Extended highlights from Excelsior Stadium where Motherwell 20s lost 1-0 to Falkirk.
The U20s crashed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Falkirk at a sodden Excelsior Stadium.
Motherwell arguably created the better chances but fell behind to a Thomas Grant goal and couldn’t find a reply.
Jonatan Johansson made two changes to his side from his that drew 2-2 with Ross County a fortnight ago, goalkeeper Max Currie dropping out for Ross Stewart and David Ferguson being replaced by Ben Hall.
‘Well started the more likely side and almost broke the deadlock in the eighth minute.
Dom Thomas and Jack McMillan combined well down the left wing to create some space for Steven Higgins who tried the spectacular from 25 yards but his effort flew well wide.
The young Steelmen continued to press and looked dangerous on the flanks. Again, McMillan worked the ball down the left, fed it into McCall who, with the outside of his boot, wonderfully slid in Higgins who this time was denied by Bowman, who dived low to his left to palm the ball away.
From the resulting corner, the ball broke to MacLean who shot from an extremely narrow angle on his left foot. He did well to get it on target but Bowman was equal to it, acrobatically tipping over for another corner.
It took until the half hour mark for Falkirk to try and test Stewart in the Motherwell goal.
Grant turned and drove at the ‘Well defence and from 30 yard unleashed a great effort with his left foot. It flew just past, although Stewart looked to have it covered.
This was to prove a warning sign as Falkirk began to come into the match.
Robbie McNab spun Cadden with a clever pass to Grant deep in midfield. He spotted the run of Shepherd but from an all too narrow angle, all he could find was the side netting.
Minutes later Dylan Mackin had the ball in the net, but the linesman had already flagged for offside as the big striker had strayed beyond the centre back when looking to get on the end of Watt’s deep ball in. This would be the last action of a largely uninspired first half and a freezing and soaking wet Excelsior Stadium.
Johansson’s men appeared to come out with some fire in their bellies in the second half and within five minutes had three good chances.
Firstly the energetic Chris Cadden did well to get to the byline but his deflected cross was eventually dealt with by the Falkirk defence, despite Bowman spilling it.
A minute later, some Neill did well to find Thomas just inside the Falkirk box. He jinked forward looking to get a shot away before opting to pass to Higgins whose shot was bravely charged down by Eadie.
From the resulting corner, Mackin rose highest and was unlucky to see his header cleared off the line by Dick, who was well placed to sweep to safety.
By now it seemed like it was only a matter of time until Motherwell scored but it was The Bairns who took the lead and disappointingly it came from a Motherwell corner.
Thomas had tried to find Morgyn Neill on the edge of the box Martin got to it first and nodded it to Grant well inside the Falkirk half. He managed to skip past Watt which left only McMillan to deal with O’Hara. The Falkirk man held it up and eventually squared to Grant who, with fifty-four minutes on the click, was left with an easy finish.
After that, Falkirk sat in and it took ‘Well until the seventieth minute to get another sniff of goal.
Steven Higgins won a free-kick twenty yard out which Mackin took. He caught it sweetly and, with Bowman beaten, saw it crash off the top side of the bar, a sign that perhaps this wasn’t going to be Motherwell’s night.
With The Steelmen pushing forward for the equaliser, Falkirk should really have been two goals up. The busy Grant made it look all too easy as he jinked down the left wing before squaring to Shepherd. From eight yards he somehow could only succeed in hitting the post.
With time ticking away, ‘Well were desperately looking for a leveller and it very nearly came in stoppage time.
Luke Watt launched a long throw to Mackin who flicked it into the danger area. After a stramash in the middle of the box, the ball fell kindly to substitute Liam Anderson. However he was always off balance and blazed his shot well over the bar.
Motherwell U20s: Stewart, Watt, McMillan, Hall, Neill, McCall, Cadden, Mackin, Higgins, Thomas, MacLean (Anderson)
Subs Not Used: Currie, McNulty, Anderson, R. Leitch, Watters
Jonatan Johansson’s Under 20s are in action tonight when they take on Falkirk at The Excelsior Stadium.
The young Steelmen’s bounced back from 0-2 to draw 2-2 with Ross County a fortnight ago and last week’s game against Partick Thistle was postponed due to bad weather .
