Motherwell U20s returned to winning ways as they dispatched Dundee United by three goals to nil.
Dean Brill, Dom Thomas and Luke Watt were the changes for the U20s from their defeat against Hibs last week as the Fir Parkers put in a solid showing at the Excelsior Stadium.
Despite going up against a side full of experienced first-team players, Stephen Craigan’s side looked assured and relaxed in the opening 15 minutes.
Dom Thomas enjoyed spells of possession out on the left flank, cutting in and driving at the United defence with confidence and urgency.
But there weren’t many clear cut chances despite the youngsters enjoying good spells of possession, with both keepers fairly quiet during the opening spells of the match.
The best chance of the match fell to United’s Scott Fraser, who received the ball from a cut-back that took Dean Brill out of the game.
With two ‘Well defenders rushing back, Fraser’s shot was blocked brilliantly by Barry Maguire to keep the game level.
But it didn’t take long for the ‘Well to take control of the game and in the space of two minutes they found themselves two up after half an hour.
The first was a neat finish from Mackin who fired a low, right-footed shot past Long from just inside the area.
Then, just a minute later, Mackin was involved again as he threaded a perfectly weighted ball in between the full-back and the centre-back in to the run of MacLean.
The midfielder arrived in from the left and from the angle curled with his right foot round the outstretched arm of Long and into the far corner. A wonderful goal from the youngsters.
It remained 2-0 going in to the break as Craigan’s side looked relaxed and in control.
The second period got off on a similar foot.
Just after the 50th minute, MacLean burst the length of the pitch down the right-hand side and fired a brilliant low cross in to Mackin who had travelled the distance of the park with the midfielder on the break.
Mackin so nearly took the ball in on the turn but as he attempted the shot it was just too far away from him.
On the hour mark it was so nearly three for the ‘Well.
MacLean was involved again as he made it to the touchline before looking to cut the ball back. On it’s route, Long got a touch that diverted it towards goal, but as it trickled towards the line it was hooked away to safety.
Brill’s first real save of the game was produced on the 65th minute, when substitute Murrell had an effort from just inside the area.
The first-team keeper got behind it and pushed it away from the danger to keep his clean sheet intact.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, Craigan made his first change, bringing Jake Hastie on for Dom Thomas.
With ten minutes remaining, MacLean was sent charging down the right yet again after a brilliant ball from Brill sent the midfielder on his way, but the ball across looking for Mackin was cut out.
Minutes later, a corner was put on the foot of Turnbull inside the area. The youngster caught it on the volley to turn it towards goal but Donaldson stepped in to block it and keep the game at 2-0.
Craigan made another change on the 84th minute, with goal scorer Mackin being replaced by Falconer.
And it didn’t take the new arrival to the game long to make an impact, bringing down a high ball from Tom Fry and finding himself one-on-one with the keeper but with the length of the United half in front of him, The youngster charged down on goal and slotted it neatly past Long into the keepers bottom right corner.
That goal capped off an incredible, dominant performance from the U20s, who looked back to their scintillating best form.
Motherwell: Brill, McMillan, Maguire, Ferguson, Watt, Campbell, MacLean (Scott – 88mins), Turnbull, Mackin (Falconer – 84mins), Thomas (Hastie – 72mins), Fry
Subs Not Used: Morrison, Livingstone