Extended highlights as Motherwell Under 20s edge out St Johnstone in a thrilling match at Fir Park.
TV: Highlights from Fir ParkTuesday 15 April 2014
TV: Johansson praises steely characterTuesday 15 April 2014
Jonatan Johansson praised the character of his side as they twice came from behind to beat St Johnstone.
The Steelmen had to survive a first-half onslaught as Saints spurned numerous chances to race into an insurmountable lead.
They did score twice, but Steven Higgins netted for ‘Well to keep it close at the break.
‘Well were much better after the interval and Dale Shirkie and Lee Erwin both scored to eventually secure all three points and Johansson was quick to hail his side’s resistance in what an incredible evening at Fir Park.
Speaking to MFC TV after the match, he said: “It was a game of one hundred chances.
[pullquote]Aggression is not about screaming at refs or giving away stupid tackles, it’s about putting your body on the line and winning all your battles and we did that the second half. The lads deserve credit.[/pullquote]
“We were lucky to be only one goal down at the break. It was such a disappointing start to the game. We lacked aggression and lost a goal at a set-piece, which we’ve talked about and worked on all week.
“However, in the second half we’ve shown great character and put in some great individual performances.
“We got a bit of luck but that came from us being aggressive and we all worked for each other. I think, as a young player, you forget that aggression is really, really important as we all talk about skill, passing and moving.
“Aggression is not about screaming at refs or giving away stupid tackles, it’s about putting your body on the line and winning all your battles and we did that the second half. The lads deserve credit.”
Motherwell U20s 3 – 2 St Johnstone U20sTuesday 15 April 2014
Motherwell edged out St Johnstone by the odd goal in five in a topsy-turvy evening at Fir Park.
Saints completely dominated the first half and could have scored six or seven goals, but only had two courtesy of Alex Kitchen and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson, who himself could and perhaps should have had at least a hat trick.
In between those two goals, Steven Higgins capitalised on a defensive slip to reduce the arrears and ‘Well would have been thankful for trailing by just one at the break.
Dale Shirkie got his side level minutes after the interval before Lee Erwin eventually put the Steelmen in front on the hour and that’s how it finished, as ‘Well aim to end the season on a high.
Jonatan Johansson made three changes to the side that lost 3-0 at Lennoxtown eight days ago. Zaine Francis-Angol, Euan Murray and Craig Moore dropped out, replaced by Jack McMillan, Ben Hall and Steven Higgins.
But it was the Perth side who came out the traps flying and Fortnam-Tomlinson had one of an almost countless amount of first-half chances inside thirty seconds, but flashed his shot wide. Two minutes later he was at it again, but this time Stewart saved.
The Steelmen stopper also saved really well from Craig Thomson but was helpless to stop Saints’ opener when defender Kitchen rose well at the back post to head home a Scott Brown corner.
Motherwell were rarely out their own half but Dom Thomas at least registered a chance for the hosts with a shot straight at keeper Mark Hurst.
Erwin had a couple of chances at the midway point of the half but the away keeper comfortably saved both shots.
But it was Saints who continued to threaten and create opportunities. Fortnam-Tomlinson was causing problems, but his finishing was letting him down. He had another three attempts before the half hour, one wide of the post, one high over the bar and one sliced into the Cooper Stand.
He wasn’t the only one though; Thomson also passed up a good chance after cutting in from the right only to blaze high and wide.
Amazingly, after being under the cosh for much of the half, ‘Well leveled eight minutes from half time. Steven Higgins was alert to a short pass back by Stewart and he raced in to coolly slot under Hurst for his seventh of the campaign.
It didn’t stay level for long though as Saints were back ahead within two minutes and it was Fortnam-Tomlinson who finally scored at the sixth time of asking. Fullback Scott Gray sent in a good ball towards the near post for the striker who nipped in ahead of Morgyn Neill to net from a few yards out.
