Extended highlights from East End Park as Motherwell U20s draw 2-2 with Dunfermline Athletic.
TV: Highlights from East End ParkMonday 26 January 2015
TV: JJ takes positives despite late goalMonday 26 January 2015
Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson was satisfied with his side despite losing a last-gasp goal at East End Park tonight.
A very young Steelmen side were up against a far more experienced Pars and trailed early on, before getting their noses in front thanks to Chris Cadden and Dom Thomas.
The three points looked to be heading back to Lanarkshire but for a 91st minute leveler to put something of a dampener on things.
However, given it was the first game in five weeks and such an inexperienced side, the former Finnish International choose to take positives.
[pullquote]We looked quite comfortable and were winning the ball high up the pitch, but maybe showed a bit of naivety at the end, chasing more goals as opposed to seeing the game out.[/pullquote]
“Overall I am quite pleased,” Johansson said after the match.
“I thought we started quite poorly and you could tell we hadn’t played a competitive game in almost five weeks.
“We weren’t pressing hard enough and weren’t showing enough aggression and gave a away a goal from a set-play again. We’ve talked about that before and those goals are costing us this season.
“We then played quite well and deserved to take the lead when we did. We looked quite comfortable and were winning the ball high up the pitch, but maybe showed a bit of naivety at the end, chasing more goals as opposed to seeing the game out.
Dunfermline U20s 2 – 2 Motherwell U20sMonday 26 January 2015
A youthful Motherwell U20s were held to a 2-2 draw by Dunfermline at East End Park this evening.
After going behind early on, Chris Cadden and Dom Thomas had the Steelmen in front and looking good for all three points.
However, with almost the last kick of the ball, Pars sub PJ Crossan fired a long-range shot bouncing past Brett Long to rescue a point.
For their first match back after the winter showdown, Jonatan Johansson made six changes to the team that lost to Aberdeen at Station Park. Gunnar Nielsen, Danny McNulty, Luke Watt, Morgyn Neill, Lee Erwin and Dylan Mackin all dropped out, replaced by Brett Long, Jack McMillan, David Ferguson, Adam Cummins, Craig McCall and Craig Moore.
The Pars, coached by ex ‘Well favourite Jim Paterson, were far more experienced and including first-teamers Lewis Spence, Ryan Thomson, Allan Smith and Faissal El Bakhtaoui in their starting eleven.
The Steelmen made the worst start possible when the Pars opened the scoring with their first attack.
Scott Mercer’s pinpoint corner from the left was perfect for fellow defender Declan O’Kane and he rose unopposed at the back post to head home from close range.
Incredibly, just seconds later, Motherwell might have leveled. A nice ball in from the right eventually landed at Steven Higgins and his sfirst-time hot looked net bound, but for a timely defensive block by Mercer at the expense of a corner.
Pars were setting the early pace though and El Bakhtaoui almost doubled his side’s advantage. The French-Moroccan front man skipped past a number of challenges only for his low shot to be kept out by a combination of Brett Long and the right hand post.
‘Well looked threatening on the counter and came close to leveling through Higgins again after good hold up play from Craig Moore, however the low bouncing shot went a yard or side wide of the post with Ryan Goodfellow at full stretch.
Higgins was proving the main threat for the Steelmen in the first half and he brought out a good stop from Goodfellow. Thomas and MacLean combined to create the chance, Higgins eventually smashing the shot at goal, forcing the Pars stopper to tip over.
It stayed 1-0 until the 38th minute when ‘Well got themselves level and it again came from a counter. MacLean put the Fir Parkers on the attack, eventually laying it forward for Moore. The little striker did well to keep possession before teeing up Cadden who flashed a low shot under Goodfellow and into the corner of the net.
Buoyed by their goal, ‘Well went immediately on the attack and should have been awarded a penalty when Moore was tripped in the area, unfortunately nothing doing from referee Scott Lambie.
At the other end, O’Kane had another header, this time from a free kick, but it was straight at Long who saved.
