Action pictures from this afternoon’s frustrating and disappointing 2-1 defeat at St Mirren Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Action pictures from this afternoon’s frustrating and disappointing 2-1 defeat at St Mirren Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Phil McGhee St Mirren Park
Motherwell’s attempts to avoid the play-offs came to disappointing halt after a disastrous final 15 minutes against St Mirren in front of another fabulous travelling support.
When John Sutton converted a 75th minute penalty ‘Well seemed on course to take the fight until the last day.
However, after Saints nicked a freakish equaliser, Ian Baraclough’s men looked resigned to the play-offs.
Worse was to follow when Scott McDonald was harshly shown a straight red in the last minute, which would keep him out of the play-offs, before Stevie Mallan grabbed the winner for Saints deep into injury time.
The ‘Well boss stood by the same eleven which earned the crucial three points against Kilmarnock for another must win at St Mirren Park.
Already relegated, Saints made the more composed start, but it took until the 21st minute for the first effort on goal; Scott McDonald’s 20-yard free kick comfortably held by Marian Kello.
A minute later Marvin Johnson’s corner was cleared only as far as Connor Grant but his well-struck volley from the edge of the box sailed over the bar.
The ‘Well defence then withstood a storm of hailstones and a couple of goal threats from the home side.
In the 25th minute Steven Thomson scooped the ball wide from 12 yards and a minute later, former ‘Well player Alan Gow should have opened the scoring but he curled his shot beyond the advancing George Long and the ‘keeper’s right hand post.
The Fir Park side created the better chances before the break and Johnson tested Kello with a decent turn and shot before the visitor’s passed up the best chance of the half. Johnson and McDonald combined to set up Lee Erwin but, from six yards, he slammed his shot off Kello.
It was Saints who made the brighter start to the second half, James Dayton’s low angled drive forced a good blocking save from Long.
A sustained spell of action around the home goal, though, should have brought an opener for ‘Well.
Erwin met an inviting cross from Johnson on the six-yard line, but his header flashed past the post.
Erwin then cut the ball back for McDonald whose thumping drive was parried by Kello and before Saints could fully clear the danger, another tempting Johnson cross found McDonald out jumping his marker only to head the ball wide of target.
Just before the hour mark and with a winning goal desperately needed, Lionel Ainsworth replaced Grant.
Erwin’s burst and shot at the edge of the box was too direct and held by Kello before John Sutton replaced Johnson with 22 minutes remaining.
Four minutes later the ‘Well goal had amazing escape when Lewis Morgan sprinted through the visitor’s defence and looked certain to score until Long produced a superb block. The ball fell to the unmarked Dayton, but from four yards his effort was blocked on the goal line before Long recovered to deny Kieran Sadlier again.
And the Steelmen made the most of that escape when they grabbed the lead in the 75th minute. Erwin evaded a challenge as he raced into the box before being felled by Thomas Reilly. Facing the 1,444 ‘Well fans in the away stand, Sutton kept his cool to send Kello the wrong way and keep hopes alive.
However, any chance of taking the fight into the last Saturday of the season disappeared in a crazy conclusion to the game.
With seven minutes of normal time remaining a hopeful ball from Reilly was kept in on the bye-line by Jason Naismith who stretched to lift the ball over Long who turned and collided with Mark O’Brien under the bar who then headed the ball into the roof of the net.
Worse was to follow in the final minute when McDonald was shown a straight red card after challenging for a high ball in the middle of the park with Reilly.
With a point insufficient for ‘Well’s cause, Saints made it a dismal day claiming all three six minutes into injury time when Mallan hit a stunning winner from 30 yards.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at St Mirren Park
FT: St Mirren 2 – 1 Motherwell.
96′ | 2-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Goal, Mallan fires past Long from distance to make it 2-1 to St Mirren.
90′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
7 minutes added on
89′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Red card, Scott McDonald is sent off for an elbow.
86′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
St Mirren sub, Thompson off for Arquin.
83′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Goal, Naismith equalises his sliding shot looping over Long at the back post. 1-1
80′ | 0-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Sutton sends Kello thte wrong way to make it 1-0 to ‘Well!!
80′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Penalty to’ Well!
73′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Sutton finds space in the box but on his left foot, can only drag it inches wide of the post.
72′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Wow. Unbelievable stramash there! Goalie flying everywhere, open goals but St Mirren can’t finish! Stadium in shock.
