Action pictures from this afternoon’s 0-2 defeat at home to Dundee Utd.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Action pictures from this afternoon’s 0-2 defeat at home to Dundee Utd.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Phil McGhee Fir Park
Two goals in the final seven minutes consigned an unlucky Motherwell to their first home defeat since February.
After a positive opening to the season at Inverness last week and the first 30 minutes of their first home fixture, it was a bitterly disappointing outcome for Baraclough’s men.
However, despite dominating play for large periods of the game, ‘Well failed to capitalise in front of goal and ulitmately paid the penalty as United gradually came into the game, forcing some great saves from Connor Ripley on his home debut.
Along with the ‘keeper, midfielder Joe Chalmers and striker Wes Fletcher made their home debut, with Louis Laing making his return after his loan period was made permanent.
All four impressed on their first Fir Park appearance and with Stephen Pearson’s sidelined with a knee injury, Jack Leitch made his first league start in almost a year.
United also boasted several changes since the sides last met when ‘Well won 1-0 at Fir Park last November.
The home fans anticipation that Baraclough’s new line-up could build on last week’s win were matched by the home side’s complete domination for the first quarter of the game.
With Chalmers and Marvin Johnson on the left and right flanks respectively, and Scott McDonald supporting Fletcher from the middle, United were pressed into their own third from the start.
After only three minutes Johnson cut along the box, working a slick 1-2 with Chalmers before his left foot strike had the ball curling inside the post until Luis Zwick at full stretch palmed the ball wide.
Chalmers in the centre of goal almost got on the end of Josh Law’s low cross and as the ball bounced in the six yard box Zwick nicked it off the alert looking Fletcher’s toes.
In the 15th minute McDonald was next to test the United ‘keeper but his drive from 20 yards was straight at the waiting Zwick.
At that stage Motherwell’s slick passing and possession should have been rewarded but gradually the fizz went out of their play. Ripley, who was a virtual spectator for the first 25 minutes, was then called upon to hold John Soutar’s through ball.
The ‘keeper’s next involvement after 32 minutes, though, brought acclaim from the fans behind him in the Cooper stand. The ‘Well defence failed to clear its lines and as the ball rolled out to the edge of the box Scott Fraser’s rising strike looked destined for the opener until Ripley rose high to his left to tip the ball over.
United finished the half the stronger side and five minutes from the break Ripley had to throw himself to the right to beat away a bouncing grounder from Charlie Telfer.
That feat was repeated shortly after the restart when the ‘Well ‘keeper got down smartly to smother Telfer’s low drive.
Some surging runs from Johnson coupled with some neat exchanges and crosses from Chalmers and Stevie Hammell on the left, worked the visitor’s defence.
But it was Ripley to the rescue after 56 minutes when he stood firm to again deny Telfer, his close range shot rebounding off the ‘keeper’s face.
From the resultant corner the home side broke upfield but after outpacing Coll Donaldson, Johnson could only slam his finish against the exposed ‘keeper.
A minute later a wonderful ball from Josh Law in behind the Tannadice defenders found Chalmers racing in at the back post but with Zwick again exposed he scooped the ball over the bar.
Eager to keep the pressure on the visitor’s goal Baraclough made a couple of changes with Louis Moult making his first Fir Park appearance, replacing Fletcher, before Dom Thomas came on for Chalmers.
The substitutes soon made their presence felt and after a couple of shots from Thomas were blocked, Moult’s looping header beyond the back post forced Zwick to palm the ball over his bar.
Despite the probing runs from the wings via Thomas and Johnson, ‘Well couldn’t unlock the United defence and it looked like stalemate.
With 11 minutes remaining David Clarkson came off the bench as the fans acknowledged the striker’s second spell at Fir Park.
However, any thoughts of a hero’s return were erased as United stole the points with two late strikes.
And after Ripley reacted quickly to block Aidan Connolly’s thumping angled drive the ‘Well ‘keeper conceded his first goal of the season in the cruelest manner. Paul Dixon swept the ball across the face of the home goal where Laing’s swipe sent the ball racing past the helpless Ripley.
If ‘Well’s on loan ‘keeper was blameless at the first goal, he blotted his fine home debut with a yellow card after racing out of his box to obstruct Connolly.
Worse was to follow for Ripley and the ‘Well defence in injury time when the ‘keeper raced upfield for a Johnson corner and was then left stranded as United stormed to the other end allowing Murray to slam home a second goal, and scoreline which flattered United and was a bitter reflection on Motherwell’s contribution.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT’ | 0-2 | #MFCvDUFC
Motherwell 0 – 2 Dundee Utd
94′ | 0-2 | #MFCvDUFC
Goal, Utd counter with Ripley out his goals and Murray makes it 2-0.
