Extended highlights from Ochilview as Ross MacLean strikes to earn the Under 20s a 1-0 win against Hearts in the Development League.
TV: Highlights from OchilviewTuesday 26 January 2016
Hearts U20s 0 – 1 Motherwell U20sMonday 25 January 2016
Motherwell U20s jumped above Hearts in the SPFL Development League with a deserved 0-1 victory this evening.
The Steelmen dominated the first half, creating numerous chances, but failed to get themselves in front in a fast-paced opening forty-five.
However, just after the hour, Ross MacLean netted what turned out to be the winning goal from close range.
The win moves ‘Well up to seventh place, joint on points with sixth place Rangers, the highest they’ve been all campaign.
Stephen Craigan was able to call on plenty of first-team experience against the Jambos. No less than seven starters have tasted action in the SPFL Premiership, including Wes Fletcher, Louis Laing, Joe Chalmers, Dom Thomas, Jack Leitch and others.
The Claret and Amber men started brightly, forcing a couple of early corners, but failed to get their noses in front.
The first real shot of the game came after ten minutes when Dom Thomas’ jinking run presented a chance for Robbie Leitch, only for his long-range effort to drop inches wide of target.
‘Well had a couple of tantalising crosses fly tease their way across the six-yard box without any takers, before Luke Watt came close to netting, only for his hard strike to take a nick off a defender to take it narrowly over. Fletcher headed the resulting corner wide.
It took Hearts until the 30th minute to really threaten when Robbie Buchanan capitalised on some hesitancy between Laing and Brett Long, but the young keeper redeemed himself to block wide.
‘Well replied with a Robbie Leitch shot well held by Jambos stopper Hamilton. A minute later, Ross MacLean’s deep cross to the back post found Thomas, but after jinking past his marker, his shot was blocked on route at the expense of a corner.
Thomas himself took the resulting kick, finding Louis Laing with a whipped near-post cross, but the defenders effort hit the bar before bouncing clear.
As the first half drew to a close, both Jack Leitch and MacLean got on the end of back post crosses, both neither could get any real connection and the chances were gone.
For all ‘Well dominated the first-half, the second half was a much more low key affair, with neither side creating much in the way of guilt-edge chances.
In fact, the first real action of the half resulted in the goal. Hamilton turned around Dom Thomas’ shot for a corner. When the ball eventually came over, Watt took aim and fired a low shot at goal. Hearts hadn’t got out in time, and it landed at Ross MacLean who had the simplest of tasks, turning and lifting it over the already grounded keeper into the net.
Hearts almost hit back quickly, when Buchanan found himself unmarked in the 18-yard box, but his downward header was straight at Long who saved.
Down the other end, the Leitch brothers combined well in the middle of the part to tee up Fletcher, but the former Burnley and York man scooped over.
‘Well had defended well all match and forced the home side to long range efforts and crosses from deep. One such free kick from Ian Smith almost deceived Long in the Fir Parker’s goal, but the keeper did well to turn it away after
That was the last of the action, but for a late Thomas shot in stoppage time, that Hamilton again did well to turn around for a corner.
Motherwell: Long, McMillan, Watt, Laing, Chalmers, Campbell, R. Leitch, J.Leitch, MacLean, Thomas, Fletcher (Mackin – 78mins)
Subs Not Used: Morrison, Moore, Turnbull, Maguire, Watters, Livingstone
Jake Taylor’s loan terminatedMonday 25 January 2016
Jake Taylor’s loan from Reading has been terminated and the player has returned south.
The 24-year old, who was capped by Wales back in 2014, joined on a season long deal from the Royals back in early August, but only started seven games in Claret and Amber.
Indeed, he hasn’t featured in a first team squad since ‘Well’s defeat to Ross County back in mid November.
Although his agreement was originally scheduled to expire in May 2016, the deal has been cut short to allow the player to join English League Two side Exeter City on a permanent basis.
Taylor is the second player to depart Fir Park today after Theo Robinson left to join Port Vale.
[pullquote]Jake is a good lad and conducted himself terrifically well here, but things haven’t really worked out.[/pullquote]
‘Well boss Mark McGhee commented: “Jake is a good lad and conducted himself terrifically well here, but things haven’t really worked out.
“Similar to Theo, that can happen after a manager departs and I was honest enough to tell him back in December that he wasn’t likely to feature in my plans going forward.
“He accepted that, it was all very amicable, and he leaves the club on good terms.”
Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to thank Jake for his contribution at Fir Park and wish him every success in his future career.
Robinson leaves to join Port ValeMonday 25 January 2016
Motherwell FC can today confirm Theo Robinson has left the club to join English League One side Port Vale.
Robinson was signed by former boss Ian Baraclough in late August 2015, but only managed three starts over the next five months.
He has left to join the Valiants on a deal until the end of the season.
[pullquote]This is a good opportunity for us to try and reshape the squad a little during the January window.[/pullquote]
‘Well boss Mark McGhee said: “It’s not quite worked out for Theo here at Fir Park, but that can happen, particularly if the manager who signs you leaves so soon after you arrive.
“This is a good opportunity for us to try and reshape the squad a little during the January window.”
Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to thank Theo for his contribution at Fir Park and wish him every success in his future career.
TV: Highlights from Fir ParkSaturday 23 January 2016
Extended highlights from Fir Park as despite a late Stephen Pearson goal, Motherwell lose 2-1 to Ross County.
TV: McGhee frustrated with home lossSaturday 23 January 2016
Mark McGhee was left hugely frustrated after watching his side slip to their first home defeat in two and a half months.
‘Well went behind to Jackson Irvine’s effort, frustrating given the Aussie was only a last-second inclusion in the starting eleven after Martin Woods took ill during the warm-up.
The Steelmen created, but missed, numerous chances during the first-half and in their eagerness to get level, at times fell victim to the County counter-attack.
One of them brought about a Brian Graham goal that double the Staggies lead, and it looked game set and match.
However, to their credit, the hosts continued to push and eventually reduced the arrears when Stephen Pearson smashed home from close range.
[pullquote]We’re hugely frustrated and hugely disappointed to lose a game which, at the very worst, we should’ve had a point.[/pullquote]
Scott Fox then bailed his side out with a number of excellent saves in the dying seconds, to give Jim McIntyre’s men their first ever victory in North Lanarkshire.
“I thought we deserved to take something from the game,” McGhee told MFC TV after the match.
“We’ve lost two goals, one from a set-play which was hugely disappointing and the other being suckered by a stereotypical counter-attack, but we continued to probe and press and dominated possession for large spells.
“I suppose the big frustration is that for all that territorial advantage, it wasn’t until late on before we turned that into clear cut chances.
“So overall we’re hugely frustrated and hugely disappointed to lose a game which, at the very worst, we should’ve had a point.”
Ross County defeat in picturesSaturday 23 January 2016
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.
Motherwell 1 – 2 Ross CountySaturday 23 January 2016
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:
McGhee – We must move on quicklyFriday 22 January 2016
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.”
Supporter Info | Ross CountyFriday 22 January 2016
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