70′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Gow is replaced by Morgan.
69′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Long stoppage in play here as Gow is stretchered off.
68′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Johnson off for Sutton
66′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
McManus booked for a heavy challenge on Gow
64′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
St Mirren sub, Sadlier on for Wylde.
60′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Chance for Pearson as he gets on the end of Johnson’s corner but can’t keep it down and fires well over the bar.
58′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Ainsworth on for Grant
58′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
2 great chances for McDonald! First his shot is parried away then his header is just past the post!
56′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Lasley booked for a hard tackle on Gow.
55′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Johnson swings in a ball to the head of Erwin, but under pressure, he heads wide of the post.
53′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Dayton cuts in form the right on his left foot and fires in a powerful low shot. Saved by Long at his near post.
45′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Second half is underway…..
There’s a superb travelling support at St Mirren Park. #SMFCvMFC
HT | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
St Mirren 0 – 0 Motherwell.
40′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
O’Brien booked for a tackle on Gow which on first viewing seemed fair.
35′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Deep St Mirren corner is nodded back to Kelly who blazes it well over from 12 yards.
30′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Johnson squares the ball to Erwin 10 yards out but somehow Kello makes the block. Great chance!
28′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
End to end now. Johnson gets into the box and gets a shot away but it’s straight at Kello.
25′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
What a chance for Gow as he races though 1v1 but gets the finish all wrong and fires wide. A real let-off!
23′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Another ‘Well corner…..headed clear by Thompson to Grant who volleys just over the bar. Decent effort!
20′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Erwin hauled down about 20 yards out. Free-kick in a great area…..fired in low by McDonald but straight at Kello.
14′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Motherwell press forward through Pearson but his final ball to Johnson runs out for a goal-kick. Sloppy start.
6′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Corner to Saints….whipped in by Dayton and met by Thompson but his header has no power to worry Long. Goal Kick.
3′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
O’Brien brings down Gow about 40 yards out. Mallan’s free-kick finds Kelly but he fails to hit the target. Good chance!
Kick-off | #SMFCvMFC
Pearson and Lasley get the game underway. COYW!!
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
St Mirren manager Gary Teale:
Stevie Hammell hopes he’s made it back in the nick of time to help ‘Well in their end-of-season scrap after fearing his season was finished.
The legendary left-back, who has played over 500 times in Claret and Amber, has missed most of the season with relapses of a groin tear he picked up in Iceland back in July.
That has restricted him to just seven domestic games during the whole campaign, and he has been forced to watch on as his teammates struggled in the SPFL Premiership.
There were even points during his injury he feared his campaign over.
“There were a couple of times when I thought I wouldn’t play again this season,” he admitted
[pullquote]It’s really pleasing [to be back] and it’s great to get back playing because I really missed it this season. There’s still enough in the dressing room to stay in this league. Not being able to get out there and help the boys was really frustrating[/pullquote]
“Especially the second time when I thought I’ll would just need to concentrate on getting fit for next season but the progression went really quickly from seeing the specialist, to doing gym based work and into training for a couple weeks, then under 20s games and then into first team games.
“It’s really pleasing [to be back] and it’s great to get back playing because I really missed it this season. There’s still enough in the dressing room to stay in this league. Not being able to get out there and help the boys was really frustrating.”
Speaking about tomorrow’s game against St Mirren, the former Scotland cap was in no mood to underplay the size of the match.
“it’s a huge fortnight but we’ll take it one game at a time then see where we are at the end of it.
“There isn’t anything we can do about other results. We’ll concentrate on trying to win what will be a tough game and with any luck, it will be all to play for come the following weekend.”
Ian Baraclough has told his side to expect one of the toughest matches of the campaign against St Mirren tomorrow.
The Fir Park men need to win in Paisley or risk going into next weeks’ final match at home to Partick Thistle with only a narrow chance of escaping the Play-off place.
People considered St Mirren post match games as a ‘gimmie’ following their difficult run of form prior to the league split.
However, the manager does not see that and has spent the past week hammering home the message that this weekend will be the toughest of this long campaign given Saints have taken six points from their last three matches.
Baraclough said: “St Mirren have very little to play for now apart from personal pride and contracts. It can free you up and we saw that last week at Ross County.
“We have to be right at it from minute on and that has to be maintained right up until the final whistle.