93′ | 0-1 | #MFCvDUFC
91′ | 0-1 | #MFCvDUFC
Ripley booked as he raced off his line and nudged Connolly off the ball.
88′ | 0-1 | #MFCvDUFC
Hammell takes a booking, tugging Muirhead’s shirt as he broke away.
A real sore one as Motherwell have been well on top.
83′ | 0-1 | #MFCvDUFC
Goal – Laing slices a powerful low cross into his own net. 1-0 Utd.
81′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Connolly battles hard, wins the ball back in the “Well box and fires a shot at Ripley, who beats it away,
79′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Motherwell sub, Leitch makes way for Clarkson
78′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Utd sub, Erskine off for Murray.
73′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Dundee Utd sub, Bodul off for Connolly.
71′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Dundee Utd sub, Muirhead on for Telfer.
70′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Johnson delivers a deep corner which, from a narrow angle, Moult almost heads in! Good save by Zwick.
65′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
A second Motherwell sub, Dom Thomas on for Chalmers
64′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Leitch booked for a foul on Souttar.
61′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Motherwell sub, Fletcher hobbles off and is replaced by Moult.
58′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Another great chance! Law plays it into Chalmers 12 yards out but somehow Zwick does enough to force him to fire over!
58′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Johnson breaks away from his own half and finds himself 1v1 but Zwick denies him with his foot!
57′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Telfer goes through 1 on 1 but Ripley stands big and tall and makes the save with his face.
54′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Great ball over the top from Hammell but Zwick gets off this line quick and gets there ahead of Fletcher.
…but McDonald’s free-kick is straight into the wall.
52′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Johnson hacked down by Souttar in a great area…..
51′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Great ball in from Law to the head of Fletcher but he can’t quite get it right and the chance fades away.
49′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
‘Well counter-attack though Johnson but with better options, the goes for the long-range shot but it’s a routine save.
46′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Utd out the traps quickly as Telfer charges forward, but his shot from 20 yards is well over the bar.
45′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Utd get the second 45 underway.
HT | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Motherwell 0 – 0 Dundee Utd
41′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Again Ripley is called into action and again he is equal to it as Telfer gets a powerful shot away from long range.
38′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Ball appeared to strike Chalmers on the hand inside the box but thankfully Bobby Madden ruled it ball to hand…
35′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Free header there for Erskine but he couldn’t quite rise high enough to make contact. A let off.
33′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
What a save by Ripley! Dived high to his left to turn away Fraser’s (I think) shot form 20 yards. Brilliant!
27′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Game has became a bit of a midfield battle now, not a lot in the way of chances.
16′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Good effort from McDonald who turned 25 yards out and got a low shot away. Unlucky.
7′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Been a good start to the game from a Motherwell point of view. Plenty of balls in and around the box and positive play
3′ | 0-0 | #MFCvDUFC
Johnson drifts in-field, gets a bit of time on the ball and from 20 yards, forces Zwick into a good save.
Kick-off | #MFCvDUFC
Lasley and McDonald get the game underway. #COYW
Pre-match | #MFCvDUFC
Here we go, both sides out the tunnel to rapturous applause
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
Dundee Utd manager Jackie McNamara:
Ian Baraclough says only hard work will help his side maintain the home form they showed at the back end of last season.
The Steelmen haven’t lost in eight games at Fir Park, stretching back to February, with wins over the likes of Inverness CT, Hamilton, St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Rangers.
However, the Fir Park boss was quick to point out that maintaining runs don’t just happen and that his side will have to be at their very best if they are to overcome a talented Dundee United side.
[pullquote]We have got to work extremely hard to go and earn the right to get a victory and we know Dundee United will want to get off the mark as well after their defeat last week.[/pullquote]
Speaking to the broadcast media ahead of Saturday’s SPFL Premiership fixture, the former Scunthorpe and Sligo boss said: “No one at Motherwell is or will get carried away after winning last week.
“We were very strong at home at the back end of last season, but no one is presuming we can just carry on where we left off in that regard.
“We have got to work extremely hard to go and earn the right to get a victory and we know Dundee United will want to get off the mark as well after their defeat last week.
“They will post threats and we have got to be aware of them, but we’ve also got to make sure we play our own game too, particularly in front of our own fans as it’s up to us to get them fully behind us.”
Stephen McManus hopes ‘Well can build on their opening day win when Dundee Utd visit Fir Park this weekend.
The Fir Parkers came back from Inverness with all three points courtesy of Wes Fletcher’s debut strike.
