Two incredible second half strikes gave ‘Well a much needed three points against Ross County this afternoon.
After a goalless first half in which County were the better side, wonder goals from Iain Vigurs and John Sutton gave the visitors a two-goal cushion before substitute Liam Boyce reduced the deficit eight minutes from the end.
Stuart McCall made three changes to the side that lost at home two weeks ago: Lionel Ainsworth, Zaine Francis-Angol and Henrik Ojamaa all had to settle for a place amongst the subs – they were replaced in the starting line-up by by Lee Erwin, Simon Ramsden and Iain Vigurs.
County made a decent start to the match but it was Motherwell who had the first effort on goal in the fourth minute when John Sutton did well to win possession but shot wide of Antonio Reguero’s left hand post.
County’s on-loan signing Michael Gardyne forced a save from Well goalkeeper Dan Twardzik in the seventh minute, then a Cardle shot was deflected behind for a corner as County started to edge it.
The hosts kept the pressure on and Gardyne headed a Jervis cross wide of target before firing another a shot off target.
At the other end, Reguero got down to a Josh Law shot but it squirmed out of his grasp for a corner.
As the half drew to a close, the visitors grew in confidence as the half wore on and former County favourite Vigurs made a forceful run into the box before winning another corner.
From the resultant flag-kick, Lee Erwin’s header was cleared off the goal-line by Carey.
Well made a positive start to the second half and Scott Boyd had to intervene to head a Craig Reid cross behind for a corner.
Boyd was in the right spot again to clear the next attack as the visitors went for the opening goal – and it came when the visitors were awarded a free kick 25 yards out in the 49th minute and Vigurs curled a delightful effort into the top corner.
County had a half-chance shortly afterwards when Jervis raced clear but he shot straight at Twardzik, then the same player got on the end of a deep cross from Carey but saw his glancing header fly wide of the target.
However, Stuart McCall’s men doubled their lead in the 54th minute in spectacular circumstances. The ball broke to Sutton in the middle of the park and he lofted a half-volley over the head of Reguero and into the net for an impressive goal.
County threw everything forward as they sought a route back into the match and they pulled a goal back in the 78th minute when Boyce came off the bench to steer Carey’s cutback into the net.
Buoyed by the goal Carey then fired in a curling free-kick which Twardzik could only push over for a corner – but the visitors held on for the win.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at The Global Energy Stadium
‘Well come away with all three points from the highlands!!! #RCFCvMFC COYW!!!!
FT: Ross County 1 – 2 Motherwell #RCFCvMFC
91mins: Fine low diving save from Twardizk to deny Quinn who shot from the edge of the box #RCFCvMFC
4 minutes added on #RCFCvMFC
87mins: Delighful ball in from Vigurs with the outside of his foot is met by Sutton but he can’t get his volley on target #RCFCvMFC
81mins: Motherwell sub, Erwin off for Ojamaa #RCFCvMFC
From the resulting corner, Boyd heads just wide. #RCFCvMFC
80mins: Spectacular effort from Carey from all of 40 yards has Twardzik scrambling to tip it over!
79mins: Lasley is booked for a foul on Cardle #RCFCvMFC
77mins: GOAL! Boyce pulls one back for County, converting a low cross. #RCFCvMFC
75mins: Sutton sees his lefts footed snap-shot from just outside the box fly just past! #RCFCvMFC
118 Motherwell fans have made the long trip up to Dingwall. Thanks to all for their support.
And a Motherwell sub, Carswell on for Lawson #RCFCvMFC
68mins: Ross County sub, Gardyne off for Maatsen #RCFCvMFC
67mins: County fans screaming for handball as is appears to hit O’Brien on the arm in the box but the ref waves play on #RCFCvMFC
56mins: Ross County sub, De Leeuw off for Arquinn #RCFCvMFC
54mins: SUTTON smashes in a cracker from range!!!! 2-0 to ‘Well #RCFCvMFC
51mins: Fantastic work from Law to win the ball back in a dangerous position. His shot is straight at Reguero, though.
48mins: VIGURS whips the free-kick into the top corner!! 1-0 to ‘Well #RCFCvMFC
47mins: Erwin wins a free-kick in a great area. Certainly Vigurs territory…
Second half is underway. #RCFCvMFC
HT: Ross County 0 – 0 Motherwell #RCFCvMFC
45mins: Another ‘Well corner, which is punched clear by Reguero. #RCFCvMFC
44mins: Vigurs throws a few dummy’s and gets a left footed shot away on the edge of the box. Routine stop for Reguero. #RCFCvMFC
43mins: Vigurs does well to win a corner….cleared off the line by Quinn! #RCFCvMFC
38mins: Erwin creates a chance out of nothing with a good first touch on the turn. His shot is too tame to trouble the ‘keeper though.
34mins: Corner to ‘Well after Law’s left footed volley from inside the box was pushed wide by Reguero #RCFCvMFC
32mins: Ball looked to have went in but Gardyne’s shot from 20 yards was just past and hit the advertising board. #RCFCvMFC
31mins: Carey fires in a long range free-kick through a ruck of bodies. Thankfully it flies just wide #RCFCvMFC
28mins: O’Brien is booked for a hard challenge on Cardle. County fans wanted red……#RCFCvMFC
25mins: Effort on goal from de Leeuw from range but doesn’t have the power to test Twardzik who dives low to his left to gather. #RCFCvMFC
21mins: Good football from County followed by a Jervis cross in for Gardyne who heads just wide #RCFCvMFC
10mins: Irvine’s shot is deflected out for a corner. From the delivery, ref rules Boyd fouled O’Brien #RCFCvMFC
9mins: Gardyne cuts in from the left and gets a shot away but Twardzik is equal to it, diving low to his left to palm to safety #RCFCvMFC
Boyd clears and County counter through Cardle. His cross is just too hard for Arquin to control and the chance is gone.
6mins: Erwin forces a corner to ‘Well….
4mins: Sutton has a pop from just outside. Unfortunately it curls just wide of the ‘keepers left post #RCFCvMFC
3mins: County have a free-kick about 40 yards out. Carey swings it in but Vigurs is on hand to head clear. #RCFCvMFC
Pre-match formalities over, De Leeuw and Jervis get the action underway.#COYW #RCFCvMFC
Here come the teams, Motherwell in their white away kit, County in their dark blue home kit. #RCFCvMFC
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We scored two fantastic goals, we needed that to win the game. I don’t think there was much in it. The first half was a bit of a non-event for us. We started the second half a lot better but we are disappointed to lose a sloppy goal which gives them a lift.”
“We weren’t great today but we got the job done with two great bits of finishing. For all the possession Ross County didn’t create too many problems for us.
“It was always going to be difficult with the new manager and their singing section in the crowd – they were always going to be up for it. “It was three important points – we know we will play better but we have good quality in the team and the two goals showed that.”
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre:
“We had the edge on the game in the first half and created a couple of opportunities. I thought we looked the more threatening. But the reaction from the players was really good after we conceded the goals.
“Motherwell came out better in the second half and scored. It was a poor free-kick to give away but you have to give credit to the boy for sticking it away. You have to give big Sutton great credit for his goal too, it was a hell of a strike.”