Highlights from Excelsior Stadium as Motherwell U20s lose 1-2 to Kilmarnock in the SPFL Development League.
TV: Highlights from Excelsior StadiumTuesday 21 October 2014
TV: Johansson upbeat despite Killie lossTuesday 21 October 2014
Jonatan Johansson was in a philosophical mode after watching his side lose to Kilmarnock this evening.
A very young ‘Well side – with the average age of the outfield players just 17.4 years, matched their more experienced counterparts and we desperately unlucky not to take a deserved point from the game.
Killie had gone ahead when Jack Whittaker scored midway through the first-half. Chris Cadden would draw the Fir Parkers level with just fourteen minutes left on the clock, only for Killie to win it shortly after thanks to Robbie Muirhead’s calm finish.
[pullquote]The energy was there, the attitude was there and the aggression was there, just not the result.[/pullquote]
Asked if he was frustrated that his side didn’t take at least a point, The 106-times capped Finn said: “I can’t really be too unhappy; almost everything we set out to do, we did.
“We lost two really sloppy and simple goals which cost us the game.
“It was two basic mistakes that you might see from a sixteen-year old when they play. If they were first-teamers, you would have a right go at them, but at this age you have to get on with it and try and learn from it.
“That being said, the way we played, particularly the second half when we’re trying to fight back from going a goal down, I felt we played well. The energy was there, the attitude was there and the aggression was there, just not the result.”
Motherwell U20s 1 – 2 Kilmarnock U20sTuesday 21 October 2014
It would be a frustrating night for the Motherwell Under 20s as they lost 1-2 to Kilmarnock at the Excelsior Stadium.
Few at the match would argue that the young Steelmen merited a point from the game, but individual errors at the back would cost them dear.
Jack Whittaker put Killie ahead midway through the first half.
It stayed that way until Chris Cadden brought his side level with fourteen left on the clock, although the sting in the tale would come four minutes later when the visitors won it through Robbie Muirhead.
The result is all together more frustrating when, over the ninety minutes, despite Killie seeing a lot of the ball, ‘Well created the better chances.
Jonatan Johansson made two changes to the starting eleven that lost to Rangers the previous midweek.
Gunnar Nielsen made his first ever Under 20s appearance between the sticks, replacing Ross Stewart. The other change was enforced with Dylan Mackin picking up an injury, replaced in the side by Luke Watt.
It was a fast-paced start and Steven Higgins had the ball in the net as early as the third minute, but the goal wouldn’t stand with the forward rightly flagged offside.
Two minutes later, down the other end, Mark O’Hara probably should have done better with a shot from the edge of the area, but he could only screw his effort over Nielsen’s crossbar.
However, it was the hosts who were looking most likely and the visitors had their keeper to thank for keeping the scorers level, saving well from Higgins.
Ross MacLean was the architect, winning the ball deep in Killie territory before hitting the touchline and cutting it back. Cadden fluffed his shot, but still managed to tee up Higgins whose stinging drive was well blocked by Devlin MacKay.
MacLean followed that with a shot of his own just two minutes later, but after doing well to turn inside his marker, he fired his shot just over.
After surviving those scares, Alan Robertson’s side worked their way back into things and after both Ross Davidson and Muirhead had flashed long-range efforts wide of target, Killie got their noses in front.
Motherwell were playing possession football but when Dylan Pooler robbed Ben Hall at the edge of the area and rolled it square for Whittaker, the Killie winger was left with the simplest of tasks, tapping it home past Nielsen.
To their credit, ‘Well went chasing a quick equaliser; Luke Watt sending a thirty-yard shot high over and into the stand before Cadden headed a Dom Thomas corner over the bar at the back post.
Motherwell made an equally positive start to the second half when McLean’s trickery on the right created space, Cadden was again the recipient of a neat cut back but his curling shot was a yard or so wide of MacKay’s right hand post.
Muirhead sent another bouncing shot at Nielsen who gathered comfortably before Killie survived again, this time Pooler heading off the line after Morgyn Neill flicked on Thomas’ whipped corner.
