Extended highlights from the Excelsior Stadium as the U20s battle back to earn a deserved point against Hibs.
TV: Highlights from Excelsior StadiumTuesday 03 February 2015
TV: Johansson praises ‘Well spiritTuesday 03 February 2015
Jonatan Johansson praised the character of his side as they fought back from two behind to earn a point against Hibs tonight.
The young Steelmen were trailing to a goal either side of the half-time interval, but when Dylan Mackin reduced the arrears with eighteen minutes left on the clock, it gave the home side hope.
They would get their reward for a battling performance when Danny McNulty won a ninetieth minute penalty, only for Dom Thomas to coolly slot past Tomáš Černý for a share of the spoils.
Although Johansson was frustrated at his team’s performance for an hour and the manner in which they conceded, he lauded their determination and spirit to battle back into the game.
[pullquote]My team demonstrated a lot of character to battle back into the match. Hibs is a good side, one of the best in this league, and despite having a youthful squad out there, we showed what we’re made of in the last third of the match.[/pullquote]
Speaking to MFC TV, the 106-times capped former Finnish International front man said: “ We were the second best side for sixty minutes, I have got to admit that, but it was of our own making.
“We perhaps gave them too much respect, waited on things to happen or for someone to take the lead, but we were far too passive and negative.
“That led us to losing two poor goals, but we then all of a sudden decided to start playing good football. For the last 30 minutes we were the better side and created a fair few chances and scored two goals.
“My team demonstrated a lot of character to battle back into the match. Hibs is a good side, one of the best in this league, and despite having a youthful squad out there, we showed what we’re made of in the last third of the match.”
Motherwell U20s 2 – 2 Hibs U20sTuesday 03 February 2015
Motherwell U20s fought back from going 0-2 down to earn a deserved share of the spoils against Hibs this evening.
Lewis Allan and Taylor Hendry had the visitors in the driving seat, but Dylan Mackin reduced the deficit before a last-second penalty from Dom Thomas earned his side a point.
Jonatan Johansson made four changes to the team that drew 2-2 with Dunfermline last week. Brett Long, Adam Cummins, Craig McCall and Craig Moore all dropped out, replaced by Ross Stewart, Danny McNulty, trialist Paul George and Dylan Mackin.
Both teams had early shots at goal, Hendry firing a shot over the bar from distance for the visitors before George saw his low shot comfortably held by former Hamilton stopper Tomáš Černý.
The first half really failed to get going though and it took until 26 minutes for the first shot on target; Hibs’ Connor Duthie stinging low effort forcing Ross Stewart to save low to his left.
‘Well did flash a terrific ball across the six-yard back but there were no takers and that would be significant as the Greens would take the lead with their next attack on 32 minutes.
The Steelmen didn’t win a loose ball in midfield and when Aaron Dunsmore got free on the right, he picked out Allan with a neat cut back and the striker’s close-range shot beat Stewart despite the ‘Well stopper getting a good hand to it.
Both sides traded long-range efforts, Duthie again for Hibs and Cadden for the Fir Parkers, but neither troubled the goalkeepers. Allan’s turn and shot on the stroke of half time was the only other effort in a fairly timid, low-key first half.
Hibs certainly started the second half much brighter though and almost took the lead through sub Sam Stanton, who managed to beat the grounded Stewart only to watch David Ferguson hook his shot off the goal line.
Allan had another swivel and shot saved by Stewart before Hibs did eventually double their advantage. Stanton sent a terrific ball over the top of the defence, allowing Hendry a run at goal. Despite the angle being acute and Stewart dashing off his line, the forward finished with some aplomb to make it 0-2.
To their credit, Motherwell summoned a spirit and character and led by Dom Thomas, they forced their way back into the match. The winger really stepped it up a notch and almost reduced the arrears with a curling effort that forced Černý into an acrobatic save at the expense of a corner.
Ten minutes later, the Hibs keeper was at it again, denying Cadden from distance and then Ross MacLean, who had been set-up by the trickery of Thomas. It was a hat trick of quick saves when the Czech stopper blocked another Cadden shot from 25 yards.
The resistance was finally broken on the 72nd minute though and it was that man Thomas who was right at the heart of it again. With four Hibs defenders close to him, he managed to hare away and into the box before squaring it for Mackin. A ricochet off Forster spun the ball onto the bar, only for Mackin to follow up and head home from close range.
That gave the Claret and Amber men hope and they threw everything at it in search of a leveler. Danny McNulty can within inches of doing just that, but his cross-cum-shot hit the underside of Černý’s crossbar and spun out to safety.
With Johansson’s men throwing bodies forward in numbers, they were getting picked off on the counter and Stanton should’ve made the game safe with a chance six minutes from time, but his shot, after a neat cut back from Scott, was well blocked by Stewart.
‘Well may have thought their chance of a draw had gone when they passed up an unbelievable chance for a second. Thomas was again the man, leading his team forward before teeing up Higgins. The little striker was crowded out, but still managed to poke it square for the supporting George, but with the goal at his mercy, Hibs somehow managed to scramble back and block the shot for a corner.
However, ‘Well wouldn’t be denied when McNulty won a penalty with a piece of quick feet, following a patient build-up move from the hosts. Despite it being virtually the last kick of the game and coming up against an experienced stopper, the 18-year old strode forward and comfortably slotted it home to earn a point for his team.