It was a victory that perhaps raised some eyebrows around the game given ‘Well’s struggles last term and Inverness’ successes.
And McManus has cautioned against anyone getting carrying away and cited last season when an opening day victory over St Mirren was followed by a difficult run of results.
[pullquote]We’ve got a tough start with Dundee Utd, then Hearts and Aberdeen after that, but then again they all are. Games come thick and fast but we certainly want to try and build on last weekend’s win.[/pullquote]
Speaking to the gathered press at the pre-match news conference, McManus said: “It was great to get an opening day win last weekend but we did the same against St Mirren last year so no one is taking anything for granted.
“It’s a long season but we definitely feel as if we’re in a better shape now than we were a year ago.
“We’ve got a tough start with Dundee Utd, then Hearts and Aberdeen after that, but then again they all are. Games come thick and fast but we certainly want to try and build on last weekend’s win.
“We’ve been lucky enough to avoid injuries so far, with the exception of what happened to Stephen Pearson last weekend, and with any luck, that’ll continue.“
NEW SIGNING GRANT REVELS IN DOUBLE FIGURE DEBUT
It was a dream start for new Well striker Suzanne Grant on Sunday as she netted 11 goals in her first appearance in Claret and Amber. It didn’t take Grant long to get off the mark either, just 3 minutes in and the strikers tally at Motherwell had begun! A barrage of attacks on goal then followed, proving too difficult for Edinburgh South keeper to stop. After scoring nearly four triple hatricks over the 90 minutes Grant bashfully stated after the match, “I would have been happy with a single goal.”
Edinburgh South 0 Motherwell Ladies 21
I spoke with Grant after the game:
11 goals in your debut, you’ve set the bar high! What did you think of the game today?
Yeah, I still can’t believe I scored that many, I was really nervous before the game and I would have just been happy getting 3 points and 90 minutes under my belt, so scoring was a bonus. There were a lot of first team players missing but as a team, scoring 2 more goals in total than in the previous meeting I believe, shows just how much quality and strength there is throughout this squad.
You clearly settled in well, what do you think worked well as a team on Sunday?
The team made me feel so welcome and I think the formation was great on Sunday, it really suited how Motherwell play. The squad played really well, experienced players and the young players who stepped up combined, created an excellent team performance.
The team goes forward into Sunday’s Scottish cup game with great confidence, but against a tough team, Glasgow Girls. What do Motherwell need to do to progress into the next round?
Yeah the team is full of confidence from Sundays game and getting so many goals I just think we need to play how we played Sunday and the rest will speak for itself. We just need to work hard on and off the ball and get into the next round. I’m really looking forward to it.
I had the opportunity to speak further with Suzanne and delve a little deeper to find out more about the girl behind all those goals.
Full name; Suzanne Louise Grant
Preferred position; Striker
What age did you start playing football? 15
All previous clubs (and dates if poss); Ross county from 1999-2004
Glasgow city 2004-2006
Arsenal ladies 2009
Celtic ladies 2009-2015
International duty: 2000-2015 representing at all age groups
What team do you support; My local team back home, Grantown United
Best personal sporting memory; Reaching 100 international caps
We are all very excited to have you at the club Suzanne, what made you make the move to Motherwell Ladies?
I spoke to the club a few times and I think Motherwell are an ambitious club and the set up is exceptional. I missed playing football when I decided to retire and Motherwell seemed the right club to support me coming back and are a key club who want to progress in women’s football.
You have played many years of top level football in both Scotland and England Suzanne, including a highly contested Scottish Schools cup final back in 2000 when our 2 schools met! Penalties decided the game and unfortunately for me, broke a few hearts! 😉 In the last 15 years since then, your footballing career has seen you play for club and country all over the world, what is it that continues to motivate you to train and play?
The love of the game continues to motivate me to train and play, I love the sport and travelling the world and playing at the level I did was a bonus.
You have vast experience playing for Scotland, how many Caps do you have?
I have 105 caps for Scotland and when I first started playing I could never have imagined getting 1 so having 105 is surreal so I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play for my country that many times.
What is it like to represent your country?
There is no better feeling than pulling on the Scottish jersey! It makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth while.
What’s your best international memory?
I scored on my 100th cap against the world champions USA, it was a great memory that will stay with me forever.
You took a wee break recently and have become a Mum! Congratulations! How have you found it getting back to full fitness?
Thanks I played full contact for 3 months, trained for 7 months pregnant and came back 5 weeks after having my son. It was harder than I first thought but it was worth it and I’m still getting my fitness back, I am getting old now too so my body doesn’t recover the same. I wanted my son to be proud of me and wanted to continue to play. I decided to retire as I couldn’t commit as much as I would’ve liked and wanted to spend time with my fiancé and my son as a family and embracing being a mother. But now I have done that and now I have a good balance of football and family time and Motherwell are so understanding of this which makes it easier for me and my family.