Amazingly, ‘Well should have equalised before the break but Dale Shirkie didn’t get enough on David Ferguson’s cross and headed wide.
‘Well came out for the second half with fire in their belly and equalised inside two minutes. Dom Thomas skinned Scott Gray on the flank and his cross eventually found Shirkie at the back post, who smashed home a half-volley with the aid of a slight deflection off Stewart.
Both sides made changes but it was Saints who should have got themselves back in front.
Fortnam-Tomlinson was again involved as he raced clear of the defence. He was blocked once again by Stewart but picked up the rebound. He squared it for Scott Wilson who was only denied by an excellent goal line clearance by McMillan.
‘Well went immediately on the attack and Erwin almost got amongst the goals.
He collected after good hassling by Cadden on the halfway line. After striding into the box, he danced around two challenges but could only scoop his left-footed effort high and wide.
However, the big striker wouldn’t be denied shortly after. Ferguson’s brave header landed at the 19-year old at the edge of the box. He turned his marker Stewart once and then again, leaving him on his backside, before smashing high into the net from an acute angle.
Saints, clearly shell-shocked, went in search of an equaliser themselves. Fortnam-Tomlinson had another effort straight at Stewart before the ‘Well stopper made another great block to deny Wilson.
Lee Erwin could have wrapped up the win after racing clear on the left flank, but his neat chipped finish came back off the post and dropped wide. Minutes later, Saints sub Fisayo Adarabioyo raced clear too but Stewart was again quick off his line to make the save.
‘Well managed to hang on to the end, but there was still time for one more scare late in the game when Adarabioyo got on the end of a fired Dylan Easton cross but it squirmed inches wide.
It was an amazing win for Johansson’s men. Saints will have travelled back to Perth thinking what might have been given the chances they created in the game.
Motherwell: Stewart, Ferguson, McMillan (McCall – 75mins), Hall, Neill, Cadden, McCafferty, Erwin, Shirkie, Thomas, Higgins (MacLean – 55mins)
Subs: Currie, R.Leitch, Clarke, Mackin
Under 20s face Saints at Fir ParkMonday 14 April 2014
The Under 20s are back in action tomorrow (Tuesday) night when they face St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Jonatan Johansson’s men are coming to the end of their campaign but face the Saints for the first time.
‘Well sit fifth in the table, three points behind neighbours Hamilton Accies having played a game less.
With just four games remaining, the Finn will be looking to finish the season on a high.
The match will take place at Fir Park Stadium, kick-off is at 6pm.
Top Six Hospitality: 3 for 2 offerTuesday 08 April 2014
The Commercial Department has put together a fantastic three-for-two Hospitality offer for our post-split matches.
If you attend the Celtic and St Johnstone matches in one of our Hospitality Suites, you will be invited to the Inverness Caley match completely free of charge.
The headline prices for the ‘three for two’ game package is as follows:
Individual prices and information for the three matches:
Arrival for 11.45am – Hot Filled Rolls served before kickoff, Half Time tea, Meal served after the Game – Roast Sirloin of Beef in a Claret Juice served with Chiefs selection of Vegetables and Black Forrest Gateaux with Tea, Coffee and Mints.
Arrival for 1pm – Home Made Lentil Soup, Traditional Steak Pie and Chocolate profiteroles served with Chocolate cream Sauce with Tea, Coffee and Mints.
Arrival for 5.45pm – Creamy Potato & Leek Soup, Roast Pepper Chicken Breast in a Pink Peppercorn Sauce and Chocolate Fudge Cake with Tea, Coffee and Mints.
*pp = per person.
TV: Highlights from LennoxtownMonday 07 April 2014
Extended highlights from Lennoxtown as ‘Well go down 3-0 to Celtic in the SPFL Under 20s league.
TV: JJ angered by ‘intimidated’ ‘WellMonday 07 April 2014
Jonatan Johansson bemoaned his side’s start to the game and felt his players looked intimidated against Celtic.