The Steelmen started the second half on the front foot and Thomas posted early intentions with a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Mercer had a free kick straight at Long and MacLean had a similar effort from distance comfortably blocked by Goodfellow before ‘Well took the lead in spectacular circumstances.
Dom Thomas was the scorer, curling a superb free-kick high into the top corner after Stuart Urquhart had pushed Moore to the ground.
Confidence was up and ‘Well started to take control of the game. Within a minute, Cadden had brought out another save from the Pars keeper, who got down well to hold the low shot.
Thomas was tormenting the home defence with jinking runs and almost scored a wonder goal, beating two men on the edge of the area before dragging a shot just wide of target.
Play swung from end-to-end with both sides passing up chances to score. Higgins at one end, with Pars desperately clearing, and El Bakhtaoui at the other end sending a bouncing shot just wide.
The home side came within inches of leveling with a Mercer free kick that bounced inches wide. Thomas tried something similar at the other end, only for his effort to fly a yard or so over the bar.
‘Well had a chance to settle it only for Thomas to fire over before Pars leveled things up with the last kick of the ball. Substitute PJ Crossan collected an excellent forward pass, turned before striking it low past Long to earn his side a point.
Motherwell: Long, McMillan (McNulty – 76mins, Ferguson, Cummins, McCall, MacLean, Cadden, Thomas, Higgins, Moore (R.Leitch – 63mins), Hall
Subs Not Used: Currie, Campbell, Anderson, Watters
Under 20s back in actionMonday 26 January 2015
Jonatan Johansson’s Under 20s are in action tonight when they take on Dunfermline at East End Park .
The young Steelmen have had a mini winter break, with the previous two fixtures against Hearts and Partick Thistle being postponed due to bad weather.
A win could take the Fir Parkers above tonight’s opposition, whose last outing was a 3-2 defeat to Hibs two weeks ago.
The match takes place tonight (Monday 26th January). Kick off is 7pm.
TV: Baraclough upbeat despite lossSaturday 24 January 2015
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough took heart from his team’s performance, despite the 3-1 defeat at Tannadice today.
The Steelmen have been on a miserable run of form in recent weeks and although they weren’t able to stop the rot in terms of results, most ‘Well fans in attendance will have been heartened by the vastly improved display.
The Fir Parkers were denied a clear penalty kick after sixteen minutes and even thought they had taken the lead through John Sutton only to see the goal chalked off after the referee and his assistant ruled the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
‘Well did drop behind courtesy of goals from Telfer and Fojuit, but Simon Ramsden brought the visitors back into it with ten minutes left to play.
It looked as if Baraclough’s men might go on to earn a deserved share of the spoils, but alas, another goal from Telfer in the dying seconds ended those efforts.
[pullquote]All over, despite the loss, it was an encouraging performance. We’ve now got to build on that, ensure that sort of commitment is not a one off and go into next week’s game with the backing of our support.[/pullquote]
The ‘Well boss commented: “I said a couple of weeks ago that there is ways to lose a football game and that was probably one today.
“We’ve came off the park having given everything and the travelling fans saw plenty of heart, spirit, desire and commitment.
“I think we’ve been hard done to with a couple of decisions from the match officials but I don’t want that to detract away from elements of our performance.
“We created chances and never stopped going, even after going down 0-2. We kept driving forward and scored a great goal through Simon Ramsden.
“All over, despite the loss, it was an encouraging performance. We’ve now got to build on that, ensure that sort of commitment is not a one off and go into next week’s game with the backing of our support.
“They will have seen that despite everything, we’re still together and that gives us hope.”
Dundee Utd defeat in picturesSaturday 24 January 2015
Action pictures from today’s 3-1 SPFL Premiership defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Dundee Utd 3 – 1 MotherwellSaturday 24 January 2015
Phil McGhee at Tannadice
Despite a vastly improved performance, ‘Well crashed to their fifth straight defeat at Tannadice this afternoon.
A second-half double from midfielder Charlie Telfer allied to defender Jaroslaw Fojut’s header proved enough for Jackie McNamara’s men, despite Simon Ramsden’s goal on 79 minutes for the visitors.
