Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell cruised into the last sixteen of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a throughly professionally performance against Cove Rangers.
Any thoughts the Highland League club had of causing a cup upset evaporated with the first five minutes as goals from Louis Moult and Scott McDonald gave ‘Well a dream start.
Further first half goals from Marvin Johnston and Stephen Pearson and another from the midfielder in the second reflected the Fir Parker’s superiority, but the plucky Aberdeenshire men battled hard to deny ‘Well further goals especially in the closing stages.
Mark McGhee paid the Highland side the utmost respect by fielding an unchanged side from ‘Well’s last 4 SPFL Premiership games.
And while the Cove players probably relished the prospect of challenging a full-strength top-flight team the gulf between the sides was apparent from the kick-off as Motherwell took the lead within 90 seconds.
Moult was involved in the build up which led to Liam Grimshaw’s clever pass allowing the over lapping Josh Law to hoist the ball to the back post where Moult finished off the move nodding home his 13th goal of the season.
The ‘Well striker had another chance before his strike partner doubled the home lead. A neat one-two with Pearson at the edge of a congested box before guiding the ball inside the ‘keeper’s right hand post to make it 2-0 and effectively kill the tie before Cove had found their feet.
It took a couple of good saves from Cove ‘keeper Stuart Mckenzie to prevent further damage.
Law was again the provider after twelve minutes and his cut back set up McDonald whose toe-poke from 10 yards was turned over by McKenzie. In a well rehearsed corner Keith Lasley floated the ball to Marvin Johnson and from 18 yards his thumping left foot drive was beaten away by the diving ‘keeper.
To their credit the Aberdeenshire side recovered from their dreadful start and had a couple of efforts on the home goal. After 19 minutes Blair Yule progressed from the middle of the park before firing his shot narrowly wide of the post and a minute later a powerful shot from Stuart Walker warmed Connor Ripley’s palms.
It was only a temporary respite for the visitor’s defence and having had a couple of earlier pots at goal Johnston made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute when he slammed the ball high into the net after Stevie Hammell’s cross was only partially cleared.
As the Highlanders were thinking about their half-time break, ‘Well added a terrific fourth goal. From a Cove corner McDonald sent Grimshaw down the right on the counter and his pass infield was collected by Moult who unselfishly teed-up the on rushing Pearson who slid the ball across the ‘keeper and into the far corner to make it 4-0 at the interval.
Within minutes of the restart it should have been five when Johnston’s pace carried him clear of the visitor’s defence, but with McDonald waiting in front of goal he elected to claim a second for himself, side footing the ball into the side netting.
Having toiled with Johnston’s pace for 52 minutes, the Cove defenders were then required to blunt the the threat of Lionel Ainsworth and James McFadden, who made his third ‘debut’ in claret and Amber at the expense of Moult.
Within a couple of minutes the subs combined, McFadden threading a pass in front of Ainsworth but his angled drive was well blocked by the advancing McKenzie.
In a rare break upfield Cove striker Daryl Nicol had a chance to add to tally of 31 goals for the season but his delicate lob over Ripley sailed over an open goal.
The pattern of the game continued to be around the visitor’s box and after McFadden’s mazy run was blunted at the edge of the six yard box, Ainsworth worked himself for a shot before he unselfishly set up Pearson for a finish similar to his first to make it 5-0.
After 63 minutes Nicol thought he had added to his impressive goal tally as his low shot was sneaking inside the post until Ripley somehow stretched to palm the ball round the post.
The ‘Well fans were still looking for more goals and their favourite Faddy almost capped his comeback after 70 minutes running onto McDonald’s pass but his left foot finish curled the ball into the side netting.
McDonald was denied minutes later when his low drive was pushed for a corner by the diving McKenzie who was doing his best to keep the scoreline respectable as the Fir Parker’s lined up for numerous attempts at his goal.
The ‘Well striker was twice denied again in the final 10 minutes. Firstly McFadden drew the ‘keeper before playing in McDonald who from 10 yards seemed certain to score until Darryn Kelly threw himself across the goal to block the shot. Then McFadden, who appeared to have rediscovered his old swagger, cut in from the right and rolled the ball across the goal face only for the ‘keeper to again block McDonald.
The final chance fell to the visitors, in front of their 300 fans, when Nicol lobbed the ball over Ripley only to watch his header towards the unguarded goal hooked off the line by Hammell to deny the hard working striker and Cove a consolation goal their efforts deserved.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
The Steelmen are safely into the fifth round of the Scottish cup. COYW!!!!!
FT: Motherwell 5 – 0 Cove Rangers
90′ | 5-0
Nicol chips Ripley but Hammell is on hand to sweep clear off the line
82′ | 5-0
Final Cove Rangers sub, Scully off for Watt
79′ | 5-0
Somehow it’s not 6 after McFadden and McDonald have close range efforts blocked by Stuart McKenzie and Stuart Walker
Young ‘Well fans should vote now for their Man of the Match. Tweet us with their name, age, choice & #MatchAttaxMOTM
75′ | 5-0
Cove Rangers sub, Burnett on for Watson
71′ | 5-0
Motherwell sub, Pearson makes way for Thomas
70′ | 5-0
McDonald plays in McFadden on the left of the box who tries to dink it with the outside of the boot but only finds sidenetting
67′ | 5-0
Cove Rangers sub, Park off for Smith
64′ | 5-0
Nicol inches away from pulling a goal back but Ripley gets a fingertip onto his low shot from 15 yards
62′ | 5-0
PEARSON grabs his second, with a fine low shot below McKenzie from Ainsworth’s lay-off.
59′ | 4-0
Nicol goes for a cheeky chip over Ripley but gets the weight wrong and it floats over the bar.
54′ | 4-0
The two subs combine down the right but McKenzie makes the save from Ainsworth’s low shot.
52′ | 4-0
Motherwell subs, McFadden and Ainsworth on for Johnson and Moult
49′ | 4-0
Walker slides in just in time to intercept Johnson’s square ball to McDonald to deny a certain goal!
47′ | 4-0
Glorious chance for Johnson as he broke away from the half-way line but with better opens, slots it into the side-netting.
No changes at the break as Cove get the Second half underway. COYW
HT: Motherwell 4 – 0 Cove Rangers
44′ | 4-0
Quick counter from a Cove corner sets up PEARSON, who slides home from 15 yards to make it 4-0!
35′ | 3-0
Cove win a corner, which Hammell manages to head clear.
33′ | 3-0
Hammell’s cross is cleared as far as Johnson who fires in off the bar!
24′ | 2-0
Johnson fizzes a shot into the side-netting from the corner of the box. Bit ambitious but good effort.
20′ | 2-0
Walker tries the same, but his powerful effort is only parried by Ripley to Nicol, who was flagged offside,
19′ | 2-0
Yule bursts forward and from 25 yards gets a powerful low away which has Ripley scrambling. Thankfully goes just wide.
14′ | 2-0
From corner, the ball is drilled to the edge of the box to Johnson who gets a fierce shot away but McKenzie is equal to it!
13′ | 2-0
Very nearly 3 as McDonald and Law combine down the right but McKenzie gets a good hand on it to push it over
6′ | 2-0
McDONALD makes it 2-0, with a lovely left footed finish from Pearson’s one-two
1′ | 1-0
MOULT nods Motherwell into the lead from Law’s back post cross. Great start!
‘Well get the game underway!
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Cove Rangers manager John Sheran: