Action images from today’s 2-1 defeat to Ross County in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix and Ian McFadyen.
Action images from today’s 2-1 defeat to Ross County in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix and Ian McFadyen.
Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell slipped to their first home defeat in six games despite having the bulk of the play around the Ross County box.
It was an improved performance after the hammering by Hearts, but it took County’s opener through Jackson Irvine to spark ‘Well into action.
Then having created a host of openings, Brian Graham’s second midway through the second half appeared to have settled the game before Stephen Pearson pulled one back to ensure a grandstand finish.
However, despite peppering the County goal, Scott Fox was in no mood to conceded the second and ‘Well lost a home match to the Staggies for the first time ever.
With his men looking to make an immediate recovery from their Tynecastle trouncing, McGhee made three changes with Keith Lasley returning from suspension. Kieran Kennedy came in at right back and did well to restore the shape of the back four. But it was 19-year old Chris Cadden, on his first start, was deservedly man of the match with his tireless running and an eye for goal.
Although ‘Well’s early play was tidy in the middle of the park, it lacked a cutting edge in attack. Indeed neither ‘keeper was involved in the action until the first corner of the game arrived after 20 minutes and sadly from Motherwell’s point of view the opening goal.
Local lad Ian McShane whipped in the corner, which found Jackson Irvine unmarked at the back of the box and his shot across a packed six-yard area took a deflection sending the ball inside the post.
That sparked an immediate response from the home side as the County goal came under some sustained pressure.
A measured lob from Scott McDonald found Louis Moult in front of goal and his header sent the ball dipping under the bar until Scott Fox palmed it over. Then, from the other side, Marvin Johnson’s quick footwork created space to whip in a low cross, which Moult met with a diving header to send the ball inches wide of target.
Young Cadden, who did a power of work on the right latched onto a loose pass before unleashing a low drive which Fox, at full stretch, pushed round the post.
After Connor Ripley made his first save of the game, comfortably holding Alex Schalk’s low shot, the Steelmen passed up their best chance of the half. Stephen McManus nodded on Johnson’s in-swinging free kick, but both Kennedy and McDonald failed to nudge the ball over the line.
Just before the break and from yet another Johnson cross Cadden climbed above Andy Davies only to nod the ball down and beyond the post.
While Motherwell deserved to be level at the interval it took a smart save from Ripley at the start of the second half to beat out McShane’s back post header and prevent County from doubling their lead.
The action around the visitor’s goal was resumed with teasing crosses just begging to be converted. Another fine delivery from Johnson was completely missed by McDonald before the Aussie striker prodded Moult’s tempting cross into the side netting.
While the pressure on the County goal was immense, the Highlander’s were always threatening on the counter. And they came close to a second goal after 63 minutes when from another McShane corner Davies’ header was sailing home until Johnson popped up on the line to head the ball clear.
County sensed that a second decisive goal was on the cards and Michael Gardyne had plenty of space and time to finish but his drive from 12 yards was well blocked by Ripley.
After 66 minutes injury forced a change with Stevie Hammell being replaced by Joe Chalmers. Within two minutes, and before the fullback could settle, Stewart Murdoch’s cross from the right picked out Brian Graham who slammed the ball high into the net and virtually kill the game.
With 15 minutes remaining and in attempt to re-energise the side McGhee sent on Lionel Ainsworth and James McFadden.
It looked to have no effect as the game drifted towards a tame end until four minutes from time when ‘Well grabbed a lifeline.
Ainsworth’s corner found Kennedy beyond the back post and his nod setup Stephen Pearson who lashed the ball home to set up a tense finale.
Within a minute ‘Well were almost level when McFadden tried to lob the advancing ‘keeper but Fox stretched to claw the ball away.
As the crowd urged another goal the Fir Parkers were denied a stunning equaliser. With County hemmed in their own box Keith Lasley collected the ball 25 yards out and his terrific strike was destined for the top corner until Fox matched it, flying high to his right to palm the ball away.
Despite pressing towards the visitor’s goal for the additional four minutes County held out for the three points.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park:
FT: Motherwell 1 – 2 Ross County
92′ | 1-2
Curran booked for time wasting.