To be fair to Killie, they could have doubled their advantage on the 74th minute when Pooler raced clear of the ‘Well defence, but couldn’t find a way past the outrushing Nielsen who made an excellent block.
It would prove crucial as with their next attack, ‘Well did net the equaliser.
Cadden started the move, sliding in Craig McCall with a lovely though ball. Just as the midfielder was about to pull the trigger, he was tackled but when the ball spun back for Cadden, he coolly slotted it home from the edge of the area.
‘Well players were rushing into the net to get the ball, sensing a winner, but just four minutes later, Killie would grab the decisive second.
Muirhead’s pressure forced young Jack McMillan into the error. The striker raced down on Nielsen and kept his composure, sliding the ball into the far corner for 1-2.
Motherwell would throw on an attacking sub in the shape of Robbie Leitch for Watt, but they failed to create any more chances of note, as Killie held out for the three points.
Motherwell: Nielsen, McMillan, Watt (R.Leitch – 85mins), Hall, Neill, Ferguson, Cadden, McCall, Higgins, Thomas, MacLean
Subs Not Used: Currie, McNulty, Campbell, Anderson
Goal: Cadden (76)
Booked: Neill (90)
Dundee defeat in picturesSaturday 18 October 2014
Action pictures from this afternoon’s 3-1 defeat by Dundee at Fir Park in the SPFL Premiership.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix and Ian McFadyen.
TV: McCall bemoans early goalSaturday 18 October 2014
Stuart McCall cursed Dundee’s early goal, which shattered his side’s already fragile confidence.
The Steelmen had lost the last three games, so a goal in the second minute from former ‘Well hitman David Clarkson made it an uphill task from the beginning.
Paul Hartley’s side went on to score a further two and although Henrik Ojamaa reduced the arrears with his first since returning to the club, it wasn’t enough.
It was another hugely frustrating afternoon, and the Fir Park boss said: “When you have got two teams playing with a lack of confidence based on results, you want to get a foothold in the game and get a good start.
[pullquote]“Then, within two minutes, we’ve lost a goal and almost automatically you can see confidence almost drain out of players.[/pullquote]
“There’s no magic formula that cures that.
“It’s just got to come with a belief that things will turn around with individuals taking the game by the scruff of the neck but that can be difficult when you are going through a rough period both individually and collectively.
“I am obviously desperately disappointed with the result but more so with the way we defended.
“At times they went through us like a knife through butter and when you are not creating a great deal of chances, albeit today I thought we were far better in that area, it’s difficult.”
Motherwell 1 – 3 DundeeSaturday 18 October 2014
Gavin McCafferty at Fir Park
Motherwell’s wretched run of form continued as they crashed to a fourth consecutive home defeat in the Scottish Premiership.
Goals from former ‘Well ace David Clarkson, Clarkson, Gary Harkins and Greg Stewart had Dundee three goals ahead before the hour mark amid yet more individual errors and lax Motherwell marking. The home side could not find a way back despite Henrik Ojamaa quickly reducing the deficit back to two.
Clarkson played over 200 games in Claret and Amber and the goal against his former club took little over two minutes and was among the best he scored at Fir Park, although he was allowed yards of space on the edge of the box.
Motherwell failed to clear an attack and Harkins nodded the ball to Clarkson, who turned and sent a left-foot volley into the top corner.
The goal did nothing for the confidence of a side which had lost seven goals in their previous two games and it was not until the final 15 minutes that they exerted any sustained pressure.
Motherwell were without Steven Hammell, Craig Reid and Lee Erwin after being hit by injury and illness late in the week while Dundee were missing James McPake and saw goalkeeper Kyle Letheren pull out minutes before kick-off, allowing Scott Bain to make his league debut.
Motherwell had some half-chances to level after Clarkson’s opener, Ojamaa getting two shots on target but both times Bain got down well to save.
Motherwell defender Simon Ramsden had a shot cleared off the line by Jim McAlister after a corner but Dundee generally looked more dangerous when they went forward and they doubled their lead in the 29th minute.
Paul McGowan beat Iain Vigurs to a challenge and the ball fell for Stewart just inside the Motherwell box. The forward cut inside and poked a shot that was blocked by Dan Twardzik, but Harkins was on hand to power the rebound home from 10 yards.