[pullquote]”We have drummed into them from day one this week that this is probably going to be the hardest game of the season. Make no mistake about that.”[/pullquote]
Momentum is key at this time of the year and the Fir Park boss will hope last Friday’s win at home to Kilmarnock will give his side a further boost.
He added: “If we were to win our last three games, and we’ve ticked off the first leg by beating Killie, then we are going to get close, but there is no guarantee that we will get over the line. All the focus has been on the next two games.
“It does nag away when you are in the position and losing games. You do wonder where your next point is coming from and start worrying about what is going on elsewhere. It’s not a nice place to be.
“Teams who perhaps thought they were safe all of a sudden have to energise their minds again. What was working for us and what isn’t now? They haven’t won for a couple of games now.
“From our point of view, we will continue to battle on and see where it takes us. Some had already written us off, but we’re using that as motivation.”
Referee for this Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with St Mirren at St Mirren Park is Brian Colvin.
It will be Colvin’s fourth Motherwell fixture of the 2014/15 campaign thus far.
The first was the hard-earned point at Celtic Park, when Kris Common’s disputed penalty earned the hosts a point after John Sutton had put the Fir Parkers in front.
The second was the disappointing 1-3 defeat at home to Dundee, when Henrik Ojamaa’s second-half consolation goal wasn’t enough to stop Paul Hartley’s side running out comfortable winners.
Most recently he was the man in the middle for ‘Well’s narrow 1-0 win over Partick Thistle at Fir Park back in late December, Sutton again converting a 14th minute penalty.
He also handled two during the 2013/14 season.
The first was the League Cup Third Round clash at Livingston one year ago. Bob McHugh put the Fir Parkers ahead before James McFadden made it two with a deft back-heel flick. Livi reduced the deficit late into stoppage time but it wasn’t enough as ‘Well progressed to the Quarter Finals with a 2-1 win.
The other match came three weeks after that success at Almondvale when ‘Well edged out Hearts 2-1 at Fir Park.
Ryan Stevenson gave the visitors the lead but Craig Moore scored a cracker on his league debut to level things before Shaun Hutchinson powered home a header to secure all three points.
It was two ‘Well matches the previous season, too.
The first was his first ever in charge of the Steelmen – a 3-1 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. Jamie Murphy had put Motherwell in a commanding lead with two goals before the break. Nicky Law added a third with a cheeky dink over the goalkeeper before Saints pulled one back late on.
The second was a 2-2 draw with St Mirren at Fir Park. Michael Higdon opened the scoring for the Steelmen only for Connor Newton and Lewis Guy to put the visitors ahead. Step forward James McFadden with another piece of brilliance from a dead ball, curling a free kick high past Craig Samson to rescue a point.
In those seven matches, he has produced just twelve yellow cards, five of which were flashed at players in Claret and Amber, and one red for Livi’s Jason Talbot for a reckless lunge at Stevie Hammell.
He will be assisted by Stuart McMillan and Dougie Porter with Andrew Dallas on 4th Official duty.
The SPFL has today announced the betting company Ladbrokes as its title sponsor from season 2015/16, in a two-year deal which includes rights across all four leagues and 42 clubs.
The deal is the biggest ever of its kind in Scottish football and will see the nation’s professional football leagues become known as the Ladbrokes Premiership, Ladbrokes Championship, Ladbrokes League 1 and Ladbrokes League 2 ahead of the start of the new season in August.
It marks the latest in a rich history of high-profile sports sponsorship and brand associations for Ladbrokes, which plans to run a host of activations through the different rights of its SPFL title partnership.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Ladbrokes to the SPFL’s growing family of key sponsors and partners and look forward to working with them from season 2015/16 at this truly exciting time for Scottish football.
“As an established and respected leading brand in its very competitive marketplace, Ladbrokes is a perfect partner for the SPFL and we have a shared vision of a positive future for professional league football in Scotland. Ladbrokes’ backing of Scottish football is hugely valued and appreciated and I say that not only on behalf of the SPFL but also for all 42 member clubs.
“Today’s announcement is the result of significant investment of energy and effort and further strengthens our optimism about the future health of the game in Scotland.
“With all that positivity comes an opportunity to tell the story of a modern, engaging and exciting Scottish football environment and we look forward to doing just that with all our partners including new title sponsor Ladbrokes.”
