A first-half master class from Dan Twardzik helped ‘Well to a respectable 0-0 draw against Dutch Eredivisie side Heerenveen tonight.
Former Bayern Munich man Twardzik was in inspired form and made a series of impressive saves during the first-half to keep the Dutch side at bay.
It was a far quieter second half, and ‘Well created a few chances of their own, but it finished in stalemate as the Steelmen brought their short tour of the Netherlands to an end.
Ian Baraclough made six changes to the starting elven that lined up against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Tuesday night with Josh Law, Louis Laing, Jack Leitch, Stephen Pearson, Lionel Ainsworth and Craig Moore all given the nod.
But it was a first forty-five the Fir Parkers had to grind out, with Heerenveen taking charge and creating numerous good chances.
Twardzik made the first of countless saves on the thirteenth minute, denying the 6ft 6-inch front man Henk Veerman with a save low to his right. The same player blazed over before Swede Simon Thern again forced Twardzik into action with a header from a corner.
Chances were coming thick and fast and Younes Namli forced Twardzik into another stop with a strike straight at him. Then former Dutch U21 International Luciano Slagveer also watched on as Twardzik somehow stopped his twenty-yard shot.
As the half hour came and went, Twardzik was again at it, this time saving from left-back Caner Cavlan’s long free-kick before Pele van Anholt saw his deflected effort hooked off the line. Slagveer was also denied again from point blank range as Twardzik was turning in a performance to remember.
‘Well did have the last chance of the first-half but couldn’t get ahead when Craig Moore dragged his low shot just wide of target.
Keith Lasley, Stephen McManus, Luke Watt, Ross MacLean and David Clarkson were all introduced at the interval and it seemed to steady Barclough’s side.
Indeed, with just four minutes in, they almost took the lead when a lovely threaded pass had Clarkson in, but Heerenveen keeper Maarten de Fockert was off his line smartly to make the block.
The ‘home’ side were quickly back on the attack again though and sub Stefano Marzo was denied when, after cutting in from the right, his fierce shot was beaten away by Motherwell’s impressive keeper.
The tourists were coming back into things though and only a nice take from de Fockert denied Clarkson after Law’s cross from the right looked to be perfect for the former Scotland striker.
Seven minutes later it was Law’s turn to have a go himself, but after Lasley had won a dangerous looking free-kick on the edge of the area, Law could only send his effort crashing off the wall.
Both teams rang further changes and there was little in the way of goalmouth action in the closing twenty minutes. Stephen McManus almost grabbed the winner four minutes from time but his header, which hit a deflection on route, was comfortable gathered by de Fockert.
The gamed ended in stalemate, but Baraclough will again be pleased with the workout against a talented side, and in particular, the performance of Dan Twardzik whose first-half heroics kept the score level.
Motherwell: Twardzik (B.Long), Law, Laing, Trialist (McManus), Chalmers (Watt), Leitch (Lasley), Pearson, Ainsworth, Thomas (MacLean), Moore, Moult (Clarkson)