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)