Action images from this afternoon’s 1-2 defeat to St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix
Action images from this afternoon’s 1-2 defeat to St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix
Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell hopes of overtaking St Johnstone and claiming fourth place were dealt a blow as the Perth men came from behind to claim the points.
The final home game of what has turned out to be an enthralling season turned into a disappointing afternoon for the Fir Park fans.
Motherwell’s perfect start through a Scott McDonald goal looked to set them up for another home win but goals from Steven MacLean and Danny Swanson before half-time turned the game and points the visitor’s way.
With Stevie Hammell suspended, Marvin Johnson played a more defensive role on the left side, where he used his pace to great effect. And with Lionel Ainsworth supporting Scott McDonald and Louis Moult up front the Fir Park men had plenty of attacking options.
That resulted in a perfect, if rather fortunate start going a goal up within four minutes. Moult sent the ball down the right channel with Chris Cadden in pursuit. But after Zander Clark raced to the edge of his box to the ball clear he was caught by the young ‘Well midfielder. While everyone waited for referee Greg Aitken to blow for an infringement, McDonald nodded the loose ball into the unguarded net for his 14th of the season.
Enjoying the freedom on the left Johnson had a couple of deep surging runs and after 14 minutes a terrific run and cross picked out Ainsworth but he slashed his volley wide of target.
‘Well’s luck continued a minute later when following a smart free kick from Saints, Liam Craig’s low shot cracked off the face of the post with the home defence quick to react and block the rebound.
Keith Lasley, only included as the club appealed his red card at Aberdeen, probably wished he had been elsewhere as Danny Swanson’s heavy collision left the ‘Well captain grounded for several minutes.
After 24 minutes Johnson was again the architect cutting along the goal line before laying the ball back to McDonald but his angled drive raced across the goal face and wide of target.
Saints, though, were playing with great determination to hold onto fourth spot and after producing a couple of interventions Connor Ripley got down to smother David Wotherspoon’s shot with Graham Cummins waiting for a slip.
The Perth side grabbed an equaliser in the 34th minute. Brian Easton swept in a cross from the left which eluded Stephen McManus and Cummins in the centre but the unmarked Steven MacLean nipped in behind them to direct the ball past Ripley to make it 1-1.
The Steelmen might have restored their lead four minutes before half time when Cadden’s strength took him to the goal line but his inviting cross a yard in front of goal was just in front of Moult.
But it was Saints who took the lead two minutes from the break. Wotherspoon’s corner ended on the far side of the box where the unmarked Swanson calmly steered the ball between Ripley and his right hand post.
Within four minutes of the restart McDonald came close to repeating his first half feat, tuning smartly on Johnson’s throw in only to see his volley dip just wide of Clark’s right hand post.
At the other end Ripley was at full stretch to beat away Wotherspoon’s powerful 12 yard drive.
Probably still feeling the effects of his first half grounding, Lasley made way for Joe Chalmers allowing Johnson to push further forward. That substitution was quickly followed by another, Dom Thomas a standout in the Youth Cup win at Hampden, getting 30 minutes to see if his trickery could help turn the game ‘Well’s way.
However, shots high and wide from Cadden and Johnson respectively, were the only real threats on Saints’ goal.
In injury time McDonald’s weak trundled effort summed up the the home side’s energy as they ended their home campaign with a defeat.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 1 – 2 St Johnstone
There will be four minutes added on.
87′ | 1-2
An absolutely laughable attempt at simulation there from Fisher. Embarrassing stuff.
83′ | 1-2
Motherwel sub, Leitch on for Johnson
MATCH ATTAX | Young ‘Well fans can vote now for their Man of the Match. Tweet us with your name, age, choice and #MatchAttaxMOTM.
79′ | 1-2
St Johnstone sub, Swanson off for Scobbie
75′ | 1-2
Johnson with a shot from range but he can’t get it on target. Into the final 15….
74′ | 1-2
St Johnstone sub, Cummins off for Kane
70′ | 1-2
Cadden down receiving treatment. Ref misses the foul……..
66′ | 1-2
Pearson take a booking for a foul on Swanson then the refs misses a tug on Pearson which would have seen Fisher sent off.
59′ | 1-2
Second Motherwell sub of the afternoon, Thomas on for Ainsworth.
57′ | 1-2
Set-piece corner sets Pearson free in the box but he can’t get his cross right, which hits the top of the bar and goes out.
55′ | 1-2
Strong hands from Ripley to save form Wotherspoon who was threaded though on goal.
53′ | 1-2
Motherwell sub, Lasley makes way for Chalmers
50′ | 1-2
Up the other end, Shaughnessy’s header clips the top of the bar and is just over.
