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    Motherwell U20s 3 – 2 Falkirk U20s

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    Craigan: We must keep momentum

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    U20s face Falkirk in Development League

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    Inverness CT in pictures

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    Robinson: Terrific three points

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    Motherwell 4 – 2 Inverness CT

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    Heneghan and Gordon in the Signing Zone

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    Inverness matchday magazine preview

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    Inverness CT: A closer look

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    Motherwell U20s 3 – 2 Falkirk U20s

    Motherwell under-20s secured their highest Development League points tally with a 3-2 win over Falkirk tonight.

    A Dylan Mackin brace and Jack McMillan’s second goal in two games was enough for the Fir Parkers to break down a resolute Bairns side.

    Stephen Craigan included senior players Jacob Blyth, Joe Chalmers, David Ferguson and Russell Griffiths in his side as the youngsters looked to extend their run of form following last weeks 4-0 victory over St Mirren.

    But they endured a difficult opening ten minutes to give themselves an uphill task.

    Blyth went down injured after just six minutes and had to eventually make his way off the park and then down the tunnel in crutches. That forced the Fir Parkers in to a hasty change as Jake Hastie came on.

    Just a few minutes later though and matters got worse when Reis Peggie fired a thunderous effort past Griffiths from just inside the area.

    From that point onwards, Craigan’s side grew in to the game and enjoyed long periods with the ball but couldn’t break down a resolute Bairns backline.

    Hastie summed up the Steelmen’s frustrations with an ambitious effort from distance, but McMinn could only push it wide.

    From the resulting corner, Falkirk again turned it away from danger but at the expense of yet another set piece.

    Adam Livingstone swung a terrific ball in to the area for the head of Mackin, who leaped highest to head beyond McMinn.

    On the stroke of half time, Hastie could have nodded the Fir Parkers in front but, on the stretch, couldn’t get over it and it sailed over the bar.

    The half time whistle came at a time when Motherwell seemed to be growing in to the game, but the break didn’t halt the youngsters – who came flying out the traps at the start of the second period.

    Mackin nodded his second of the game beyond McMinn in the 48th minute but took a hefty knock in the process – showing terrific bravery to head the Fir Parkers in front.

    Five minutes later and the youngsters made it three when Hastie’s low effort was palmed in to the path of a grateful Jack McMillan, who made no mistake as he slotted home his second goal in his last two games.

    With just over ten minutes remaining, Craigan gave Mackin a rest and brought on Alfredo Agyeman as his side looked to see the game out.

    But with just a few minutes to go, Falkirk drew one back and made the final moments a little more nervy for the Steelmen.

    From a freekick just outside the box on the right corner of the area, Kyle Johnson struck an unstoppable effort across goal in to the far top corner, right in the postage stamp.

    It was too little, too late as far as the visitors were concerned, but for Craigan and the Motherwell under-20s, it was a good win, made sweeter by the fact it secured the club’s highest ever Development League finish.

     

    Motherwell U20s: Griffiths, McMillan, Livingstone, Ferguson, Chalmers, Armstrong, Fry, Turnbull, Mackin (Agyeman ’78), Blyth (Hastie ‘6), Gordon

    Unused subs: Pettigrew

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    Craigan: We must keep momentum

    U20s boss Stephen Craigan believes it is hugely important for his side to maintain momentum as they head in to the final few games of the season.

    And with Falkirk up next for the under-20s, the manager looked ahead to another interesting encounter, with Falkirk just one spot behind the Steelmen in the Development League table.

    Speaking to MFC TV, the Northern Irishman said: “Players want to be involved with the first team and they want to step up but that’s a challenge for the players individually.

    [pullquote]The challenge for us is to keep them going, but I haven’t really had a problem with them in that sense in the past, so I don’t expect that will come in now.[/pullquote]

    “Some of the boys are still fighting for contracts and and some of them are fighting to stay in the game, and some of them are fighting to potentially get on the bench for the first team.”

    He added: “The challenge for us is to keep them going, but I haven’t really had a problem with them in that sense in the past, so I don’t expect that will come in now.”

    You can watch the full interview with the U20s boss on MFC TV’s official YouTube channel.