Ladbrokes is a world leader in the betting and gaming industry with more than 2,100 shops and a great heritage and presence across UK sport. It has recently sponsored Rugby Football League’s Challenge Cup, extended its backing of horse racing’s St Leger Festival at Doncaster and continues to sponsor The Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Welcoming the new partnership, Jim Mullen, CEO of Ladbrokes said: “We love football so we are delighted to be working with the SPFL on one of the best opportunities in British sport.
“This partnership will help to propel Ladbrokes and the SPFL to new heights and will put us at the heart of Scottish football throughout the year. Getting people engaged with great sport and making sure they share our passion is at the very core of everything we are about.
“Our customers support clubs at every level of Scottish football from the professional leagues that we sponsor to the local Sunday League stalwarts. The Scottish game deserves a committed supporter and our financial backing will help to ensure every level of the game benefits from Ladbrokes’ involvement.”
Fans should note this afternoon’s game with Hamilton Accies U20s has been postponed.
Ninety minutes before kick-off Fir Park was battered by a deluge of rain and after a pitch inspection, the referee has deemed the pitch unsuitable for play.
A date to the re-arranged fixture is yet to be decided.
Fir park opens it’s doors for league leader ladies in midweek showcase match.
Equality between male and female sport has always been a hotly debated topic, not always helped by sexist comments from the media suggesting female sports in some way lacks the excitement and skill of their male counterparts…but we know this isn’t true! Unfortunately though, despite the high skill level, commitment, vision and drive of female footballers, it often seems that the game doesn’t always receive backing in equal measures.
Despite women’s football being one of the fastest growing sports in the world, it seems a constant battle to receive the financial backing, dedicated media coverage and general status it deserves. Let’s look at our female national A squad who are higher ranked than the men’s team…but I bet you didn’t know that, but who would blame you, it’s not like our beautiful game is regularly showcased on the back page of our morning papers.
So let’s strip things back to basics. Ok, so we can’t hide the fact that there has to be some kind of financial backing to raise the status of women’s football, but let’s look beyond that. Women’s football needs to firstly be on a par with that of our men’s teams before anything else. Certain aspects of the game may differ but being treated the same is where I believe it starts. The simple things like training kit, equipment and facilities used are a basis for equality. Some of our female teams here in Scotland train 4 times a week, that’s more than most of out top level men’s teams…as well as manage a full time job or further education …and kids too! The sad thing is though that a lot of the clubs in Scotland who have both men’s and women’s teams playing at a high level, have little or no affiliation with their female counterparts at all.
But clubs like Motherwell FC have fully embraced being affiliated with their ladies team and offer a huge amount of support in order to ensure they are not only treated as equals, but are given the best opportunities possible to join forces and together, achieve club goals! This has really helped Motherwell ladies create a highly professional set up which is undoubtedly an attractive feature when looking to seek top level players. Motherwell FC whole heartedly supports their female counterparts in a whole host of different ways. The ladies are given full use of first team facilities for both their training nights and more! This includes the club gym, cardio and conditioning rooms and state of the art training equipment. The ladies take full advantage of this privilege on a Wednesday night when they use both cardio and conditioning equipment to ensure they are hitting cardio and muscular endurance targets before heading out to the 3G astro facility to the rear of the stadium for their skills and tactics based sessions. The use of these facilities is paramount to any professional set up to ensure players are performing at peak levels.
Motherwell FC have also supported the ladies this season in ensuring they look as professional off the pitch as they do on it! This season the club donated full training kit and match day tracksuits to all players. Sourcing funding to buy this amount of quality merchandise for any club is no mean feat. It’s fantastic to have this support and have all players affiliated with the club, proudly wearing the badge …which gives the perfect look for match day photos! Gone are the days your mum stands at the side of the park with a disposable camera trying to catch you in your best action shot! Motherwell FC have linked up the ladies team to provide them with their own professional photographers who cover their SPFL Premiership games! A huge thank you to SNS pix who have kindly agreed to support the ladies with their league and cup campaigns this season. SNS pix have already covered 2 of the ladies games so close in to the start of their season and you can see for yourself, the quality of their work is absolutely outstanding! Thank you SNS pix! Be sure to follow us on twitter: @MotherwellLFC to see match day photos.
Impressive isn’t it!? …but there’s more!!
Motherwell FC has given the ladies team the use of their first team stadium, Fir Park for selected games this season, allowing the ladies to use first team changing facilities and the pitch to play on but also allowing them to open the doors of Fir Park to the friends, families and fans of their club. Something I believe is a key factor to the success of the women’s game.