Dundee, who brought on Cammy Kerr for Paul McGinn in the 42nd minute, had two good chances to add a third before the interval but Twardzik saved well from Clarkson’s header after the striker was left completely unmarked at a Harkins corner.
Harkins then set up McGowan inside the box but former Dundee keeper Twardzik got down well to save.
McCall, who uncharacteristically watched the first half from the stand, made a double switch at half-time with Stuart Carswell and Fraser Kerr replacing Stephen McManus and Jack Leitch.
But Dundee threatened to cut Motherwell open twice inside the first two minutes of the half and went further ahead in the 59th minute thanks to some more dreadful marking.
Stewart was all alone inside the box when Clarkson picked up the ball on the left wing and the former Bristol City player managed to get the ball across for his strike partner to stab home.
Some home fans departed but their team got a lifeline three minutes later.
Ojamaa forced a corner with an excellent long-range strike that Bain tipped over and the Estonian turned and steered Kerr’s header in off the bar following Lionel Ainsworth’s delivery.
Dundee tried to hit back and Twardzik saved from both Harkins and substitute Kevin Thomson, making his first appearance for two months following a calf injury.
They were pressed back in the final 15 minutes, however Bain saved from Ojamaa, Vigurs and substitute Josh Law as Dundee held out to leave last season’s runners-up in second-bottom spot.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 1 – 3 Dundee #MFCvDFC
90mins: Great football between Law, Ojamaa and Carswell but Law can only shoot straight at Bain from a narrow angle #MFCvDFC
4 minutes added on #MFCvDFC
83mins: Great bit of play from Ojamaa but again the finishing touch is lacking as he curled a cross in #MFCvDFC
82mins: Vigurs finds a bit of room just inside the box but can only fire straight at Bain! #MFCvDFC
81mins: Irvine is booked for a clumsy tackle on Ainsworth #MFCvDFC
77mins: Dundee sub, Harkins off for Boyle #MFCvDFC
76mins: Ball eventually falls to Vigurs on the edge of the box but from an awkward bounce, he can only volley over the bar #MFCvDFC
74mins: Motherwell sub, Law on for Francis-Angol #MFCvDFC
68mins: Harkins’ front post shot is tipped past by Twardzik #MFCvDFC
67mins: Dundee sub, Stewart off for Thomson #MFCvDFC
Ojamaa flicks it into the net. 3-1 now. Could there be a comeback?
60mins: Ojamaa’s long range shot is well tipped over by Bain. Corner….GOOAAL!
58mins: GOAL! Stewart taps it home from close range. All too easy as ‘Well pushed forward. 3-0. #MFCvDFC
‘Well would have had a throw-in in a good position but instead have to make do with a drop ball which is cleared. Unbelievable.
53mins: Ridiculous refereeing as the a Dundee player takes a ball to the face and as it’s going out, ref blows for play to stop.
Second half is underway. #MFCvDFC
Half-time subs, McManus and Leitch off for Carswell and Kerr.
HT: Motherwell 0 – 2 Dundee #MFCvDFC
45mins: Great save by Twardzik to deny goal number 3! McGowan should have scored but was blocked by the foot of the ‘keeper #MFCvDFC
44mins: Leitch is pulled up and booked after the ref had played an advantage for a foul on McGowan as Dundee countered #MFCvDFC
43mins: Francis-Angol does well to win a corner. Letheren punches Vigurs’ delivery to safety #MFCvDFC
42mins: Dundee sub, McGinn off for Kerr #MFCvDFC
Ainsworth’s free-kick is driven straight into the wall #MFCvDFC
40mins: Konrad is booked for a foul on Vigurs just outside the box.#MFCvDFC
38mins: McGowan watches it drop out the sky and tries a volley from just inside the box but he slices it harmlessly wide #MFCvDFC
29mins: GOAL! Harkins drills home form 15 yards following a bit of a scramble. 2-0 to Dundee #MFCvDFC
28mins: Ojamaa tries a clever reverse pass to Ainsworth but perhaps the shot looked the better option. Dundee clear
23mins: Ojamaa finds space 25 yards out and has a pop at goal but never really looked like troubling Letheren as he dived to save.