A win could take the Fir Parkers level with tonight’s opposition, albeit Falkirk have a game in hand and they themselves will be keen for three points after their 2-2 draw at home to to Hibs last time out.
The match takes place tonight (Tuesday 16th December). Kick off is 6pm.
New manager Ian Baraclough was officially unveiled to the press this afternoon.
The Englishman took his first training session at Dalziel Park this morning before meeting the Scottish press, outlining his plans for the rest of the season and beyond.
You can hear what he had to say by clicking on the video above.
Action pictures from this afternoon’s 2-2 SPFL Premiership draw with Ross County at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Although disappointed with the late goal, caretaker boss Kenny Black conceded today’s 2-2 draw with Ross County was fair.
The Steelmen trailed County at the break after Tony Dingwall beat Twardzik with the last kick of the half. But goals from strikers Henrik Ojamaa and John Sutton put the hosts back in the driving seat.
However, with seconds left on the clock, Dingwall fired home an equaliser to deny Motherwell a much needed three points against their league rivals.
Despite conceding so late, the caretaker boss admitted he felt a point apiece was probably a fair reflection of the ninety minutes.
Speaking to MFC TV after the game Black said, “It was a rollercoaster of a game, with defining moments at the end of each half.
[pullquote] They got themselves in the lead with the last kick of the first half then snatched a point with the very last kick of the ball in the second half but if I’m going to be honest, a draw was probably a fair result in the end.[/pullquote]
“We haven’t been in a winning position that much this season, so it’s a natural reaction from the players to drop back a little to protect our lead, but at times I thought we defended well.
“All I can do is ask the players to give me one hundred percent and that’s what they have done.
“Apart from the Inverness game, they have been spot on. The game lacked a bit of quality but they showed great desire and determination to try and win the game and it was just unfortunate we couldn’t sign off with three points.
Gavin McCafferty Fir Park
A late, late Ross County leveller denied Motherwell all three points at Fir Park this afternoon.
Two goals in six second-half minutes from John Sutton and Henrik Ojamaa cancelled out Tony Dingwall’s first half opener as the Steelmen edged towards a five-point gap over the bottom side.
However, Dingwall fired home from 14 yards exactly three minutes into injury time to seal a 2-2 draw and deny Motherwell a hat-trick of positive news after the ownership and manager announcements in the last 24 hours.
The club had announced on Friday night that a deal in principle had been agreed for Lanarkshire-born businessman Les Hutchison to complete a takeover in the coming weeks in a partnership with the Well Society fans group.
The club also announced Ian Baraclough as the new manager, and he watched from the stand as Kenny Black brought his caretaker stint to an end. There was little between the sides in the first half, with neither able to find the creativity needed to translate possession into chances.
Sutton flashed an early header wide for the hosts following a good break and cross from Ojamaa and the striker had another decent effort when he turned and shot just inside the box, but Antonio Reguero comfortably saved.
County’s movement was slightly superior to Motherwell’s and the home defence, missing the injured Craig Reid, Fraser Kerr and Steven Hammell and suspended Simon Ramsden, were occasionally looking stretched.
And it was disorganisation at the back that saw them concede a goal on the stroke of half-time. Zaine Francis-Angol was drawn into the middle when opposing left-back Jamie Reckord floated a cross to the back post, leaving Dingwall free.
The winger fired a powerful strike that was well stopped by Dan Twardzik but he still had the time to control the rebound and fire a low shot into the far corner.
County could have put the game to bed in the opening stages of the second half as they continued to make space inside the Motherwell half. Jake Jervis and Graham Carey fired just wide from long range and Twardzik spilled a shot from distance from Dingwall, with Mark O’Brien perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Jervis from the follow-up.
Paul Quinn then missed an open goal after Twardzik had parried a Jervis volley. County soon paid the price in the 53rd minute. Ojamaa got the ball out wide for Lionel Ainsworth – a half-time replacement for pre-match injury doubt Iain Vigurs – and the winger crossed over Reguero for Sutton to head home from close range.
Motherwell soon went ahead when Ojamaa raced on to Josh Law’s flick and fired a low shot into the corner from 18 yards.
Going ahead appeared to have a negative affect on the time though, and the team looked both tense and nervous. As they got deeper and deeper, it invited County onto them.