Well fans are certainly glad you didn’t retire! Particularly after Sunday’s performance!
I didn’t play for 8 months and I didn’t kick a ball at all. I did enjoy the break and just spending all my spare time with my family but Aberdeen Ladies FC asked me to play 3 games and tried to talk me out of retirement and it gave me the buzz back! I have totally missed kicking the ball and so am very grateful to Motherwell for giving me this opportunity to get back playing the game I love.
It must be difficult to juggle being a Mum and commit to training and games?
Yeah, it is hard especially at the Start as I was learning to be a mother for the first time, studying full time and training all the time. It did get a bit much and I think I was doing too much then that’s when I decided to take time out. I know I have the right balance and support from Motherwell to train and have time for my family. Oscar will be there on game days to cheer me on, that’s important to me and hopefully I make him proud.
As a striker, a lot of responsibility to win games falls on your shoulders. Now you have scored many goals for club and country over the years. For all the aspiring young strikers out there, what is your philosophy in front of goal?
I just think as a striker if you miss, which I do a lot, you have to put it to bed and believe the next one will go in. A lot of players concentrate on the chance they had or should’ve scored, I believe in wanting the ball and making another chance and I think that’s why I’ve scored as I don’t let the chances I miss affect me. If I did I would’ve retired years ago hahaha!
Scoring goals is most young footballers dream! Can you describe the most memorable goal you have ever scored?
As I mentioned earlier it has to be my goal against USA. It was my 100th cap and was not a bad finish, that was definitely the most memorable goal for me.
You have recently played at Celtic in the premier league, a quality side who consistently finished in Scotland’s top 4 best teams. This is a completely new league for you, which opponent do you look forward to playing the most and why? …or is there no-one you fear?
I don’t really concentrate on opponents as lot of teams/players do. I believe in concentrating on yourself as an individual and as a team you go out on the day, play your best and the rest should speak for itself. I fear no team as I just concentrate on what I have to do as a player and for the team.
So normally I wouldn’t expect a new signing to know too much goss on their team mates, but I believe you have played alongside and against a lot of our current squad in previous years! A lot of the Well fans out there have been asking me to tell them some team secrets…can you let me into a wee secret no one knows about one (or a few!) of your new team mates?
Yeah I played with a lot of the girls when I was at Hibs Ladies and Scotland and there are loads of funny stories (trust me!) …but seeing as I’m the new girl I best keep them to myself…at least for the moment 😉 Maybe if I get another interview in a few months the secrets may be told lol (Stacey and Mandy beware hahaha)
There seems to be a lot of folk who have stories to tell about our Staceo and Mandy! I will definitely be back to you in a few months so you can share all the chat with our fans! 😉
Thanks for giving us an insight into your fantastic career to date, I’m sure you will make many more memories and hopefully add some more trophies to your cabinet during your time here at Motherwell! All the best for the second half of the season Granti!
For all the latest info and live match tweets follow the ladies on twitter @MotherwellLFC
Follow me on twitter @dibsy_
Under 20s boss Stephen Craigan was delighted with his side after they recorded a win in their opening game against Ross County this afternoon.
The Steelmen legend was on the touchline for the first time and watched on as his side swept County away.
‘Well scored four courtesy of Ben Hall, Dom Thomas and a Lionel Ainsworth double, but it truth, it could have been more.
Indeed, the visitors hit the frame of the goal on three separate occasions and County goalkeeper Foden was on hand to make numerous stops.
Craigan was pleased with the application from his side, particularly the more experienced lads who set the tone for the performance.
“It’s nice for the players who have worked hard throughout pre-season as today was the real thing starting for them,” Craigan told MFC TV after the match.
[pullquote]We probably could have won by more. Some of our play was good and of course there are things we can work on but, overall, for my first game if you had offered me a 4-2 win, particularly away from home, I would’ve taken that.[/pullquote]
“For some of the younger lads this is the start of their career. From now on they are professional football players; they have to play and train like professionals, eat and live like professional players.
“We had three or four first team lads who joined us today and it’s important for those youngsters to see their attitude and commitment and that pleased me more.
“I told Lionel Ainsworth when he came off the park after seventy minutes that I felt he inspired people around him; that they grasped that his attitude was right and that’s full credit to him.
“So when you put all that together, it was pleasing to win the game.
“We probably could have won by more. Some of our play was good and of course there are things we can work on but, overall, for my first game if you had offered me a 4-2 win, particularly away from home, I would’ve taken that.”
