Extended highlights from Fir Park as first half goals from Lionel Ainsworth and John Sutton gave ‘Well a 2-0 win.
TV: Highlights from Fir ParkWednesday 19 March 2014
Inverness CT win in picturesWednesday 19 March 2014
Action pictures from tonight’s hard-fought 2-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
TV: McCall content with Caley winWednesday 19 March 2014
‘Well boss Stuart McCall admitted his side can play better, but was happy to take all three points against Inverness tonight.
The Steelmen were far from their best against a leg-weary Caley side, but first-half goals from Lionel Ainsworth and John Sutton secured the win.
The Fir Park boss, celebrating his 150th game in charge, conceded his team weren’t firing on all cylinders, but was delighted with a vital three points.
Speaking MFC TV, he said: “It’s one of the few times we’ve managed to win a game and not be at our best.
[pullquote]It’s one of the few times we’ve managed to win a game and not be at our best.[/pullquote]
“We always say that if we want to take anything in this league, we’ve got to be right at it, particularly against teams right in and around us.
“We’ve scored two good goals but, other than that, there wasn’t much to shout about. The second half performance wasn’t good enough, we know that and the lads know that themselves.
“But the bottom line is we’ve won the game, we’ve kept a clean sheet with Gunnar (Nielsen) doing ever so well for us. We’ll take the positives from it and move onto Saturday’s match.”
Motherwell 2 – 0 Inverness CTWednesday 19 March 2014
Phil McGhee at Fir Park
Motherwell maintained their superb home form to move joint second top of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle.
However, although Stuart McCall’s men might have won the first of three consecutive home games which could go a considerable way to securing a Europa Cup slot, the win over an impressive Inverness side wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline might suggest.
Two goals midway through the first half from Lionel Ainsworth and John Sutton should have taken the sting out of Caley Thistle. However, the Highlanders showed little after-affects from their marathon League Cup Final and Gunnar Nielsen, back in goal for the injured Lee Hollis, was required to make a handful of smart saves.
After their ten day break following the game at Easter Road, Stevie Hammell and Stuart Carswell were fit enough for a starting place. And it was Hammell who provided the first chance after five minutes, whipping a low ball across the face of the goal with Sutton just failing to make contact.
Despite an exhausting 120 minutes and the disappointment of losing on penalties on Sunday, Caley made the more energetic start. And after having to deal with a couple of teasing crosses, Nielsen produced a fine save in 12 minutes, getting down to hold a well-struck volley from Billy McKay.
Indeed it was the home side which looked slow in the opening stages and Nielsen again came to the rescue six minutes later when the Faroese ‘keeper reacted superbly to smother a low snapshot from McKay.
The Caley ‘keeper was forced into his first save after 23 minutes. Hammell clipped the ball back towards the penalty spot where Ainsworth met in on the volley only to see Dean Brill bundle the ball round his post.
A minute later Brill was beaten as the same ‘Well pair combined for the opening goal. Hammell’s long diagonal pass found Ainsworth who hared towards goal before smashing the ball past the helpless ‘keeper for his ninth goal of the season.
Hammell was finding plenty of space on the left and in 33 minutes his cross was touched across goal by McFadden allowing the unmarked Sutton to stoop at the back post and nod home his 18th goal of the season and make it 2-0.
That forced Inverness to chase the game as the Fir Park players were more content to keep possession but, in reality, it took some dogged defending from Motherwell to maintain their two goal advantage.
Shortly after the break McFadden had a couple of efforts on goal. Firstly he dragged the ball between two defenders before floating the ball over the bar. Then, seconds later, he stretched to meet an Iain Vigurs cross but could only direct the ball over the bar.
Shaun Hutchison came within inches of making it 3-0 when his his header from an Ainsworth corner bounced on the wrong side of the post.
The ‘Well goal then had a double escape. McKay watched his shot from eight yards blocked superbly by Nielsen but when the ball rebounded to Greg Tansey his volley looked destined for the back of the net until Hutchison chested the ball on the goal line before clearing.
A long range effort from Vigurs floated past the post with Brill retreating to guard his goal line.
But Inverness still pushed for a goal that would bring them back into the game and Nielsen was again lively low at his post to hold a Graeme Shinnie drive.
With 16 minutes remaining and Inverness looking the more likley to score, and ‘Well determined to see out the game, Zaine Francis-Angol replaced McFadden.