    MFC TV

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    U20s face Falkirk in Development League

    Motherwell U20s are in league action tomorrow night as they take on Falkirk U20s at the Excelsior Stadium.

    Following last weeks 4-0 against St Mirren U20s, Craigan’s side will be keen to carry on their run of form and extend their winning run in the Development League.

    A brace from Davie Turnbull and goals from Jake Hastie and Jack McMillan sealed a comfortable victory for the youngsters last time out.

    Tomorrow’s opponents Falkirk currently sit sixth in the table, just one spot below the young Steelmen in fifth, making for an interesting encounter between the two sides.

    There is just five points separating the teams too, with Falkirk coming in to the match on the back of a 3-0 win over Dundee, having played a game more than the ‘Well.

    For all the action, follow @MotherwellFC on Twitter for live updates and to catch the highlights, subscribe to the official MFC TV YouTube channel.

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended Highlights from Fir Park goals from Chris Cadden, Louis Moult, Scott McDonald and Allan Campbell secure the three points for the Steelmen.

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    Inverness CT in pictures

    Images from today’s  4-2 win over Inverness CT in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”inverness150417″]

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    Robinson: Terrific three points

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson hailed today’s 4-2 victory over Inverness as a “terrific” three points.

    And it means his side have moved out of the relegation play-off spot to tenth in the table going in to the final five fixtures of the campaign.

    Speaking to MFC TV at full time, Robinson reflected on a dramatic afternoon at Fir Park.

    [pullquote]That’s a terrific three points but we made hard work of it if I’m being totally honest.[/pullquote]

    He said: “That’s a terrific three points but we made hard work of it if I’m being totally honest.

    “We went 2-0 up and it should have been three – [Bowman] should have scored and then the game would’ve been out of sight.”

    He added: “Credit to Inverness they came back in to the game and they’re obviously fighting for their lives, but I felt we dropped off them and let them play too much.”

    MFC TV

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    Motherwell 4 – 2 Inverness CT

    [tab:Match report]

    Motherwell picked the perfect time to end their winless run at Fir Park with a hard fought victory over Inverness CT and hoist themselves seven points ahead of the bottom placed Highlanders.

    And after being denied a couple of goals this season when the ball had crossed the line, ‘Well’s luck changed for the critical third goal when Owain Fon-Williams appeared to have prevented Scott McDonald’s header from crossing his goal-line.

    That controversy should have been redundant as an early double from Chris Cadden and the returning Louis Moult should have had ‘Well comfortably on course for three crucial points.

    However, an Alex Fisher double either side of half-time forced ‘Well to raise their game for the final half hour and McDonald’s goal and a first senior goal from Allan Campbell set up the Fir Park men for another ‘six pointer’ when Dundee visit in a fortnight’s time.

    Moult returned from injury to lead a three pronged attack and in a perfect start, ’Well found themselves 2-0 up within the opening eight minutes.

    With six minutes played Campbell fed the ball wide to Cadden who, instead of bolting down the wing, cut inside and after drifting across a couple of opponents the young midfielder curled a sumptuous left foot shot beyond the diving Owain Fon-Williams and inside the ‘keeper’s right post for a glorious goal and start.

    Two minutes later it was 2-0. Moult whipped in an inswinging cross intended for Bowman but the ball curled narrowly over the striker and the ‘keeper to bounce over the line for a fortunate goal.

    Motherwell should have been further ahead after 15 minutes when Moult’s low 30-yard drive was palmed out by Fon-Williams but, after latching onto the rebound, Bowman only rattled the ball against a relieved Caley ‘keeper.

    From what should have been a commanding position ‘Well lost their way and after a few threats on the home goal the Highlander’s pulled one back in the 21st minute. Greg Tansey’s shot was down the middle of the goal until Fisher’s outstretched leg deflected the ball beyond Samson.

    As the visitor’s began to boss the midfield, Samson became the busier ‘keeper and he smartly held a rising shot from Fisher.

    However, it was the Thistle stopper who produced a stunning triple save after 32 minutes and prevented ‘Well from restoring their two goal advantage.