The Steelmen were slow out the traps and by the time they started passing the ball about with any confidence, they were 2-0 down.
The second half was an improvement on the first, but not close to the standards set by the Finn this season and in recent matches.
Speaking to MFC TV after the match, the former Charlton Athletic hitman said: “I’m really disappointed for the players as we were really up for it, but it was a really average performance from us and you can’t do that against Celtic.
[pullquote]Celtic is too good a side to give a two-goal head start to; we saw that at Fir Park too. For all the ‘ok’ play we had, it doesn’t matter when you’re two goals down.[/pullquote]
“We started like we were intimidated and gave them way to much respect and that lost us not only the goals, but the match.
“Celtic is too good a side to give a two-goal head start to; we saw that at Fir Park too. For all the ‘ok’ play we had, it doesn’t matter when you’re two goals down.
“We had some good possession, but tried the killer ball too often and too early. If we played the ball like we can do, and pass it patiently through midfield, we could have had a chance but too many players were not playing at their top level.”
Celtic U20s 3 – 0 Motherwell U20sMonday 07 April 2014
Motherwell Under 20s crashed to a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Celtic at a rain-soaked Lennoxtown this afternoon.
Denny Johnstone grabbed all three goals as ‘Well failed to get out of first gear for most of the afternoon.
Johansson made four changes to the team that beat Inverness five days ago. Brett Long, Danny McNulty, Frazer Johnstone and Steven Higgins dropped out and were replaced by Ross Stewart, Zaine Francis-Angol, Craig Moore and Lee Erwin.
Celtic started the game much the stronger and took the lead after just seven minutes.
Denny Johnstone latched onto a lovely Patrik Twardzik through ball. His initial shot was blocked by the sliding Euan Murray, but he smashed the rebound low under Stewart for 1-0.
Johnstone should had doubled his tally shortly after when he was afforded time and space in the area after a free-kick from the right, but his low shot was excellently saved by Stewart.
However, the Celtic front man wouldn’t be denied on 31 minutes. A corner from the left came off the back of Dale Shirkie and dropped invitingly inside the six-yard box for the 19-year old who smashed home.
It was an unfortunate time to concede for the Steelmen who had just began to work their way back into the game.
The visitor’s only chance of the half fell for Shirkie, but he scooped it over after being teed up by Paul McCafferty on the edge of the area.
Johansson’s men did have a shout for a penalty just before the break when a Stephen Cadden cross struck the arm of a defender, but the ref decided it was ball to hand rather than the other way round.
Motherwell started the second period on the front foot with Francis-Angol and Erwin shooting wide. Dom Thomas then beat two Celtic defenders at the edge of the box before lashing his shot wide when a square ball to the supporting Moore might have been a better option.
Those misses would prove vital as Celtic added a decisive third after fifty-four minutes.
Patrick Twardzik, brother of former ‘Well loanee Dan, picked up a loose ball on the left and charged towards goal. His cross into the box was perfect for Johnstone to score from close range to seal his hat trick.
As the game headed towards its conclusions, both teams traded chances with Lee Erwin have a shot saved before Twardzik ended another fine solo run by blasting wide.
Celtic came closest though and in the dying stages, a header from Marcus Fraser was cleared off the line before substitute Luke Donnelly fired wide of the post after racing clear of the ‘Well defence.
Motherwell U20s: Stewart, Ferguson (Higgins), Francis-Angol, Murray, Neill, Shirkie, McCafferty (Johnstone), Erwin, Moore, Thomas, Cadden
Subs: Long, Hall, McCall, Mackin
TV: Highlights from St Mirren ParkSaturday 05 April 2014
Extended highlights from St Mirren Park as ‘Well go down 3-2 to St Mirren in controversial circumstances.
St Mirren defeat in picturesSaturday 05 April 2014
Action pictures from this afternoon’s controversial 3-2 defeat by St Mirren at St Mirren Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.