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