    Frear’s cut back picked out Pearson and his shot was blocked by Fon-Williams. The ball found its way back to Bowman and from 8-yards his thumping effort forced a terrific reaction save from the ‘keeper before he recovered to push Moult’s follow up round the post.

    Three minutes later Samson matched his opposite number with a couple of stunning stops of his own. Fisher evaded Carl McHugh’s challenge to head towards goal and his low angled drive looked destined for the far corner of the goal until Samson, at full stretch, got a firm hand to guide the ball narrowly past his post.

    And from the resultant corner, Fisher was again denied when his bullet header was parried wide of his post by the ‘Well ‘keeper.

    As half-time approached, the Steelmen regained some of the their composure and goal threat, as Cadden’s in swinging corner was punched off the line by Fon-Williams before the ‘keeper held Pearson’s effort.

    Motherwell started the second half on the front foot with a series of crosses testing Caley at the back.

    But against the run of play the visitors grabbed an equaliser after 54 minutes when a through ball through a flat footed home defence found Fisher who calmly chipped the advancing Samson to make it 2-2.

    Four minutes later, Stephen Robinson reshaped his side – Lionel Ainsworth replaced a limping Bowman and from that stage‘Well took complete control.

    After 65 minutes – Frear, who grows in confidence and influence with each passing game, made space on his right before delivering the ball to the back post where McDonald’s header was clawed off his line by Fon-Williams. But as play raged on the referee’s assistant indicated that the ball had crossed the line and ‘Well had regained the lead.

    The Thistle ‘keeper protested that he had saved it but there was no doubting the next goal just five minutes later.

    This time McDonald showed great determination after slipping at the egde of the box. He recovered to get to the bye-line and from a similar position to Frear, squeezed the ball across goal for the inrushing Campbell to power his header home.

    That quick double knocked the fight out of Inverness and as they pushed for a goal, ‘Well might have added another but had only a Jacob Blyth’s turn and low shot straight at the ‘keeper for their efforts.

    In injury time, Samson capped a fine afternoon with an impressive save high to his left to push away Iain Vigurs’ 30 yard drive, as ‘Well moved away from ICT and above Dundee at the foot of the table.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

     

    FULL TIME!

    91′ | 4-2
    Great save from Samson! Dives high to his left to palm Vigurs’ shot away!!

    90′ | 4-2
    Three minutes added on.

    88′ | 4-2
    Really, really poor tackle on Ainsworth from Tansey. Booked.

    87′ | 4-2
    Motherwell sub, Hammell off for Jules

    86′ | 4-2
    Ainsworth picks out Blyth with a good forward ball. The striker takes it on his chest before firing at Fon-Williams

    83′ | 4-2
    Motherwell sub, Moult makes way for Blyth

    76′ | 4-2
    Campbell takes an elbow to the face and Collum lets play rage on for a good few minutes before he stops play for treatment.

    74′ | 4-2
    ICT sub, Anier on for King

    69′ | 4-2
    It’s ALLAN CAMPBELL!!!! McDonald clips in a great ball and the midfielder heads past Fon-Williams!!

    GGGGOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!

    65′ | 3-2
    Great ball in from Frear, headed off the post by McDonald and clawed out by Fon-Williams but linesman said it was over the line!

    GGGOOOAAALLL!!!!!

    62′ | 2-2
    ICT sub, Vigurs off for Mulraney

    61′ | 2-2
    ‘Wel break through Pearson who then threads in Ainsworth but his shot is deflected wide for a corner.

    59′ | 2-2
    Motherwell sub, Bowman off for Ainsworth

    54′ | 2-2
    Goal – Fisher gets his second, latched onto a nothing ball and clipped it over Samson’s head.

    Both teams are back out, it’s time for the second 45….COYW!!!

    Here are today’s 50/50 draw numbers

    1st: 169304
    2nd: 166474
    3rd: 169308

    HT: Motherwell 2 – 1 Inverness CT #MFCvICTFC

    Two minutes added on

    43′ | 2-1
    Corner to Motherwell….Cadden’s curling delivery is punched off the line by the ‘keeper

    36′ | 2-1
    Fisher goes clean through on goal but Samson produces a huge save, palming wide for a corner.