Twardzik and Stuart Carswell combined to stop County sub Michael Gardyne converting from close range following a corner, and the goalkeeper saved Jackson Irvine’s looping header as the visitors pressed.
That did leave gaps at the back and Ainsworth fired just wide after running from his own half.
Gardyne looked set to level in the 85th minute when a cross fell for him on the edge of the six-yard box but he hit the post and Motherwell looked to have survived the late pressure until Dingwall arrowed a first-time finish into the corner following a lay-off with the last kick of the ball.
It was a real sting in the tail for the Steelmen, but few who watched the game could argue the Dingwall club didn’t deserve a point from the match. A draw, on reflection, was probably just about right.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 2 – 2 Ross County #MFCvRCFC
93mins: Goal! – Incredibly, Ross County equalise, Dingwall again. 2-2
91mins: Motherwell sub, Ojamaa makes way for Cadden #MFCvRCFC
90mins: There will be three minutes added on #MFCvRCFC
87mins: Motherwell sub: Erwin on for Law #MFCvRCFC
84mins: Gardyne hits the post! Arquin nods it down, he got a toe to it and beat Twardzik but sees it come back off the post #MFCvRCFC
81mins: Corner to County, bit of pingball before finding the head of Irvine whose looping header is clutched to safety by Twardzik #MFCvRCFC
71mins: Another ‘Well breakaway, this time Ojamaa combines with Ainsworth, the latter being inches away from his cross #MFCvRCFC
66mins: County corner creates a scramble in the box but thankfully it is swept away to safety by Sutton! #MFCvRCFC
65mins: Quick counter attack creates a decent chance for Ainsworth who drags his shot inches past the post #MFCvRCFC
63mins: Another County sub, Jervis off for Gardyne #MFCvRCFC
61mins: Ross County sub, Cardle on for Carey #MFCvRCFC
59mins: It’s 2-1! Ojamaa takes it on himself, drives forward and fires low past Reguero!!! COYW!
Sutton appeared to have picked up a head knock but is back on with the head bandage on.#MFCvRCFC
It’s 1-1! Ainsworth clips a lovely ball to the back post which SUTTON nods home with ease. Come on ‘Well!! #MFCvRCFC
50mins: Glaring chance for Quinn as he follows in a Jervis shot. Should burst the net but fires well over.#MFCvRCFC
49mins: County break away and with options either side, Dingwall opts to shoot. Bounces just in front of Twardzik who does eventually clears
And theres a half time sub, Ainsworth on for Vigurs #MFCvRCFC
Second half is underway #MFCvRCFC
HT: Motherwell 0 – 1 Ross County #MFCvRCFC
45mins: Goal – County take the lead through Dingwall who fires home at the second attempt. 0-1
43mins: Arquin dithers as he goes through one on one with McManus. Could haave shot but Mick holds him up well allowing O’Brien to clear
39mins: Fine defending from McManus, who slid in at the front post to clear from Jervis who had a good scoring opportunity. #MFCvRCFC
36mins: Irvine picks up a loose ball about 20 yards out but is always leaning back and hooks his shot well over #MFCvRCFC
31mins: Ojamaa wins a free-kick, wide on the left. Quinn heads clear but it comes back to Sutton who shoots on the turn. Reguero saves.
26mins: Scrappy ‘Well defending gifts a corner to County…which McManus heads away at the front post #MFCvRCFC
22mins: Ojamaa does superbly to win a corner. VIgurs’ delivery falls at Sutton’s feet but County sweep clear! #MFCvRCFC
19mins: First shot on target goes to County. Arquin sprints down the left and fires off a shot from 20 yards. Twardzik gathers quite easily
16mins: Decent chance for Woods as he darted forward and found some space on the right of the box but seemed to slip as he shot. Well wide
10mins: Up the other end, Twardzik does well to punch away Carey’s deep cross as it looked destined for the head of Irvine #MFCvRCFC
8mins: CHANCE! Ojamaa whips in a great ball from the left to Sutton whose diving header is just wide of the post. Unlucky! #MFCvRCFC
5mins: Even first five minutes. Neither side really having a sniff of goal as yet. #MFCvRCFC
Lasley and Law get the game underway. COYW! #MFCvRCFC
Motherwell caretaker manager Kenny Black:
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre:
Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm the appointment of Ian Baraclough as the club’s 23rd manager.