Playing in a professional stadium on a carpet surface is every players dream isn’t it? To have the eyes of the world on you..to score that world class goal and turn to face the thousands of screaming fans chanting your name!? Come on, admit it, we’ve all had that dream once or twice! Its exciting! Plain and simple! It’s the kind of thing that gives a player goosebumps. Walking down the tunnel, anticipating that first step onto inch perfect grass! It reminds you of why you give the blood sweat and tears and leave every ounce of energy you have on the training ground, knowing that come match day, the stadium is where you get to showcase your hard work.
It makes it professional! Facilities are of the highest order. Not only does it look fantastic, but as a player in those surroundings it makes you feel fantastic, which can only be a good thing for team morale but more importantly, team performance! It certainly makes all the difference in the world to a player to play on that kind of surface rather than having to avoid potholes and the latest present left by the local dog!
There is absolutely no question a professional surface raises the quality of the game. A slick passing surface allows the ball to travel at pace, smoothly across the grass. This raises the tempo of the game and in turn increases the tiki taka quick style of play which we all love to see on match day! …great for the players…great for the fans! Watching women’s football is an absolutely brilliant day out! The quality of the game can bring just as much flair, skill, determination, grit, aggression and excitement as any men’s game! Coming along to the local park, with no seating, toilets or shelter is one thing, but coming along to watch a women’s game in a 15,000 seater stadium, bovril to hand and a pitch perfect view really does make it a fantastic family day out for all! It’s a great opportunity to bring along the family and inspire our future stars into the game! Regular stadium games will attract a regular match day crowd of dedicated fans but will also create an attractive environment to bring out a whole new set of MLFC supporters and that can only be a good thing!
So thanks to Motherwell FC nows your chance to get your friends, family, uncles, aunties, nieces, nephews, granny’s and granda’s out and along to experience the passion and Well family atmosphere of the women’s game in Lanarkshire’s finest stadium! The first opportunity to see the Ladies take to the pitch will be on the evening of Wednesday13th May where they will play Edinburgh South in the league, 8pm KO. Well ladies formally invites you all to come along, cheer and support our ladies from the stands as they take to the hallowed turf of Fir Park for the first time this season! It would be great to see some first team fans there showing support to our ladies and entry is absolutely FREE! A fantastic Wednesday night out for all the family.
A huge thank you to all at Motherwell FC for your support this season, including all the first team players and staff for your continued support on social media. Motherwell FC have shown the ladies a tremendous club support and one that rightly puts our men and women on an even playing field. It’s fantastic to be working in unity to achieve club success.
Follow me on twitter @dibsy_
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough praised the resilience of his side after the 3-1 win against Kilmarnock at Fir Park.
The Steelmen had roared into a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break and were looking good to see out the match for a vital win.
However, Josh Magennis halved the deficit and there was a spell when you could almost feel the nerves inside the stadium.
However, to their credit, ‘Well were able to regain their composure, regain their ascendancy in the match and eventually added a decisive third late on to confirm the victory.
A pleased Ian Baraclough told MFC TV after the match: “We had to dig in at times, show some character and had do some of the uglier sides of the game tonight. We did that which in turn allowed us to go and play our football when the opportunity allowed for it.
“I enjoyed some of our attacking play. It can be difficult when you’re under a bit of pressure to show that sort of football, but credit to the players.
“The goals all had some nice elements to them and we do carry a threat. We’re creating chances – I think we had 19 shots tonight and that’s certainly an encouraging sign.”
[pullquote]I enjoyed some of our attacking play. It can be difficult when you’re under a bit of pressure to show that sort of football, but credit to the players.[/pullquote]
‘Well now sit three points behind Kilmarnock with two games left to play.
Ross County have the chance to extend that back to six if they beat St Mirren in Dingwall at the weekend, but Baraclough is adamant is side need to finish the season with victories to really ramp up the pressure on others in the fight.
Asked if his side needed six points from their next two, he added: “We’ve got to, otherwise tonight’s win is for nothing. Two wins gives others very little margin for error, but we’ll take it one step at a time.
“We’ve built some momentum over the last ten games, albeit with a few blips along the way; but we need to try and maintain that. I believe in the players and I think they can go and deal with it. It’ll be difficult, but they’ve got the ability