4 minutes added on…
87′ | 1-2
Fox with a spectacular save to deny Lasley who shot from 25 yards!!
86′ | 1-2
Pearson hammers it home from Kennedy’s knock back. Come on!!
81′ | 0-2
County sub, Schalk off for Morrison
76′ | 0-2
Motherwell subs, Cadden and McDonald off for McFadden and Ainsworth
70′ | 0-2
County sub, Curran on for Graham
69′ | 0-2
Goal – Graham doubles County’s lead, firing home from Murdoch’s cut-back.
66′ | 0-1
Motherwell sub, Hammell limps off for Chalmers
65′ | 0-1
Cadden whips in a great ball which Fox misses. It cannons off Boyd’s head and goes over for a corner.
64′ | 0-1
County on a rare break into the ‘Well half and win a corner. From that, Davies’ header is cleared off the line by Johnson!
63′ | 0-1
Ross County sub, Franks off for Murdoch
54′ | 0-1
Another cross and another good chance! This time it is Moult to the front post but McDonald gets too much on it and puts it wide
52′ | 0-1
Johnson gets into the box and drills in a low cross which McDonald can’t quite react to and the ball runs out of play.
50′ | 0-1
Good chance for Franks after County break and Gardyne clips a ball to the back post but Ripley makes the stop.
Second half is underway. COYW!!
HT: Motherwell 0 – 1 Ross County #MFCvRCFC
37′ | 0-1
Moult clips in a cross to the front post. Cadden rises well but can’t get his header on target, under pressure from Boyd.
34′ | 0-1
CHANCE! Johnson swings in a great free-kick, is McManus flicked on and just missed McDonald by an inch at the back post.
26′ | 0-1
Cadden tries his luck from outside the box and Fox has to dive low to his left to makes the stop. Corner to ‘Well.
24′ | 0-1
Johnson does well down the left and fires in a great cross which Moult gets his head on but can’t direct goalwards.
23′ | 0-1
Fox pulls off a great save, tipping Moult’s looping header over the bar for a corner.
19′ | 0-1
First corner of the game for County….Goal! Irvine fires in at the far post. Really poor goal to conceded.
18′ | 0-0
Moult and Johnson work the ball down the left but Fraser gets enough on the cross to take the sting out it and Fox gathers.
12′ | 0-0
Foster collects a loose ball and whips in a great ball from deep which thankfully had no takers.
11′ | 0-0
Cadden intercepts and slides in Johnson whose shot from outside the box is fired straight at Moult and it deflects wide.
9′ | 0-0
Johnson twists and turns, getting past Fraser but Gardyne gets back and makes a vital covering interception.
County get the game underway. COYW!!!!
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre:
Mark McGhee says no one at Fir Park can afford to dwell on last week’s disappointing defeat at Tynecastle ahead of Saturday’s clash with Ross County.
The Steelmen had been on a run of almost two months without defeat, but the heavy loss in the Capital six days ago.
However, the 58-year old Scotland Assistant says the side can take inspiration from their previous defeat, coincidentally against County in the Highlands in mid November, and how they responded to that.
He said: “When you go back to Ross County and Inverness games, before we started our good run, we went into the next game against Hearts very much thinking we could win.
[pullquote]”You cannot afford to dwell on it and we know that before the end of the season we will win games and lose games, so we don’t lose a beat. With Lasley back and another week to get used to losing Liam Grimshaw, we can get better[/pullquote].
“I have no doubts about the character of each player and the defeat last week didn’t change my opinion of them.”
County have enjoyed an impressive season thus far, confounding many pre-season doubters with a terrific first half under Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds.
McGhee thinks anyone who under-estimated the Dingwall club previously have been well and truly silenced.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised by Ross County anymore,” he explained.
“We all know they are a competitive team and I’ve been watching a lot of their footage and the one thing that stands out is their sheer effort and determination.
“All over the pitch they compete and don’t give you time on the ball. There are no airs and graces about them, they play good, effective football which we will need to be prepared for.”
If you are coming to the Ladbrokes Premiership game with Ross County on Saturday, here is some information you may find important.