17mins: McManus’ header form Ainworth’s corner is heading into the top corner until Letheran plucks it out the air. Good chance! #MFCvDFC
16mins: Shouts for a penalty there as a ‘Well player looked to have been pushed from a corner but ref says no.#MFCvDFC
10mins: Ojamaa goes close! He does well to shrug off Konrad but can only drill his shot straight at Letheran from 20 yards #MFCvDFC
6mins: Could so easily have been 2! Clarkson gets past O’Brien and cuts it back to Stewart who was inches away from connecting #MFCvDFC
3mins: GOAL! Clarkson makes it 1-0 to Dundee with a great finish on the spin just in side the box #MFCvDFC
Underway here at Fir Park! #COYW #MFCvDFC
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
Dundee manager Paul Hartley:
“It’s a great three points for us after a sticky run.
“We played really well today, we scored three great goals and I thought some of our play was great.
“I felt if we started the game well we could cause Motherwell problems and not let them get into their stride. They’ve been on a difficult run as well and we felt if we could start well the fans might get on their back. We did that and got an early goal.
“We’ve been playing well and we’re pleasing on the eye as we try to pass the ball. I’m delighted with the way things are going so far.”
TV: Sutton takes responsibilityFriday 17 October 2014
John Sutton reckons the ‘Well squad feel a real sense of responsibility over the clubs’ current form.
Whilst Stuart McCall spent his press conferences wanting people to make him het when things don’t get right, the Englishman says it goes further than that.
The Steelmen have made a poor start to the 2014/15 campaign after three ‘Best of the Rest’ finishes in the SPFL Premiership.
But the former St Mirren and Wycombe man is adamant only hard work and determination will change it around.
[pullquote]You want to give the fans something to sing about, you want to send the people who work here home happy.[/pullquote]
Asked if he felt he and the squad was letting the manager down with current performances, he replied: “It’s not just the manager, it’s the whole club, the supporters and the people who work here; it weighs heavily on you.
“After the game against Partick, the same thoughts were in everyone’s heads. You want to give the fans something to sing about, you want to send the people who work here home happy.
“Even personally, when you go home and you’re with your family you are always questioning what you could do differently.
“It’s not been happening and all you can do is come in, train and work harder and give it your best shot. The dressing room is still very much together, we all want to do well and hopefully that will lead to some wins.”
TV: McCall calls for guts and hardworkFriday 17 October 2014
Stuart McCall says hard work is the key to getting the Steelmen back on track after a disappointing start to the season.
The Fir Parkers have won just twice in nine games and sit at the wrong end of the SPFL Premiership table.
It’s an unfamiliar position given the relative success of the last few years and given the stability of the squad over the summer, has came as a surprise to many.
McCall is bullish about the prospects, he takes his share of the ‘blame’ for the current positioning.
However, the former Scotland International believes sticking together and double efforts is the best way to turn things around – including training each day this week with no ‘day off’ for the players.
[pullquote]We know we’ve got no divine right to be where we have been in the last few years. The only way is to work as hard as you can and stick at it and have a belief that results will change[/pullquote]
Speaking to the broadcast press ahead of Saturday’s game with Dundee, the 50-year old said: “Most games we’ve played this season have been fairly tight and I expect it will be the same tomorrow.
“There are such fine lines between the teams in this league. We’ve not really had the breaks at certain times in games, I think back to the save Scott Fox makes to tip Ojamaa’s header off the bar in our last match. If that goes in, the whole match is probably different.
“That’s the way it has been going for us. In saying that, we need to improve our performance in order to get better results. We would all agree, both coaching staff and players, we can do much better.
“We know we’ve got no divine right to be where we have been in the last few years. The only way is to work as hard as you can and stick at it and have a belief that results will change.”
Helen Templeton’s Blog #7Friday 17 October 2014
Motherwell ladies are still on track to achieve manager Graeme McArthur’s target of remaining unbeaten to the close of the season after a convincing 7-0 result against Stranraer at home last weekend.