49′ | 1-2
McDonald inches away from a brilliant goal as he drops the shoulder and fires away a shot from 25 yards which goes just wide!!
Motherwell get the second 45 underway. COYW!
HT: Motherwell 1 – 2 St Johnstone
44′ | 1-2
Goal – Saints have turned it around, Swanson unmarked at the back post and slots it past Ripley.
42′ | 1-1
So close! Cadden gets away from Craig and fires it in across the face of goal but no ‘Well man can take advantage!
38′ | 1-1
Fisher booked for obstructing Johnson as he broke down the left…
36′ | 1-1
St Johnstone sub, Brown on for the injured Davidson.
34′ | 1-1
Goal – MacLean brings Saints level with a good finish from a deep Easton cross from the left.
24′ | 1-0
Good chance for McDonald. Again Johnson is involved, cutting it back but the Aussie slices his shot wide of the post.
22′ | 1-0
The Captain returns to action after some treatment from @stokesay16
20′ | 1-0
Pause in play as Lasley receives treatment for a head knock.
17′ | 1-0
Chance for Cadden! Moult nods it down to him 8 yards out but cant’ get enough power in it to trouble Clark.
16′ | 1-0
Off the post from Craig! Saints work a set-piece and his shot from 25 yards comes off the base of the post.
15′ | 1-0
What a goal that would have been!! Johnson skins Wotherspoon and curls it into Ainsworth who volleys just past from the edge!
11′ | 1-0
Decent chance for Cummins as he gets on the end of Craig’s cross but there is no conviction in his header and its easy for Ripley
4′ | 1-0
Cadden pressures Clark into a sliced clearance which leaves McDONALD to nod into the empty net! 1-0!!
St Johnstone get the game underway. COYW!
Out come the teams, usual colours for both sides. #MFCvSJFC
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
Motherwell FC today thanked their fans for working with the club to stay off the pitch at the end of the game.
As a part of the SPFL Commission, the club had to demonstrate clearly that it would prevent another pitch incursion, which the commission deemed as ‘unacceptable conduct’ when reviewing the Play-off Final of 31st May 2015.
As we detailed in a statement back in March 2016 and again at the start of this week, the threat posed to the club in the event of another incursion was potentially significant, possibly even material.
We had to take an extremely visible presence during and at the end of the game, something that fans hopefully know is not the norm at Fir Park.
We understand some of our supporters may have felt the actions were severe and that it spoiled their enjoyment of the game, and for that we apologise. With the risk, we were almost damned if we do, and very much damned if we didn’t.
However, we would like to once again sincerely thank the fans for their cooperation in ensuring the requirements of the commission were met this afternoon.
Highlights from the final Development League game of the season, as Motherwell lose 1-2 to Celtic.
Motherwell Under 20s signed off their 15/16 campaign with a 1-2 defeat to Celtic at Excelsior Stadium this afternoon.
A first-half double from Hoops front man Calvin Miller was enough to cancel out a fine David Turnbull volley and give the Development League champions all three points.
The game was a typical end of season fare with little in the way of chances until the 25th minute when Celtic took the lead.
Regan Hendry collected the ball on the edge of the box and had a snapshot which flashed across Long, struck the far post, came back off the other post and fell into the path of Miller who made no mistake with the finish from six yards.
With little between the sides, Motherwell were back level seven minutes later.
Dom Thomas’ cross was headed clear by Kelleher only as far as Turnbull who showed great technique to volley low into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Celtic were back ahead, though, ten minutes later through Miller again.
Mark Hill’s pass was deflected into Miller who showed a great piece of skill to get past Maguire and produced a fine curled finish into the far corner.
Motherwell arguably had the two best chances of the second half.
The first fell to Josh Moore who got on the end of Falconer’s ball into the box and although the winger got enough power in his header, he couldn’t quite direct it past Doohan who saved well.
Moore was also involved in a good chance for Falconer. He won the ball on the counter and although he was tackled, managed to ping the ball through to the pint-sized striker who opted to go for power but ended up firing just over the bar from 18 yards.
Despite the defeat, Motherwell finish the season in sixth place. Added to the Youth Cup success, it’s been a very impressive debut season for Stephen Craigan.
Motherwell: Long, McMillan, Ferguson, Maguire, Livingstone, Moore (MacLean – 85), Campbell, Turnbull, Thomas, Leitch, Falconer
Unused subs: Morrison
Both Mark McGhee and Stephen Robinson have been issued with a Notice of Complaint from the Scottish FA compliance officer.
Mark McGhee has been offered, and accepted, an immediate one-match ban for a breach of Disciplinary Rule 203 surrounding comments made to the fourth official at the conclusion of Saturday’s match with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
From the same game, Assistant Stephen Robinson has been accused of a similar offence, relating to alleged comments to the fourth official on the 88th minute.