Match day Mascots : Fionn Graham, age 11, Glasgow Gaelic School, Maili Graham, age 7, Glasgow Gaelic School
Ticket Office: Open 10am until 3pm
The Well Shop: Open 9.30am until 5.15pm though is closed during the game
Match day programme: Available from The Well Shop & externally at the Stadium priced at £3
50/50 raffle: Tickets are available from sellers outside the stadium and within the hospitality suites
Cooper Suite: Open from 12pm with the bar & hot food available to supporters
Cooper Stand: Face painters are located within the stand’s internal concourse from gates opening at 1.45pm
Centenary Suite: Open from 12.45pm for hospitality members
The club shop have a fantastic match day offer available online and instore but only for a limited period.
Starting at midnight Thursday 21st January and running until midnight on Saturday 23rd, you can pick up this fantastic Copa 70s retro shirt half price.
Usually £35, ‘Well fans who love the style or want to reminisce about the era can pick the shirt up for £17.50.
This shirt comes boxed and is available online at www.motherwelldirect.co.uk or via the Club shop.
The shop, located at the Cooper Stand, is open Friday 9.30am – 4pm and on match day, 9.30am until kick off then for 30mins after the game.
Under 20s boss Stephen Craigan was left with mixed emotions as his side were held to a 2-2 draw with Dunfermline this evening.
The Steelmen found themselves trailing by two going into the last third of the match, but clawed their way back into the match before equalising late on.
However, the Fir Parkers created and missed countless chances in an enthralling night’s entertainment, and Stephen Craigan, althought delighted to have watched his team fight back into the match from a losing position, left thinking what might have been.
He told MFC TV afterwards: “Despite the fact we’ve come back from two behind, it almost feels like a defeat.
“We played so well for the last sixty minutes of the game and indeed, the second half was complete one-way traffic. They tried to play on the counter, which is fine, but I was impressed with the power and the presence we showed and how we moved the ball.
[pullquote]“I should be reflecting on a win, no doubt about it, and how we’ve not won, I’ve no idea, but when you’re 0-2 down with 25 minutes left to go and still take something from the match, the players certainly deserve credit.”[/pullquote]
“Today’s not the first time I’ve spoke after a match about my team creating chances and it’s a similar story tonight. That comes with its own frustrations as we’re trying to get the players, particularly the younger lads, into the mind-set of winning football matches.
“Sure, that needs to be paired with good play; at this level, I’d not want to win every week but not play well, but it’s about finding that balance.
“I should be reflecting on a win, no doubt about it, and how we’ve not won, I’ve no idea, but when you’re 0-2 down with 25 minutes left to go and still take something from the match, the players certainly deserve credit.”
Extended highlights from Excelsior Stadium as goals David Clarkson and Dylan Mackin earn Motherwell U20s a point.
Motherwell Under 20s came back from two behind to draw against Dunfermline, but left wondering how they didn’t take all three points.
The Steelmen were two down when former Hamilton and Hearts wide man David Hopkirk grabbed a double to put his side in a commanding lead.
However, ‘Well were creating chance after chance throughout, and when David Clarkson pulled one back with twenty-five minutes left to play, the comeback was on.
Countless chances came and went before sub Dylan Mackin flicked home a Cadden cross with three minutes left on the clock.
Incredibly, ‘Well created and missed five more chances after that goal, and left Airdrie scratching their heads at how they only managed a single point.
Stephen Craigan was able to call on the likes of Dom Thomas, Kieran Kennedy and David Clarkson, but also had David Ferguson, Chris Cadden and Luke Watt, both of whom having limited first-team experience.
The Pars had several recognisable names including the aforementioned Hopkirk, former Accies and Dundee front man Mickaël Antoine-Curier and ex Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Rhys McCabe.
The Pars made a positive start and Hopkirk flashed a shot over the bar inside the opening sixty seconds. However, he wouldn’t be denied ten minutes later when he put his side ahead.
Ryan Wallace picked up on a loose Thomas pass and he quickly threaded a neat ball in behind Watt for the wide man who drilled through PJ Morrison to give his side the lead.
It took the Steelmen 27 minutes to really test the Pars’ goal and it took an incredible save from Cammy Gill to deny Kennedy from close range. The former Man City and Leicester defender got on the end of Thomas cut back, but his close range effort was somehow tipped onto the frame of the goal from the Pars stopper.
