Motherwell U20s conceded late to share the spoils with Aberdeen tonight in their second Development League fixture of the season.
For Stephen Craigan, it was a positive night at the Excelsior stadium as his side put in yet another impressive performance.
But it didn’t look like it was heading that way during the opening fifteen minutes or so.
First-team stopper Dean Brill was included in the starting line-up and in the opening few minutes produced a brilliant stop to deny Anderson who had been slipped through on goal by McLennan and just had the summer signing to beat.
In the sixth minute, James Scott closed down the ball well to intercept deep in the Aberdeen half, he spread the ball out wide to Dom Thomas who cut in from the right and tested Alexander – but it was an easy save.
Brill was called upon again in the 12th minute, as McLennan raced towards goal and tried to slide it low last the keeper, but he got a good hand to it to turn it past his far post and keep the game goalless.
But it didn’t stay goalless for long and Aberdeen found a deserved breakthrough just two minutes later as Norris turned it beyond Brill after Anderson’s attempted volley was blocked.
Responding positively, the ‘Well youngsters grew into the game and enjoyed long spells of possession in the Aberdeen half.
On the 20th minute, James Scott collected the ball, turning to drive at the defence and knocking it beyond Morris, only to be barged to the deck to win a free kick for Craigan’s side. The following delivery was headed clear.
As the game quietened down, Thomas opted to try one from distance after 28 minutes, but his sliced effort flew past Alexander’s post as the keeper watched on.
Surging forward from fullback, Jack McMillan whipped in a wonderful cross from deep but it was narrowly over everyone’s heads.
With ten minutes left in the half, Aberdeen had it in the back of the net and looked to have doubled their lead, but to the Steelmen’s relief the linesman flagged for offside.
With just minutes left in the first half, Ross turned a clever reverse pass through to Wright, who tried to pull it back from the by-line, but Maguire did well to hoof it clear.
At the start of the second period, the Fir Parkers sparked in to life and started to firmly control the game.
For all their dominance though, they failed to really test Alexander between the Aberdeen sticks, with Ross MacLean firing one on target from 25 yards that didn’t trouble the stopper.
But just before the hour mark, Craigan’s side drew level through birthday boy James Scott.
Dom Thomas did brilliantly down the right flank to beat two men, but it then looked as though the attack had broken down for the ‘Well.
However, the ball fired across the face of goal after being hooked back into danger by the Aberdeen defence, and Scott was on hand to tap it home.
The game settled down and it seemed as though it was going to end in a draw, but with just five minutes left, Luke Watt collected the ball from an over-hit corner, beat his man in the box and curled a brilliant cross in towards the six-yard box where Aberdeen defender Morris steered it beyond Alexander.
And it all looked set that Craigan’s side would hold out for the three points – until a free kick was conceded in the final few seconds of the game.
A deep cross in to the box was headed back across goal and steered beyond Brill by Wright with the very last kick of the game.
It leaves the U20s with four points from their opening two games, with a trip to Edinburgh to face Hibs up next on September 6.