Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell slumped to another disappointing defeat at home to Dundee, consigned the Fir Park side to the foot of the table.
And although the hosts carried little luck losing to Paul McGinn’s fortunate 13th minute winner, Ian Baraclough and his players have much to improve on to get themselves out the mire.
The ‘Well boss made three changes to the side which started at Dingwall. Free from suspension Louis Laing lined up alongside Stephen McManus at the heart of the home defence. And in an attack minded line-up, Craig Moore and new addition Marvin Johnson took their places in a four-man midfield.
It was also the home fans first chance to see on loan signings, ‘keeper George Long and Everton midfielder Conor Grant.
Given all these changes it was anticipated that the ‘Well players would take time to settle. And not surprisingly Dundee, unbeaten in their last seven league games, were the more positive in the opening stages.
However, it was fluke goal that gave the Taysiders the only goal of the game. Paul McGinn from far out on the right, shaped to cross the ball into a packed box but instead his sliced effort drifted high over Long and inside the ‘keepers’ far post to give Baraclough’s boys a major setback.
Lee Erwin responded immediately, but his 30-yard drive swerved off target. The young striker came closer in the 26th minute when Moore picked him out on the penalty spot but having turned with the ball, he then hammered his shot off James McPake.
The bumpy pitch prevented flowing football but a poor first half was summed up with the first and only save arriving after 35 minutes when Long got down well to push Greg Stewart’s angled drive beyond the post.
Motherwell’s cause wasn’t helped five minutes from the interval when Johnson limped off to be replaced by Nathan Thomas.
Some smart footwork from the impressive Grant a minute after the restart earned a free kick at the edge of the box but Erwin curled his shot over the Dundee defensive wall and the crossbar.
Stewart was on target at the other end but his low drive was comfortably saved by the diving Long. The home goal then a narrow escape when a cut back from Alex Harris squirmed across the face of the goal.
To a buzz of expectation from the home crowd Dom Thomas came on for Moore after 58 minutes. Sadly that change had little effect on the proceedings and with just over 15 minutes remaining ‘Well made their final substitution with Lionel Ainsworth replacing John Sutton.
But while Scott Bain in the Dundee goal was still waiting to make his first serious save, Long who looked assured throughout, was forced to make another stop from Stewart.
In the end Motherwell, with their new acquisitions, failed to impose themselves on a Dundee side who, without really getting out of first gear, comfortably made it a hat-trick of wins over ‘Well this season.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 0 – 1 Dundee #MFCvDFC
Bain gathers with ease #MFCvDFC
93mins: Corner to ‘Well…
4 minutes added on #MFCvDFC
86mins: Succession of Motherwell corners, but can’t muster anything on the Dundee goal #MFCvDFC
82mins: Dundee sub, Stewart off for Clarkson #MFCvDFC
80mins: Dundee sub, McGowan off for Harkins #MFCvDFC
73mins: Motherwell sub, Sutton off for Ainsworth #MFCvDFC
62mins: Stewart takes the ball in on his chest and shoots on the bounce. Again, straight at Long. #MFCvDFC
57mins: Motherwell sub, Dom Thomas is on for Craig Moore #MFCvDFC
56mins: Harris gets the better of Straker and gets a low cross in which is swept away in the nick of time by Ramsden #MFCvDFC
53mins: Ball is cut back to Stewart just inside the box. He volleys first time, straight at Long. #MFCvDFC
52mins: Ramsden booked for a heavy challenge on McAllister. #MFCvDFC
49mins: McGinn’s shot is fired straight at Straker and is deflected wide for a corner.
47mins: Fancy footwork from Grant wins a free-kick in the edge of the box…Erwin curls the free-kick over the bar #MFCvDFC
McAlister and McGinn get the second 45 underway #MFCvDFC
Both teams are out for the second half. #MFCvDFC
HT: Motherwell 0 – 1 Dundee #MFCvDFC
..but this time Grant’s free-kick is straight into the wall #MFCvDFC
44mins: Thomas wins a free-kick in a great area…
40mins: Motherwell sub, Johnson limps off on his home debut. Replaced by Nathan Thomas #MFCvDFC
36mins: Long is called into action as Stewart finds room on the right and gets a low shot away. Corner to Dundee. #MFCvDFC
26mins: Frustration as Moore crosses to Erwin who can’t shake off Konrad inside the box as he tried to find room to shoot. Defender clears.
17mins: McGowan pics up a loose ball and tries his luck from 22yards. Flies just past the post! #MFCvDFC
12mins: Goal – McGinn’s cross somehow ends up in the back of the net. 0-1
9mins: First effort on goal for ‘Well. Johnson whipped in an early ball which asked a lot of Sutton but he got it on target. Bain gathers.
Not much in the way of talking points in the opening 8 minutes. Both sides just trying to settle into the game #MFCvDFC
Moore and Lasley get the game underway. #MFCvDFC
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
This club has had success for the last two or three years, maybe longer, so seeing the stark reality of it hopefully kicks us into action.
“Nobody wants to be bottom but there are three teams on 18 points and it is in our hands.
“If we go into our shells for the next two games then we are going to make life difficult for ourselves.
“Those are home games that we should be producing better chances in than we did today.
“Certainly, the onus is on you at home to go forward and make things happen, to get the crowd off their seats and we didn’t do that enough.
“It is fine doing it Monday to Friday but it is not great having training ground players, we have to transfer that into games.
“I think that game was there for us to take but we didn’t grasp the game by the scruff of the neck, although the only difference was the freak goal.
“There is enough to get us out of that but it is breaking down that fear factor.
“There is a fear. No one wants to be the one that makes the mistake, maybe loses it and feels he has let the team down.
“But we need those players, the game-changers. We have them in the squad and it is finding the right personnel at the right time.”
Dundee manager Paul Hartley:
“I felt we controlled the game and some of our play was excellent.
“We wasted some good chances but overall I thought we deserved to win the game.
“The goal was a cross, there’s no doubt about it, but sometimes you need that little bit of luck.”