Motherwell: Stewart, McNulty, McMillan, Hall, Ferguson, MacLean, Mackin, Cadden (R.Leitch – 85mins), Higgins, D.Thomas, George
Subs Not Used: Currie, Campbell, McCall, Anderson, Watters
Nathan Thomas joins from PlymouthTuesday 03 February 2015
Plymouth Argyle attacker Nathan Thomas is Motherwell’s fourth signing of Transfer Deadline Day.
20-year old Thomas has signed a deal until the end of the season, with the club having the option to extend for a further year.
The pacey winger came through the youth ranks at Newcastle before joining North East rivals Sunderland in 2011.
He spent some time at Darlington before joining on at the Pilgrims in 2013. Despite being a bit of a fans-favourite, he agreed his release from the Home Park side today, allowing the Steelmen to snap him up.
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough said: “Nathan is another player I have being keeping tabs on for some time.
“Like Marvin, he’s very quick and can be a match winner. We now have different options and different ways to play.
“He can be effective on both flanks or even through the middle, so the versatility will be a real bonus for us. Like the others we’ve signed, he has a point to prove and we hope to take advantage of someone with fire in his belly.
“With the seven new faces we’ve signed during the window and players returning from injury, we hope to have more options and competition for places in the last few months of the campaign.”
Steelmen net Harrier JohnsonTuesday 03 February 2015
Motherwell FC is delighted to confirm the signing of winger Marvin Johnson from Kidderminster Harriers for an undisclosed fee.
Johnson, 24, is described by Harriers as a ‘quick-footed pace merchant’ and has already netted ten times from the flanks this campaign.
His deal was set to expire at the end of the current campaign but ‘Well have beaten off stiff competition from English Championship and League One sides to secure his signature.
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough said: “We are absolutely delighted to get Marvin and I am really excited to see him play in the Scottish Premiership.
[pullquote]“He is extremely hungry and will be out to show everyone just exactly what he can do. He is what we need in that he is dynamic, extremely quick and can both create and score goals.[/pullquote]
“We have been tracking him for some time so we are thrilled to get him.”
After flying up to Scotland, Johnson told MFC TV: “I’m very pleased to be here and I get the gut feeling that I am heading in the right direction.
“The manager and staff have given me the backing and confidence that I need so that is pleasing and I’m ready to get going straight away.
“People say I’m an exciting player and I hope that is what I can bring. Normally I set players up but this season I have found myself in the right position at the right time and when I find myself in that position I go for goal and have ended up scoring 10.”
Toffee’s Grant joins on loanMonday 02 February 2015
Motherwell have taken young Everton starlet Conor Grant on loan until the end of the season.
Grant, 19, is an energetic, ball-playing midfielder with an eye for goal and has played a large part in Everton’s Development side for the last few seasons.
He has appeared in several pre-season games for the Toffees, but hasn’t as yet turned out for Roberto Martinez’s team, although he was on the bench for their Europa League match against FC Krasnodar.
Highly thought of at Goodison Park, he’ll provide competition to Motherwell’s midfield for the remainder of the 2014/15 campaign.
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, Ian Baraclough said: “Conor is an exciting young talent who I’ve seen and watched on several occasions with the Everton Development side.
“He’s held in very high regard by the hierarchy and Joe Royle backed up our thoughts by giving the lad a glowing reference.
“He can play in a number of midfield positions and has great energy, exactly what we require for the last few months of the campaign.”
On signing for the Steelmen, Conor added: “It’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to getting some first team action.
“I’ve been playing in Everton’s development squad and it’s going to be good to experience first team football, playing in a competitive league. I watch the games on TV and know a few players up here so I know what to expect.
“I want to bring some creativity to the side and will give 100% to hopefully help them climb the table.”
‘Keeper Long joins from Sheff UtdMonday 02 February 2015
Motherwell have signed England U21 goalkeeper George Long on loan from Sheffield United until the end of the season.
The 21-year old 6ft 4 inch stopper has played 80 times for the Blades first-team, including in the English Championship, as well as being a regular at England youth level.
He also spent time on loan at Oxford United this term and will provide competition to Dan Twardzik, Gunnar Nielsen and Ross Stewart for the number one role at Fir Park.
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, ‘Well boss Ian Baraclough said: “George will increase the competition in a crucial position for us.
“His pedigree is undoubted having had recognition through the England Youth set-up, up to and including the Under 21s team.
“Hopefully he can continue the tradition at this football club of taking goalkeepers from England and developing them on.”
Long added: “I’m really looking forward to it and it’s a new challenge for me to play in Scotland.
“It will be great to get back playing and hopefully help push the team up the table.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about the club and the manager so I can’t wait to get started.”
Cash Converters’ January POTMMonday 02 February 2015
Every month this season, Cash Converters will be giving you the opportunity to present your Motherwell Player of the Month with his trophy.
All you need to do is vote for the Well player you think has been the stand-out performer for January and you could be chosen at random to congratulate our star man in person and win a pennant signed by the individual himself.
To cast your vote, simply visit our Cash Converters SPL Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.
Competition closes at midnight on Sunday 8th February.
The player of the month presentation will take place on the week commencing 9th February.
St Johnstone draw in picturesSaturday 31 January 2015
Action pictures from today’s hard-fought 1-1 SPFL Premiership draw with St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.