After a rigorous interview process, Baraclough was the outstanding candidate, with the Board hugely impressed by his vision and plans for both on and off the field.
The 44-year old enjoyed a 20-year playing career with the likes of Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and Queen’s Park Rangers, before finishing at Scunthorpe United in 2008.
When Nigel Adkins was appointed Irons manager in November 2006, Baraclough was made first-team coach, a role he later gave up playing to concentrate on.
When Adkins left for Southampton, Ian was made manager of the then Championship side, but in difficult circumstances, left six months later.
He then joined SSE Airtricity League side Sligo Rovers and led them to one of their most successful periods ever.
Despite taking over the day before the start of the campaign, The Bit o’ Red won the league for the first time in 34 years, pipping Drogheda United to the title and leading his side in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
In his second season, Sligo once again qualified for Europe, finishing third in the table, five points behind winners St Patrick’s. However, success came in the shape of the FAI Cup, which they won by beating Drogheda in the final.
His third and final season brought more success, this time completing the set by winning the all-Ireland Setanta Cup, beating Dundalk 1-0 in the Final, the first time the club had ever lifted that trophy.
After leaving Sligo, Baraclough has been doing extensive scouting for Huddersfield Town, a similar role to what he performed at Watford when he was between jobs previously, and brings a wealth of contacts to the role.
Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk, Baraclough said: “I am delighted and find myself in a privileged position. I’ve done some research into the history of the club and I know how well the football club has done, certainly over recent years. It will be a hard task to take over from Stuart but one I’m very excited to take up.
“I’m a positive guy and I’m upbeat most of the time. The players will find that and I’ll try and get that across to them. I want this club to feel energised and start climbing the table as soon as possible.
“I want players to be comfortable on the ball and not give up possession easily. I want the players to be full of expression and play with a freedom, which they will enjoy. They have got to be hard working though. I demand hard work and honesty from players and I think most fans can relate to that. If they can see players putting in a shift, they can forgive mistakes. They will make mistakes but if they are trying the right things in the right areas then there will be no qualms from me and the coaching staff.
“Short term my aim is to keep this club in the Premiership. There is no easy way to go about that and it is a situation that hasn’t been at this football club in a few years but it doesn’t scare me. I feel as though there is more than enough to push us up the table in the short term then try and build for long term by producing players. I am big on development, so the young players will certainly have a pathway to the first team if they are good enough.
“I want to win trophies. Why not Motherwell Football Club? Why can’t we win the Premiership? You’ve got to go out with that thinking otherwise you won’t achieve anything. To have days out in the cup are great for fans,but they are important. It’s a way into Europe and I’ve been used to that and want more of it, as I’m sure the fans do too.
“I want to give the fans as much pride in their team and town as soon as possible. I’m not going to say we need to win these games but psychologically these next few games could be massive for the season and I’m very confident that we can get out the bottom three and start moving up to mid-table and then aim for as high as position as possible.”
Motherwell Football Club and the ‘Well Society can confirm that they have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mr Les Hutchison.
If the transaction set out in the MOU is concluded, Mr Hutchison will provide the club with working capital finance, alongside the ongoing funding support provided by the Society, which has just provided another loan totalling £100k to the club
This finance will take the form of an interest free loan, repayable over a maximum period of five years.
During that time the Society Board have committed to growing both membership numbers and funds in order to demonstrate that the supporter base is fully behind the concept of fan ownership.
Once Mr Hutchison’s loan has been repaid in full, it is anticipated the Society will become the owners of the club. Mr Hutchison will effectively act as facilitator for the transition of ownership of the club to supporters, provided there is clear evidence that more of our fan base is willing to support the initiative.
We have now entered a 30-day exclusivity period to enable financial and legal due diligence to be undertaken.
Mr Les Hutchison stated: “I look forward to working with the Society and the Club to help them achieve their objective of fan ownership and be financially sustainable within five years.”
Mr Brian McCafferty, acting Chairman of the Society, added: “We would like to sincerely thank Les for his generous loan to the club which has kept alive hopes of community ownership. We emphatically believe the partnership between Les and the society provides, by far, the best solution to both the club’s short-term financial needs and its long -term sustainability and success.”
The club can also confirm that it has formally interviewed six potential candidates for the vacant manager’s position and hopes to be able to make an announcement of an appointment shortly.