That doesn’t tell the story of the game though with ‘Well posing a threat throughout what turned out to be a controversial afternoon.
Motherwell started the brighter of the two teams and most of the play was towards the Eddie Thompson stand. The first effort came via Stephen Pearson, but his goal bound looking shot hit a deflection on route and spun away to safety.
‘Well then had the first of two penalty shouts when Lee Erwin was tackled inside the area. On first viewing, it looked like a good interception, although the award of a goal kick was certainly puzzling. Minutes earlier, United had a claim when the ball struck McManus’ arm, but it certainly appeared to be ball to hand, with the defender just a yard or so away.
Then, nine minutes later, there was another claim but this one was far easier to call – it was a stonewaller! Lee Erwin cut the ball back for Pearson inside the area, and after beating Morris to the ball; the midfielder was cleaned out by Callum Morris.
Referee Craig Thomson, who was right up with play, inexplicably waved the claims away.
It was all Motherwell at this stage, who were regularly getting into the final third, but a lack of composure would cost them. Lee Erwin was the creator for both Pearson and John Sutton, but their touch deserted both of them at the vital stage.
It took the Terrors almost until the half hour to settle into the game. Morris had a header straight at Twardzik. Ten minutes later, Blair Spittal brought out an excellent stop from the Czech keeper, who turned away his curling effort at full stretch.
The Steelmen stopper had to look smart to stop from Stuart Armstrong before a huge moment of controversy minutes from the interval.
‘Well thought they had taken the lead when Pearson’s run and square ball for Sutton was prodded goalwards by a combination of the striker and the recovering Sean Dillon. As it bounced up, Morris hooked it off the line.
Craig Thomson initially awarded the goal, then after consultation with his assistant, David McGeachie, chalked it off. The visitors were furious and to make matters worse, and even more confusing, a drop ball was awarded on the edge of the six-yard box, which Motherwell weren’t allowed to contest.
Bizarre stuff to end the half, but the Steelmen would certainly go into the dressing room feeling content with a very positive first half.
They continued that vein of form as the second kicked off, with Erwin firing wide after good build-up play by Pearson again.
Then, on 57 minutes, the Steelmen passed up yet another excellent opportunity. Good harassing front play from Sutton, holding off Fojut, allowed Pearson to wriggle free on the edge of the area. With just Cierzniak to beat, the 10-times capped for Scotland International fired straight at the Pole who blocked.
It was to prove a pivotal miss as with virtually their next attack, United took the lead.
Telfer collected a loose ball from 20 yards after Connolly has started an attack and the former Rangers midfielder picked his spot to send an accurate right-foot effort through a ruck of bodies and into Twardzik’s bottom corner.
On 69 minutes the home team went 2-0 ahead in simple fashion, as Fojut’s free header from Connolly’s corner beat Twardzik low down.
After all their good work, it looked as if the Steelmen would crumble but to their credit, they dusted themselves down and battled back into the game.
Indeed, they pulled a goal back when substitute Lionel Ainsworth dispossessed Dillon out wide, before crossing for Simon Ramsden to fire home a half-volley from 12 yards.
There was a sense that ‘Well could go on and earn the point they probably deserved. The hosts looked nervy, particularly at the back, and gave the ball away cheaply, much to the frustration of the 7,000 home crowd.
However, with ‘Well throwing everything at it, including a tantalizing low ball across the face from Moore that only just eluded the sliding Pearson, United sealed the win with a late third.
Ryan Dow made progress down the left and laid the ball into Telfer’s path to allow him to pick his spot from 18 yards.
