Motherwell’s Under 20’s couldn’t emulate last week’s comeback and sunk to a 3-1 defeat in Inverness this afternoon.
The young Steelmen were dealt and early blow when midfield terrier Alan Campbell was on the receiving end of a Nat Wedderburn flailing elbow, forcing him off to be replaced by Ross MacLean.
Inverness arguably edged the opening exchanges and had the first chance of the game when Sutherland clipped the ball over the ‘Well defence to Wilson but with Jack McMillan in attendance, could only tamely shoot at Long.
Stephen Craigan’s side were bolstered by the addition of Dom Thomas and he looked lively, creating Motherwell’s two best chances of the half but just couldn’t find the final touch to give his side the vital lead.
It was a game of few chances until Howarth fired in a warning shot from MacRea’s lay-off, but could only find the side-netting from 18 yards.
The drab opening forty minutes at a rain-sodden Grant Street Park then took a turn for the worst when Inverness took the lead.
Howarth curled in an inviting cross to the back post, which was nodded back across goal by Sutherland. It was probably heading in but Wilson took no chances and headed into the empty net with Long beaten.
As the half-time whistle approached Caley struck again. The ‘Well defence was carved open all too easily by MacRea and MacArthur and this allowed Sutherland to pick his spot and place it beyond the despairing dive of Long.
At 2-0 down Motherwell would need to come out in the second half and show the kind of spirit that has helped them comeback in five games this season and within a minute of the restart, they had stated their intentions.
Thomas received the ball from kick-off, drove forward and slid in MacLean whose shot beat MacKay but was superbly read by Horner and put out for a corner.
From that corner MacKay was again called into action, this time from a Dylan Mackin header which he took no chances with and palmed over the bar.
After being in complete control of the opening ten minutes of the second half, you could sense a goal coming and sure enough it arrived, through unfortunate circumstances from Inverness’ point of view.
Cadden and Thomas had pressed Howarth and Gilchrist high up the park with the latter slicing his attempted clearance straight into the path of Mackin who in a similar fashion to his first goal last week, slid in through the goalie’s legs.
This seemed to trigger a belief in the players and an equaliser seemed inevitable with wave after wave of attack. The best chance fell to Hastie whose shot on the turn looked like it was going in but MacKay reacted well and got down to his right to make the stop.
Just as hopes of an equaliser were being raised, Caley killed the game with a decisive third.
A long ball forward was chased down by MacRea who darted past Maguire and produced a fine finish past Long to make restore the Highlander’s two goal advantage and knock the stuffing out Motherwell.
‘Well had a chance for a late consolation turned away when Hastie’s cross was seemingly knocked out by the hand of MacArthur, but referee and assistant couldn’t be sure, with the Caley man unconvincingly going down holding his face, and awarded a corner.
Motherwell: Long, Watt, Hall, Maguire, McMillan, Livingstone (Hastie), Thomas, Campbell (MacLean), Cadden, Mackin, Leitch (Falconer)
Subs not used: Morrison, Turnbull