The ladies took control right from the first whistle, dominating possession and creating endless chances. Stranraer worked tirelessly to keep Motherwell from penetrating their back line, but couldn’t stop the inevitable.
A barrage of attacks on the visitor’s rear guard in the first half of the game was just too difficult to control. As the half time whistle blew, Well ladies had a comfortable 5-0 lead.
A few early changes into the second half meant fresh legs for well ladies and an opportunity for younger players to shine and that they did, helping the team score two more goals to add to the tally. A slightly slower paced second half performance, but a well deserved three points to take away from the game.
McArthur said: “I was really pleased with the first half performance, but we need to learn how to keep it going throughout the second half. I felt we controlled the game throughout and were rarely threatened, but our speed of play can be better and we know that. I felt in the first half we moved the ball exceptionally well and played some wonderful football, which we need to continue to carry on doing as we have shown we are more than capable of doing so.”
This weekend coming sees tough competition for the ‘Well ladies and one the squad is very much looking forward to, Graeme continued “We are looking forward now to the Renfrew game where a win would see us leapfrog them into 3rd place in the league, however we’re well aware how tough the game will be, and the players are firmly focussed on a good performance and hopefully getting 3 points”
Renfrew Stallions v Motherwell Ladies
Sunday 12th October
Sunday 12th October, The Under 9s play at K-Park, 12noon – 1.30pm.
The Under 11s squad played the same tough Central team from last week. Another difficult learning curve for the girls, but Coach Laura Daly was pleased with how the girls performed “I’m so proud of all my girls, they passed the ball so well but unfortunately we were just pushed off the ball a bit by bigger and tougher opponents.
“We definitively held our own in the 2nd half which was a real test of character after a hard lesson last week. I am confident if we continue to grow and develop as a squad, experience will go a long way to help us beat physically stronger teams like this.”
Saturday 11th October: The Under 11s Travel to Huntershill to play Rossvale yellow, 11am KO.
With only two weeks remaining in this competitive season, Charlie Bennett (the man behind the scenes) tells us about his role at the club and just why he is so passionate about all that is claret and amber.
General Manager, Motherwell Football Club Community Trust
How long have you been at Motherwell FC:
I started in April 2010
How did you get involved at the club:
I worked with North Lanarkshire Council and we did some partnership working with the club around lifelong learning and health and wellbeing. Through this I got to know former Chief Executive, Leeann Dempster. After 34 years with the Council I took early retirement. Leeann heard about this and offered me a role at the Fir Park to revamp the community programme. I’ve been here since.
Tell us a bit more about your job role what are your key objectives:
My role as General Manager is the strategic development of the Trust across its four key themes of increasing participation in sport, health and wellbeing, lifelong learning and regeneration. Our key objective is to use sport to inspire and motivate people and communities to profoundly change their lives for the better. I’m also tea maker for Linda Gibson and no stranger to the hoover in the Cooper Stand.
What do you enjoy most about your job:
Making Linda’s tea!
No seriously, there are lots of things to enjoy. Personally I have enjoyed the challenge having such a varied role brings. It’s not unusual for me to be talking to the Scottish Government in the morning, attend a meeting with other SPFL clubs in the afternoon, and be talking with parents in the evening.
Professionally I enjoy the fact we can have a really positive effect on people’s lives. Over 100,000 people a year attend our programmes and access our resources, which is fantastic. We’ve been able to create a range of job opportunities for young people too and it’s wonderful that hundreds of people, male and female from very young to not so young, every week are playing for Motherwell FC at a community level. Some of the boys playing in our community teams are moving through to Academy set ups with Motherwell FC and other teams, which is something we are very proud of too.
Can you tell us any inside info into plans for the facilty at Muirhouse:
We’ve just finished the community consultation, which means we can take forward our plans to the Council and funding bodies. There’s still a lot to do but it’s an exciting project with real community benefit.