It was a bitter blow for Baraclough’s men. However, they will travel home to Lanarkshire knowing similar battling performances, coupled with new faces and the return of some key personnel from injury, will hopefully see them in with a better chance of a return to winning ways.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Tannadice
FT: Dundee Utd 3 – 1 Motherwell #DUFCvMFC
92mins: Goal – Utd counter and Telfer slides it into the back of the net to make it 3-1 #DUFCvMFC
3 minutes added on #DUFCvMFC
82mins: Moore gets the better of Fojust and cuts the ball across goal. Inches away from Pearson! #DUFCvMFC
79mina: Dundee Utd sub, Armstong off for Paton #DUFCvMFC
77mins: Ramsden volleys home Ainsworth’s cross to make it 2-1. #DUFCvMFC
75mins: Motherwell sub, Ainsworth on for Carswell #DUFCvMFC
71mins: Pearson tries his luck from 25 yards and its not far wide of the post #DUFCvMFC
70mins: Dundee Utd sub, Mackay-Steven on for Connolly #DUFCvMFC
69mins: Goal – Fojut heads home a corner to make it 2-0 #DUFCvMFC
67mins: Morris is booked for wiping out Pearson on the half way line #DUFCvMFC
66mins: Motherwell sub, Law off for Moore #DUFCvMFC
64mins: Free-kick to ‘Well in a decent area, 25 yards out….Law drills it straight at Cierzniak #DUFCvMFC
61mins: Goal – Telfer makes it 1-0 with a low shot from distance #DUFCvMFC
60mins: Ball falls to Armstrong inside the box and he opts to hit it on the spin. Thankfully it is well over the bar #DUFCvMFC
57mins: Great chance for Watt as he barged his way through the defence. With Cierzniak to beat, he fired straight at him! #DUFCvMFC
55mins: Dundee Utd sub, Anier off for Ciftci #DUFCvMFC
47mins: Pearson bursts past the defence and sets up Erwin who skews his shot wide of the post #DUFCvMFC
Second half is underway #DUFCvMFC
HT: Dundee Utd 0 – 0 Motherwell #DUFCvMFC
..then for whatever reason went back over to him and chopped it off. Still 0-0 #DUFCvMFC
Pearson squared in Sutton who poked it goalwards and Morris cleared. Ref seemed to take inial advice from linesman and give goal….
Chopped off! Shambles! Ref gave the goal then changed his mind as the celebrations we in mid swing!
42mins: Twardzik again is called into action, this time to save from Armstrong, whose powerful strike was right at him #DUFCvMFC
38mins: Great save from Twardzik as Spittal had burst forward from right back and got a good shot away #DUFCvMFC
27mins: Morris gets on the end of a corner but his header is too weak to trouble Twardzik #DUFCvMFC
23mins: Utd win a corner….Connolly collects it at the back post and shoots but it’s deflected wide for another corner #DUFCvMFC
20mins: Another half chance. Erwin curls a ball over the Utd defence but it’s awkward for Sutton to control and Cierzniak gathers #DUFCvMFC
19mins: Erwin hooks in a deep cross which finds Pearson but his touch eludes him and the ball rolls out for a goal kick #DUFCvMFC
16mins: Another pen shout! Pearson looked to have been tripped as he went past Morris with only Cierzniak to beat but ref waves it away!
15mins: More positive play from ‘Well, this time the ball gets caught under Law’s feet as he jinked into the box looking to shoot #DUFCvMFC
13mins: Good work from Erwin down the right to cut the ball back across goal but there is no takers! #DUFCvMFC
Ref waves both away… #DUFCvMFC
8mins: Pen claims for both teams within a minute! Ball appeared to his McManus’ hand in the box then ‘Well counter and Erwin hits the deck
5mins: Utd win a free-kick wide on the right which Connolly bends in. Pearson is on hand to head clear the danger #DUFCvMFC
Law and Carswell get the game underway. COYW! #DUFCvMFC
The teams are out the tunnel, ‘Well in their white away kit, Utd in their Black and Orange #DUFCvMFC
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
“It was one that got away. I’m not going to sit here and cane the officials. It was one we had a good grip on. We created chances. We’ve got a bit of spirit about us.
“There was a lot of endeavour and desire to win individual battles. On another day it would have gone for us.”
Dundee Utd manager Jackie McNamara:
“This is a great three points. Motherwell were probably the better team in the first 15 minutes but after that I thought we came into it more and created enough chances to be deserved winners.”
