Motherwell U20s took an early lead but failed to secure the three points as they drew 1-1 away to St Mirren in the Development League.
A Dylan Mackin finish in the opening seconds was cancelled out by a tap-in from Andy Webster on an afternoon when the Steelmen dominated much of the game.
Stephen Craigan named a few changes as his side returned to action following last week’s break – with Tom Fry shifted to an unfamiliar right back role and Dean Brill starting between the sticks.
It was a lightning quick start for the Steelmen who took the lead just seconds after the referee got the game underway.
A terrific delivery from the left flank from Adam Livingstone was turned neatly beyond St Mirren keeper Reece Willison from six yards by Dylan Mackin with a neat side-footed finish.
That didn’t settle the U20s but instead made them appear hungry for more – with MacLean, Turnbull, Thomas and Hastie all trying their luck from around 20 yards within the opening 15 minutes, but it remained 0-1.
It perhaps should have been two when Fry burst forward from right-back and put in a near perfect low ball across the corridor of uncertainty, but no one could get on the end of it and St Mirren remained just the one goal behind.
Craigan’s side continued to dominate for the opening 30 minutes but with ten minutes remaining in the half, the Saints clawed one back.
It was against the run of play but it was cheap from Motherwell defensively.
A free kick was swung into the box by Connor O’Keefe and it was glanced onto the post via the finger tips of ‘Well stopper Brill – only for the rebound to fall to Andy Webster who tapped it in to an empty net.
There were numerous calls for handball after Thomas’ cross deflected up on to the hand of Webster, but the referee waved play on and minutes later brought the first half to a close.
Craigan replaced Adam Livingstone with Jordan Armstrong at the break.
The second half offered a number of chances for either side in the opening exchanges – St Mirren went close through Orsi from close range then O’Keefe from outside the box, but it was Motherwell who went closest through goal scorer Mackin.
Allan Campbell did superbly to win the ball despite the battling of two St Mirren players, slowing the ball to fall to Hastie. The winger charged inside from the left and teed up Motherwell’s number nine who took a touch and curled an incredible strike towards the top corner. Saints stopper Willison stood and watched and was ultimately relieved to see it come crashing back off the bar.
St Mirren made their first change of the afternoon just before the hour mark, withdrawing goal scorer Webster and replacing him with Greig McNaughton.
Straight after the change, Mackin went close from just inside the box, but on his right foot the goal scorer failed to hit the target.
Motherwell started to ramp up their game a notch with around 25 minutes left – searching for a winner.
Thomas in particular looked lively and was involved heavily in the Fir Parkers attacks.
Hastie linked-up well with the midfielder, who looked up and charged towards the Saints goal before curling a low effort on target, but Willison saved comfortably.
Two minutes later, the ‘Well number seven nearly scored a wonder goal, collecting the ball on the edge of the box before beating his man with a Cruyff turn and striking a powerful effort over the bar.
He was at the heart of things just seconds later, from a throw in he beat his marker with ease and burst through the centre of the park, unleashing a good effort from 20 yards, but Willison did well to get across and gather it.
Dylan Mackin was inches away from grabbing a winner in the 85th minute, but his strike took a slight deflection and went wide. From the corner, the big striker appeared to be fouled in the box and there were calls for a penalty, but again the referee said no.
It nearly cost the Steelmen too, as McLear struck inches over the crossbar after a neat cutback with the last kick of the game.
It finished all square and the draw means the youngsters sit fourth in the Development League table, but are now without a win in their last three matches.