You often attend the ladies games, what’s your thoughts on this season:
I’ve really enjoyed watching the Ladies. We have some really good players in the team and people may be surprised at the technical ability on show. We beat Claremont 9-1 earlier in the season with two guys standing beside me describing Pammi Liddell as a ‘top burd’ after she flicked the ball with her heel over her head and volleyed into the top corner. The goal you scored a couple of weeks ago too Dibsy when you waltzed through the opposing defence was also class.
There have been disappointments. Drawing with Claremont, and Kilmarnock and losing to Paisley Saints probably cost us the runner up spot in the league.
I think generally it’s been a good season. There has been a turnover of players, which has meant there hasn’t always been continuity in selection, but we have improved the squad significantly throughout the season and we have good quality now.
Women’s football has been a huge learning curve and nerve-wracking at times. Some of the players we have signed are really big personalities and have been top international players. It was quite daunting speaking to Linda Gibson when she was considering moving to us, and meeting with the likes of Toni Mason, Amy Bulloch, and Ainsley Duncan (sorry Douglas ;-)) to convince them to sign for a Second Division team in its first season. Pammi Liddell just petrified me (and still does – only kidding ;-))
What are your aspirations for the ladies team:
Put simply we want to be in the Scottish Women’s Premier League in two seasons. When we get there the plan is not just to survive, but to challenge for the league and cups. We are under no illusions there will be challenges along the way but that is our vision. We also want to see Motherwell players in Scotland jerseys.
Ami Bulloch, Ainsley Douglas and others in our team are capable of doing this, but we need to be in the SWPL for this to realistically happen. We’re looking for other players such as Demi McCulloch, Nicole Goodwin, Karen Wright and young Natasha to name just a few to push on in the new season and prove how good they really are. Laura Smith can be important for us next year. She has the skill and desire to play at a higher level.
We also, very much, want the Ladies and indeed all our players to enjoy being part of the Motherwell family and to feel they are valued as well as challenged.
What’s the squad looking like for next season:
Very competitive. We have been successful in retaining Toni Mason, Ami Bulloch, Pammi Liddell, and a certain Dibsy Templeton for the season ahead, which is a huge boost for us. Although we can’t talk to players who are currently with other teams until the season finishes at the end of the month we’re confident of bringing several high profile players with SWPL, and international experience to Fir Park.
If we manage to sign all our targets, and we are quietly confident we will, allied to the talent we already have in the squad I think we can promise the fans an exciting brand of football next season.
What goals had the club set itself for it’s first year up and running:
I think in terms of female football it was to get a ladies team playing in the SWPL, complete our player pathway, establish the Performance Centre, and create more awareness of the female game.
Have you achieved these goals:
Yeah I would say we have to a great extent achieved those goals. The Performance Centre is particularly exciting and unique in the UK. It’s probably more European than British in its focus and great credit needs to go to Ainsley Douglas and Linda Gibson for its concept, design and delivery. Our Facebook stats say your blogs reach 14,000 users so I think we are creating that awareness too.
What goals have you set as a club for next season:
For the ladies we’ve set a target of winning the league, gaining promotion, winning the league cup and having a good run in the Scottish Cup. If that’s not enough we want to achieve this through fast, exciting, attacking football whilst respecting other teams – which sadly sometimes is not the case in our current league.
What does success look like for you:
Motherwell FC Ladies winning the Scottish Women’s Premier League and our players representing Scotland in the European Championship and World Cup.
What has been your most memorable moment at MFC so far:
In terms of the ladies there have been very many great goals, saves, and laughs but the most memorable moments have involved meeting people. I particularly enjoyed meeting Anna Signeul ,the Scottish Ladies Team Manager. She has been incredibly supportive to us and is such a genuine person. I hope her hard work and commitment to the Scottish Ladies team is repaid with a play off victory against the Netherlands.
Almost forgot – another memorable moment is when Pammi Liddell brings in pizza
Hmmm! Sounds like there’s a story to tell there Pammi/Charlie!?
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me Charlie, it’s a real privilege to get the chance to speak to such an important cog in the wheel here at Motherwell. You do a fantastic job, thank you for giving us such an in depth insight! Keep up the great work. I wish you all the luck in your venture for silverware and promotion, as well as the ongoing plans to get the fantastic new Muirhouse facility in motion