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