Stephen will appear in front of a hearing at Hampden Park on Thursday 12th May, but is available to be in the Motherwell dugout at least until the hearing is concluded.
Further to the official statement on March 9th, the club would like to take another opportunity to remind fans ahead of Saturday’s final home match of the season against St Johnstone.
Following the conclusion of the SPFL Commission in relation to the Premiership / Championship Playoff 2nd Leg on May 31st 2015, where the club robustly defended itself, it agreed to take forward the various action points set out in the decision.
Although much of what is required of the club is and has been addressed, it is vitally important to re-emphasise the role of our supporters in helping meet the requirements of the commission.
While the club acknowledges that the end of season pitch incursions at Fir Park, by predominantly young supporters, have almost always been celebratory and without malice, incursions themselves are considered to be ‘unacceptable conduct’ and may give rise to further disorder.
In particular, the incursion on 31st May 2015 was found to be disorderly by the commission.
It is clear that the league will no longer accept these incursions and the club could face extremely serious sanctions should there be a repeat this weekend against St Johnstone, or any other game for that matter. It is absolutely paramount that no fan enters the pitch or trackside area, either at Fir Park or elsewhere, at any time.
Should this instruction be ignored, the club will reluctantly be left with no other alternative but to take appropriate action against those concerned, which will include a significant ban from the stadium and possible prosecution by Police Scotland.
Motherwell Football Club is immensely proud of its supporters and appreciates every single fan that follows the club each and every week, through good times and bad.
We would ask every supporter to take heed of the message and work with us to ensure no further issues or problems.
Motherwell Football Club can confirm that it has today (Tuesday) formally submitted an appeal to the Scottish FA in relation to Keith Lasley’s red card during Saturday’s SPFL Premiership match against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
The skipper was shown a straight red card by the match official in the closing stages after being accused of serious foul play in a clash with Dons player Kenny McLean.
Bobby Madden, who had a clear view from just yards away, appeared to initially deem the tackle a bookable offence and had the yellow card in his hand, but changed his mind, presumably on the advice of another official.
The club strongly believes this to be a case of wrongful dismissal and has therefore submitted an appeal this afternoon. The Scottish FA have notified the club the hearing will take place on Thursday 12th May 2016.
Manager Mark McGhee said: “Having watched it back several times, I thought it was more of a tired, miss-timed tackle, rather than one that was reckless, violent or with intent to hurt the opponent.
[pullquote]Having watched it back several times, I thought it was more of a tired, miss-timed tackle, rather than one that was reckless, violent or with intent to hurt the opponent.[/pullquote]
“There was another tackle earlier in the game that was fairly similar in many ways, that resulted in a booking, which is why I was surprised at the red card. Obviously Bobby, who I thought had a good game overall, had the yellow in his hand and he’s changed his mind, which he’s perfectly entitled to do, but I think his initial gut reaction to the challenge was the correct one.”
General Manager Alan Burrows added: “Our Football Administrator Karen Paterson has already submitted a Player Reference for Fast Tracking proceeding to the Compliance Officer, and will follow that with the relevant evidence tomorrow.
“We’ve only ever had fair and thorough experience when we’ve appealed Stephen McManus and Scott McDonald’s incorrect red cards and I expect the same again in this instance.”
Highlights from Pittodrie as ten man Motherwell are beaten 4-1 by Aberdeen.
Mark McGhee says his players will have to regroup after looking jaded during today’s defeat at Pittodrie.
The Steelmen went into the match on the back of six wins from seven games, a monumental effort and run that lifted the side from eleventh to fourth, securing a top-six spot along the way.
However, the Scotland Assistant admitted that push has taken it out the players, and he will have to regroup ahead of two vital matches against both St Johnstone and Ross County over the next eleven days.
The Fir Park boss told MFC TV after today’s 4-1 defeat: “We were poor and lost a couple of really bad goals.
[pullquote]We need to regroup, get the players as fresh as we can and go into the next two matches against St Johnstone and Ross County looking to win.[/pullquote]
“We improved a little after the break, and after getting a goal at 3-1, they appeared to be wobbling and we had a couple of good chances to make it 3-2 and really put some pressure on, but they scored again to kill the match.
“We didn’t play as well as can. We were less joined up, lacked a little cohesion and weren’t aggressive as we have been, certainly not as much as last week.
“But even that game at Fir Park last weekend, and the shift the players have put in over recent months, takes it toll. They’ve given us a fantastic return, and almost every game since the turn of the year we’ve been flat out. Yes, there have been disappointment along the way, but we’ve put a fantastic effort.
“We need to regroup, get the players as fresh as we can and go into the next two matches against St Johnstone and Ross County looking to win.”