From the resulting corner, the keeper was again in action, tipping a Clarkson header over for a corner.
Pars were content to sit in and hit on the counter, and they almost did just that when Hopkirk collected a long pass before firing just wide.
However, it was only a temporary reprieve as ‘Well were soon on the attack again, creating chances. Ryan Watters curled over, Clarkson had a shot at goal blocked on route for a corner, Ferguson could only aim a shot straight at Gill after Kennedy’s header across goal and Watt had a long-range hit bounce wide of target.
The second half began much in the same vein as the first ended, with the Steelmen having wave after wave of attack. Clarkson’s downward header, following a Watters cross from the right, again forced Gill to save well before Kennedy again went close with a near post header from a Thomas corner.
Then, incredibly, Dunfermline doubled their advantage, again on the counter. Hopkirk, who had just returned to the pitch following a head clash with Kennedy, found himself one-on-one with the ‘Well defender. He cut inside before curling a lovely effort high past Morrison, giving the hosts a mountain to climb.
Stephen Craigan made a double sub, introducing both Dylan Mackin and Allan Campbell in place of David Turnbull and Ryan Watters.
Dom Thomas almost pulled his side level, sending a low teasing cross across goal with no takers. Soon after, a Kennedy header was blocked on route before a Clarkson effort was again turned around by the resilient Pars backline.
However, the hard work was eventually paid off in the shape of a goal in the 65th minute. Campbell released Cadden down the right with a nice pass, only for the midfielder to pull it back for Clarkson on the edge of the area. He took a touch away from his marker before drilling hard and low into the net.
‘Well then proceeded to pepper the home goal, creating chance after chance after chance. Mackin almost levelled within a minute of that Clarkson goal, but his low shot was well held by Gill.
Robbie Leitch then had a shot held by Gill before a the same player’s cross hit a hand on route, but despite loud protests from the Claret and Amber men, the best they got was a corner.
From the resulting kick from the quadrant, Thomas’ ball found Kennedy, but his header came back off the frame of the goal for the second time.
Thomas then had a shot that was headind for the corner before yet another Pars sliding block before Craigan’s men hit the woodwork for a third time. Cadden’s cross was punched out by Gill, landing at the feet of Leitch. His lobbed effort hit the bar and dropped over, much to the disbelief of everyone inside the ground.
Finally, Motherwell got themselves level and it was top-scorer Mackin who scored the important goal. Cadden was again involved, his cross from the right found the striker and he flicked it past Gill to make it 2-2.
With just minutes left on the clock, ‘Well had several chances to win it. Mackin had a good low shot saved by Gill again before the big striker was so close to connecting with a Thomas pass but it rolled just wide of target.
Incredibly, Dunfermline almost robbed a winner when both McCabe and Byrne were denied by good goalkeeping from Morrison, but that wasn’t the end of the chances.
Mackin had another deflected shot that was spectacularly turned around by Gill, before the resulting corner again found the big striker but he headed wide when a goal seemed certain.
It was an astonishing finish to the game – another scintillating Under 20s game that had a bit of everything.
Motherwell: Morrison, Watt, McMillan, Ferguson, Kennedy, Turnbull (Campbell – 59mins), Watters (Mackin – 59mins), R. Leitch, Clarkson, Thomas, Cadden
Subs Not Used: Long, J.Moore, Falconer, Maguire, MacLean
At Motherwell FC we are always looking to improve your day at Fir Park, and currently we are looking for supporters to help the Club on a match day sell our 50/50 draw tickets to fans arriving at the Stadium, with all money collected from the raffle directly supporting the Club’s youth academy.
If you are outgoing, enthusiastic with experience in handling cash and importantly keen to support the development of the Club’s youth players by helping sell these tickets then email email@example.com with your contact details.
These are paid roles based on a commission structure – so the more you sell the more you make – with match ticket included, though we cannot guarantee that you’ll see all the game as you may have responsibilities beyond kick off, including helping count the money and splitting tickets for the draw at half-time.
Applicants should be at least 16 years old.
Extended highlights from Tynecastle, as Motherwell ship six goals in the Capital.