While Motherwell were not at their best, it was a hard earned three points, making it a highly impressive 16 points from their last 6 home games, with Ross County next to visit Fir Park on Saturday.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
Big three points for The Steelmen. Not a great game but valuable points in the bag! #MFCvICTFC
FT: Motherwell 2 – 0 Inverness CT #MFCvICTFC
Not a cracker here to be honest. ‘Well took their chances when they came whereas ICT didn’t. #MFCvICTFC
2 minutes added on #MFCvICTFC
88mins: Ball drops nicely to Tansey on the edge of the box but his shot is sliced well over #MFCvICTFC
86mins: Another corner to ICT….Nielsen punches clear #MFCvICTFC
81mins: Corner to ICT…ref blows for a foul in ‘Well’s favour. #MFCvICTFC
73mins: Subs: McFadden off for Francis-Angol and for ICT, Watkins is on for Vincent #MFCvICTFC
71mins: Christie drags his shot inches past from 20 yards. Looked like it was heading in #MFCvICTFC
69mins: Carswell and Foran find their way into the ref’s book. #MFCvICTFC
65mins: Free-kick about 28 yards out is struck well over by McFadden #MFCvICTFC
64mins: Shinnie tests Nielsen with a powerful low shot from 25 yards. Gathers safely. #MFCvICTFC
61mins: Bit of a cheeky effort from Vigurs who spots Brill not that far off his line but attempts the 30 yard lob anyway. Not far wide
56mins: McFadden is played through by Hammell however its an awkward bounce and his shot goes well over #MFCvICTFC
53mins: A let off as desperate defending keeps ICT out!Bodies being thrown in front of every shot before Hutch clears off the line #MFCvICTFC
52mins: Corner to ‘Well….headed inches wide by Hutchinson! #MFCvICTFC
49mins: A bit closer there as McFadden meets a Vigurs cross with a good volley. Just over! #MFCvICTFC
48mins: Bit ambitious from McFadden as he tries to curl it in from range. Well over #MFCvICTFC
Half time sub for ICT, Christie on for Doran #MFCvICTFC
Steelmen back out and the second half is underway. #MFCvICTFC
ICT back on the field. Big 45 minutes coming up…. #MFCvICTFC
HT: Motherwell 2 – 0 Inverness CT #MFCvICTFC
33mins: SUTTON nods home Hammell’s delightful ball into the box. Was on a plate for him! Superb! 2-0 #MFCvICTFC
25mins: AINSWORTH burts clear of the ICT defence and finishes superbly from just inside the box, low past Brill! 1-0 #MFCvICTFC
24mins: Great effort from Ainsworth who connects superbly with Vigurs’ cross. Brill tips it wide! #MFCvICTFC
22mins: A decent run from McFadden ends when he pulls the trigger and can only sclaff it well wide from 18 yards. #MFCvICTFC
19mins: Another good chance for McKay who catches Raven’s ball on a half-volley. Again, Nielsen is on hand to deny #MFCvICTFC
12mins: Good save from Nielsen to deny McKay whose left footed volley from 16 yards looked troublesome #MFCvICTFC
11mins: Raven works his way down the right wing and gets a decent ball in. Nielsen gathers with ease, though #MFCvICTFC
6mins: Great chance for Sutton as Hammell flashes the ball across goal but he just can’t get enough on it to stick it in the net #MFCvICTFC
4mins: First shot on target for ICT. Tansey with the long range effort straight at Nielsen #MFCvICTFC
Game’s underway here at FP! #COYW #MFCvICTFC
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We know we can play better and we’ve got to aim to be better.
“But it is a clean sheet – something we’ve not been good at of late – a win against rivals going for Europe and two really good goals.
“We were up against a good side and they showed why they’re up there and why they’ll be challenging until the end of the season
“I certainly don’t think we were at out best, but we’ve had lots of games this season when we’ve been the better team and not won, so we’ll accept that tonight.”
Inverness CT manager John Hughes:
“I felt we could’ve taken something out of it. I felt Motherwell scored against the run of play, but it was a great finish and a real lapse of concentration on our part.
“Their goalkeeper had two or three great saves. We had a chance in the second half we should’ve put it in the back of the net. We have to be more ruthless in our defending.
“In terms of effort, commitment and passing the ball, I couldn’t ask for any more from the boys.
“We just lacked that cutting edge in the final third and it was a real lapse of concentration to concede two goals.”
The Steelmen on SnapchatWednesday 19 March 2014
Motherwell FC has added the hugely popular photo messaging application Snapchat to its social media portfolio.
We plan to use Snapchat to send exclusive and unique behind-the-scenes photos, videos and messages to our supporters – using the storyboard function.
When your add is confirmed, you’ll be able to view our content, starting at tonight’s match against Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park.
TV: Highlights from Excelsior StadiumTuesday 18 March 2014
Extended highlights from the Excelsior Stadium as Dundee United edge out Motherwell by the odd goal in five.
TV: JJ disappointed at defensive lapsesTuesday 18 March 2014
Jonatan Johansson was left frustrated as his side crashed to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Dundee United this afternoon.
The hosts raced into a two-goal lead before Dale Shirkie reduced the deficit before the half-time interval.
Shirkie then scored his second from penalty spot to level things up, but the impressive Scott Fraser secured all three points with a goal three minutes from time.
All three United goals were top quality, but the Finn was frustrated at how his team defended, particularly in the first-half.
[pullquote]I was a little unhappy with at least two of the three goals we conceded. We sat off too much and were to content to get back in numbers, thinking that was the job done in terms of defending.[/pullquote]
Speaking to MFC TV, the former Charlton striker said: “Obviously I am very disappointed to lose the game that late on.
“We did well to come back from 2-0 down in what was a hard-fought game; you certainly can’t fault the lads for determination and attitude.
“That said, I was a little unhappy with at least two of the three goals we conceded. We sat off too much and were to content to get back in numbers, thinking that was the job done in terms of defending.
“We reemphasized to them at the break how important it is to press, get tight and ensure you are marking your man. We improved on that in the second half but the first half wasn’t good enough from a defensive point of view.
“Overall though, they probably just about shaded it over the ninety minutes. When we got back level, I thought we looked the more likely but it wasn’t to be.”
Dundee Utd U20s 3 – 2 Motherwell U20sTuesday 18 March 2014
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
TV: Lasley mindful of Caley reactionMonday 17 March 2014
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.”
TV: McCall hoping for home comfortsMonday 17 March 2014
‘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.”