TV: Short & long term goals for BarraFriday 23 January 2015
Ahead of Saturday’s match at Tannadice, ‘Well boss Ian Baraclough admits he wants his side to be more like Dundee Utd.
The Tannadice club has had some great success in both unearthing and developing young, exciting talent that not only have helped them to league and Cup success, but have also sold on at a healthy profit.
Although only recently appointed, the former Sligo boss is working extensively with club management and new perspective owner Les Hutchison to put similar solid foundations in place at Fir Park.
However, before that, there’s the important matter of three points this weekend, with the Fir Parkers desperate to return to winning ways after a run of poor results.
Speaking to the broadcast media, he said: “Dundee United have built it up (their infrastructure) and have been very successful.
“They have talented young players who are hungry and want to progress their careers and Dundee United have given them a platform to go and do that.
“The likes of Gary MacKay-Steven, who has just won his big move and Stuart Armstrong, who is apparently being courted by several clubs, names just two and demonstrates they have got it right.
“That’s exactly where we want to be and we’ll strive for that. Obviously it has to fit in with our finances and it will be our own identity.”
[pullquote]You find a way of winning games and you see the fact you are up against a bigger club, and people are writing you off, as a motivator.[/pullquote]
With United flying high at the top and ‘Well struggling near the foot, few will give the Fir Parkers much hope.
However, Barclough hopes to draw on his own personal experiences, and that of Motherwell’s in previous season, to demonstrate how things can turn against the odds.
He added: “You draw on all your experiences. I was managing Scunthorpe when they were in the Championship competing against teams with far superior budgets and you go into games wondering how you are going to compete against them, but you do.
“You find a way of winning games and you see the fact you are up against a bigger club, and people are writing you off, as a motivator.
“I used the analogy this morning that last season they got beat by Albion Rovers and lost 5-0 to Celtic and all of a sudden everything seemed on a slippery slope. The then went on a run of six wins in a row and it can turn like that. If you believe in yourselves and work hard, you will get through it.”
A huge part of the problems facing the Steelmen this season has been the horrendous injury list.
Keith Lasley suffered a broken toe several weeks ago and although is progressing well, is facing a real race against time to be fit. Stevie Hammell’s return from long-term injury has suffered a setback with the news that the defender’s groin will need a second operation.
They join the likes of Iain Vigurs (sciatic nerve), Zaine Francis-Angol (groin), Paul Lawson (calf), Jack Leitch (knee) and Bob McHugh (groin) on the sidelines, with both Henrik Ojamaa and Mark O’Brien unavailable through suspension.
The club’s strength and conditioning and sports science provision is another area Baraclough and the club is currently reviewing, with the unavailable list proving hugely testing for everyone.
“We need as many bodies as possible so the situation is a real frustration,” Baraclough admitted.
“Particularly Ojamaa and O’Brien, who are both suspended. We just need to manage things as best we can. It gives opportunities to either a young boy or another experienced head coming in; they’ve got to be ready to take it.”
TV: Ramsden calls for characterFriday 23 January 2015
Simon Ramsden insists hard work and character can pull ‘Well away from the bottom end of the table.
The Englishman joined in 2012 and in that time has helped steer ‘Well to two second place finishes but the season so far has been a different story with the Steelmen languishing near the bottom of the table.
“I don’t think anyone could have imagined how this season has panned out”, admitted Ramsden, speaking to the broadcast press this afternoon.
“I’ve been here nearly three seasons and over that period we’ve had some great success and I think when you are up there, a lot of teams give you a little bit of respect and maybe sit off you. When you are low in confidence and are down near the bottom, teams sense there is an opportunity there to try and capitilise on it.
[pullquote]That’s something we have to deal with. It’s a different pressure from when you’re at the top of the league and you can go and play your free-flowing football and express yourself.[/pullquote]
“Sometimes it is about digging in and showing a bit of character. We’d all like to go out there and play pretty football but if it takes a 1-0 scrappy effort where you have to get stuck in, that’s what we’re going to have to do.
We know what Utd are capable off and we will no doubt be written off but as a club, we need to stay together and getting stuck in and putting in some hard work will hopefully result in wins.”