkie firing wide before substitute Dylan Mackin fired both over and straight at Bowman, but 4-3 it remained as ‘Well moved to within six points of leaders Celtic.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Watt, Ferguson, Hall, Neill, McCall (Johnstone – 63mins), McCafferty, Cadden, Shirkie, Thomas, Higgins (Mackin – 86mins)

    Subs Not Used: Currie, McMillan, Leitch, MacLean