    33′ | 2-1
    What a save from Fon-Williams! Bowman collects it 7 yards out and on the spins fires powerfully at a goal but somehow its saved!

    29′ | 2-1
    Moult gets on the end of a flick-on but tries the early pot-shot on his left foot. Comfortable save for Fon-Williams

    26′ | 2-1
    Good chance for Fisher. Latches onto a ball into the box but fires straight at Samson.

    21′ | 2-1
    King advances forward and his shot from range flashes inches past the post.

    21′ | 2-1
    Goal – Caley pull one back. Tansey’s shot takes a wicked deflection off Fisher and ends up in the net.

    15′ | 2-0
    Moult’s shot is parried into the path of Bowman who follows it in with the ICT defence static but Fon-Williams saves his effort

    13′ | 2-0
    And there is that change, Tremarco off for McNaughton

    12′ | 2-0
    Pause in play as Tremarco and Cadden are down injured. The Inverness man is going to be subbed…

    9′ | 2-0
    It’s 2!! @louismoult ‘s cross is completely missed by Fon-Willams and it sneaks in!

    GGGGOOOAAALLLL!!!!!

    7′ | 1-0
    Great strike! @chrissycadds comes in off the left and produces a stunning left-footed strike past Fon-Williams!

    GGGGOOOOAAALLLL!!!!

    4′ | 0-0
    Moult runs the right channel and wins a corner. Frear delivers but Draper heads clear.

    2′ | 0-0
    Early chance for the visitors. Free-kick about 25 yards out, but Tansey blasts well over

    McDonald gets the game underway. COYW!!!

    Both teams are out at a sunny Fir Park. Kick-off moments away…

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:

     

    Inverness CT manager Richie Foran:

     

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”321″]

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    Heneghan and Gordon in the Signing Zone

    The ‘Signing Zone’ continues this week prior to tomorrow’s  fixture against Inverness CT at Fir Park. 

    So why not come to Fir Park tomorrow afternoon where Ben Heneghan and Shea Gordon will be in The Well Shop’s ‘Signing Zone’ from 12.45pm until 1.15pm to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for selfies.

    It provides an opportunity for the fans to meet the Under 20s star Shea who made his first start for the club last week against Partick Thistle, and towering centre-back who joined from Chester in the summer.

    Each week, two different players will take their seats as the season progresses as part of the developing fan engagement programme here at Fir Park.

    Share your pics on twitter @motherwellfc using #MFCSigningZone or facebook.com/motherwellfc

    The club shop is situated at the Cooper Stand and is open from 9.30am.

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    Inverness matchday magazine preview

    The eighteenth issue of the Steelmen matchday magazine is on sale ahead of tomorrow’s league clash with Inverness CT at Fir Park.

    Here, we take a look at what can be found inside the 68-page programme.

    Young star Chris Cadden looks ahead to a crucial clash and beyond as he reflects on his first full season with the first team.

    Stephen Robinson gives his thoughts ahead of the game and there is an update from club captain Keith Lasley, along with ‘Getting to Know You’ – where Stephen Pearson is profiled – both remain in the latest issue of the 2016/17 season programme.

    The interesting feature ‘Well in Numbers’, where feature writer Andrew Paterson looks at some of the key numbers in Motherwell history, continues.

    As part of the clubs aims to work closely with the Motherwell FC Community Trust and The ‘Well Society, regular updates are included in the programme.

    This week’s main features on tomorrow’s opposition remain, including an in depth look at Accies as well as this season’s new ‘Tactics Board’, where we look at Richie Foran’s starting eleven from his side’s defeat to St Johnstone last weekend.

    Our match report section looks back on the Fir Parker’s disappointing performance against Partick Thistle, where they lost 1-0.

    An update on Stephen Craigan’s U20s side is included too, reporting on the youngster’s recent run of results.

    All the latest news from Fir Park is included too, and you’ll get all the latest from the Ticket Office as well as an in-depth look at tomorrow’s match-officials.

