Motherwell U20s returned to Development League action with a 3-1 loss away to Falkirk tonight after progressing in the Youth Cup at the weekend.
In the opening 15 minutes it was clear to see the youngsters had been playing little over 48 hours before tonight’s match with a tired looking ‘Well side struggling to settle the game down.
They weathered the storm though with the only real chances for the hosts squandered by winger Langton, who failed to test Morrison with one effort and scuffed his other straight at the stopper.
But Craigan’s side grew into the match and strung together some neat build-up play but failed to properly test Mehmet.
James McFadden, stepping in to the starting eleven, dazzled at points in the opening 45, with his touch and vision proving too much for the Bairn defence to handle at points.
Shortly after the 20th minute the ex-Everton man slipped Fry in down the right for the young midfielder to cut back to Turnbull on the edge of the area, but his shot was blocked by the first man.
Two minutes later Falkirk were forced to make a change after Nathan Austin picked up a knock, he was replaced by Reis Peggie.
From then on it was mostly all Motherwell but there were very few chances.
McFadden was central to most of it with a couple of dangerous crosses causing Falkirk problems.
But it was in the 40th minute when he danced his way through the middle of the park, cutting on to his left and unleashing a strike on goal that it seemed the ‘Well would break the deadlock, but Eadie did brilliantly to lunge in and block it from travelling towards goal.
The score remained goalless going in to the break as neither keeper came under much threat.
The second half got off to a quicker start but unfortunately it was the hosts who looked the sharper and then took the lead in the 55th minute.
Scott Shepherd managed to knock the ball down from a corner and it fell for Cameron Eadie who managed to react quickly and prod beyond Morrison.
Craigan made a couple of changes not long after the opening goal. First he brought on Scott for Mackin then Hastie for McFadden.
The Bairns doubled their advantage ten minutes after taking the lead and it was an instinctive reaction finish from substitute Peggie who caught it sweetly on the bounce from the edge of the box to fire it low past Morrison.
Much like the first team on Saturday, the youngsters hit back instantly, with substitute Jake Hastie turning Allan Campbell’s cross beyond Mehmet.
Falkirk had a great chance to grab their third when Morrison was deemed to have picked up a pass back resulting in an indirect free-kick for the hosts. Peter Grant curled the tee-up beyond Morrison but off the post but the keeper then managed to clear it.
Craigan made his final substitute in the 75th minute, replacing Fry with young attacker Dylan Falconer.
Under ten minutes later and with ten minutes left, Falkirk put the game out of reach when they bagged their third. Shepherd charged towards a loose ball, getting his toe to it before Morrison could collect to prod it beyond the stopper.
With five minutes remaining, young full back Jack McMillan curled a phenomenal strike on goal that crashed off the crossbar.
But the youngsters couldn’t find a way back in to the match and it finished 3-1.