Extended highlights from Highland Football Academy in Dingwall as the Under 20s kick-off their campaign with a 4-2 win over Ross County.
Motherwell opened their Under 20s campaign with a well-deserved 2-4 win over Ross County at the Highland Football Academy.
A Ben Hall header had the Fir Parkers in front before Darren Holden brought things level with a fierce shot from the edge of the area.
However, quick-fire goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Dom Thomas soon had ‘Well back in a commanding lead before the break.
Ainsworth scored again to assure the win, albeit County did reduce the arrears late in the game via a Keiran Kennedy own goal.
Stephen Craigan named several experienced heads in his starting eleven with first-teamers Lionel Ainsworth, Keiran Kennedy, Dom Thomas and Chris Cadden taking their place in Claret and Amber.
County made a positive start to the match and almost took the lead inside the opening two minutes. After working a short corner towards the edge of the area, McLennan’s effort got caught in the strong wind blowing across the pitch and came crashing back off Brett Long’s post.
‘Well went immediately on the attack and Ainsworth smashed a shot inches over the crossbar.
However, with their next attack, Craigan’s men would take the lead. Ainsworth’s corner found Ben Hall inside the area and the Northern Irishman rose at the far post to head home.
The conditions were playing a part, making it difficult for either team to defend and Tony Dingwall almost drew his side level with a low shot into the side netting. Two minutes later, and down the other end, Keiran Kennedy almost got in from a corner but his spin and shot came back off the County crossbar.
It stayed at 0-1 until the 24th minute when County got themselves back on level terms. Left back Holden had got up well to support from a County attack and when the ball was rolled back to him, he smashed it high past Brett Long at his near post.
‘Well had a trialist midfielder on show and he almost made a big impression on the half hour, but his low curling effort across the goalkeeper bounced off the frame of the goal before being hooked clear.
County survived that scare but a 90 second spell shortly after all but sealed the victory for the visitors with two quick-fire goals.
The first, on the 34th minute, was created by the impressive Allan Campbell, whose sixty-yard pass played in Ainsworth who kept his composure to lift the ball over Foden and into the net.
Just seconds later, it was 3-1 and it was another ball over the top, this time from Dylan Mackin for Dom Thomas who slotted it under Foden from a tight angle.
Incredibly, Motherwell almost scored a fourth goal just two minutes later when Jack McMillan cross caught the wind before crashing back off the crossbar – the third time in the half the Steelmen had hit the frame of the goal.
Motherwell started the second much the same way the first ended and Lionel Ainsworth almost added his second of the day, but his sweetly struck volley flew just wide of target.
Dom Thomas was causing all sorts of problems and he created ‘Well’s fourth just before the hour. Twisting and turning, he got away from his marker before squaring for Ainsworth who calmly fired past Foden.
It was almost 5-1 within two minutes, this time it was Cadden with a free header inside the area, but Foden managed to get a stray leg to it, making the impressive block.
Motherwell continued to dominate and they almost scored a wonder goal via sub Ryan Watters. Thomas twisted and turned, terrorizing the home fullback, before knocking it into the middle for Mackin who flicked it back for the young striker but Foden again saved his low shot.
It wasn’t the end of the scoring though as with fourteen minutes left to play, County grabbed a consolation when Keiran Kennedy inadvertently bundled a Dingwall shot past Brett Long and into his own net.
There was a couple of half chances for both sides in the closing stages as the torrential rain hit the Highland Football Academy, but nothing could dampen the ‘Well spirits as they travelled down the A9 with all three points for the second time in four days.
Motherwell: Long, McMillan, Hall, Kennedy, Ferguson, Ainsworth (Watters – 65mins), Campbell, Cadden, Trialist, Thomas, Mackin (Hastie – 76mins)
Subs Not Used: Morrison, Moore, R.Leitch, Maguire, Livingstone
Motherwell have been drawn against League Two Side East Fife in the Second round of the Scottish League Cup.
‘Well take on The Fifers at Bayview on either the 25th or 26th of August and will be looking for a repeat of the last time they travelled there, when goals from Dirk Lehman and James McFadden gave The Steelmen a 2-0 win.
Full ticket details will be released in due time.
The draw in full reads:
Ross County v Ayr United
Forfar Athletic v Heart of Midlothian
Kilmarnock v Berwick Rangers
Raith Rovers v Hamilton Academical
Queen of the South v Morton
Dunfermline Athletic v Dundee
Partick Thistle v Falkirk
East Fife v Motherwell
Hibernian v Stranraer
Airdrieonians v Rangers
St Mirren v Livingston