    All this and more is available for £3 and is on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

    You can also order back editions or take a subscription to the magazine for the rest of the season by visiting the website of our publishers, Curtis-Sports.

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    Inverness CT: A closer look

    Motherwell host Inverness Caley Thistle in the final game in the Ladbrokes Premiership before the split.

    And with four points separating the Steelmen in eleventh from the Caley Jags at the foot of the table, it sets up a crucial encounter at Fir Park on Saturday afternoon.

    It is the third meeting between the two sides this campaign following Motherwell’s 2-1 victory up north just after Christmas and the 3-0 defeat in Lanarkshire back in October.

    And ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson is under no illusions that this Saturday’s clash with Inverness is a “huge” fixture for his side.

    But the manager insisted his side are not going to panic going in to some crucial matches, starting tomorrow afternoon.

    Fir Park gaffer said: “It’s a huge game. We can put a little bit of distance between ourselves and Inverness and we could also move to eighth in the table.”

    [pullquote]It’s a huge game. We can put a little bit of distance between ourselves and Inverness and we could also move to eighth in the table.[/pullquote]

    He added: “Psychologically for the players, the fans and for everyone around this football club – that can be massive.

    “So we’ve not under-egged this game at all. We’ve told the boys how important it is and they know that, but we have calmness about us as well, we’re not going to panic.”

    The manager will be without Stephen McManus through injury, while Richard Tait and Louis Moult will again face late fitness tests ahead of the game.

     

    ‘Well defender Ben Heneghan is prepared for a “massive” clash with Inverness Caley Thistle tomorrow afternoon.

    And as the Steelmen head in to the last match before the split, the Englishman admitted that he feels him and his team are due some luck.

    Speaking to the press yesterday, the 23-year-old reflected on an unfortunate run as he looked ahead to the weekend.

    Ben said: “Saturday is massive. We’re not where we want to be in the league but I think we’re more than capable of pushing on and putting a string of results together.

    [pullquote]Saturday is massive. We’re not where we want to be in the league but I think we’re more than capable of pushing on and putting a string of results together.[/pullquote]

    “We need to get some points on the board now because in the last few weeks we haven’t had a lot of luck.”

    He added: “In the Rangers game the keeper put on one of the best displays of goalkeeping I’ve seen.

    “The save the other day at Partick and the goal against Hamilton too – so hopefully the luck turns in our favour.”

     

    Inverness Caley Thistle currently sit four points behind the Fir Parkers and will be hungry to secure what could be the biggest three points of their season tomorrow afternoon.

    It has been a turbulent campaign so far for tomorrow’s visitors, who currently occupy bottom spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    However, they will have their sights set on reducing that gap between themselves and the eleventh placed Steelmen to just a point heading in to the split.

    It will be a welcome return for Richie Foran to Lanarkshire today, after the manager spent three seasons in Claret and Amber, making 90 appearances and scoring 23 goals.

    He will be keen to get back to Fir Park this weekend as a manager as well, due to the fact that the last time his side arrived in Motherwell they left with three points following a resounding 3-0 win.

    His side arrive tomorrow on the back of a 3-0 loss against St Johnstone as the visitors put Inverness to the sword at the Caledonian Stadium.

    Goals from Steven MacLean, Liam Craig and Graham Cummins secured all three points for the Saints as Inverness’ run without a win extended to six matches.

    But they will be confident in the knowledge they can pick up points against the Steelmen following their win at Fir Park back in October.

    Tomorrow marks the third meeting between the two teams this season after that forgettable loss for the Steelmen and the hugely important win up north for the Fir Parkers in December.

    On that afternoon in the Highlands, Craig Clay scored his first goal in Claret and Amber when he fired in a stunning effort from distance to put the ‘Well one up.

    Scott McDonald made it two with just three minutes remaining before a late goal from Greg Tansey made it a fairly tense few minutes as the Steelmen managed to hold on.

    As the season has surged on, the Northerners have hit a bit of a snag and find themselves slightly adrift at the foot of the table as they arrive in Lanarkshire tomorrow.

    Over the course of the last few seasons, matches have been tough to call between tomorrow’s visitors and the Steelmen, making for an intriguing fixture this weekend.