Motherwell overcame the challenge of Queen’s Park and opened their Betfred Cup account with a comfortable win.
An early strike from Chris Cadden should have set them up for a easy afternoon but an equaliser from former Fir Park defender Adam Cummins left the sides level at the interval.
However, ‘Well dominated the second half and a debut goal for Craig Tanner, a quick Ryan Bowman double and superb free kick from Louis Moult, gave Stephen Robinson the perfect start to his cup campaign.
The ‘Well boss kicked off the new season with five of his summer signings making their competitive debut in claret and amber. From Trevor Carson in goal through defender Cedric Kipre, midfielder Gael Bigirimana to forwards Alex Fisher and Craig Tanner, the
1,000 strong ‘Well fans at the Hampden looked on with a sense of anticipation.
However, it was one of ‘Well’s home grown talents who opened their goal account after only eight minutes and settle them into the cup tie. Stevie Hammell’s cross into the box found Fisher who chested the ball down allowing Chris Cadden’s to lash it high past Willie Muir.
Three minutes later Cadden almost repaid the layoff with a delivery across goal but with Fisher stretching to meet it his header sailed over the bar.
With the Fir Park players enjoying the bulk of possession and Kipre in particular appearing extremely comfortable on the ball, there was little threat around Carson’s goal.
Until the 23rd minute when the visitor’s defence was breached – by a former Steelman. Ryan Docherty’s long free kick into a packed box was headed towards goal forcing a terrific reflex save from Carson but as the ball drifted across goal, Cummins was quickest to force the ball over the line and make it 1-1.
That knocked some of the composure from the visitor’s play and although Fisher was the target for a couple of inviting crosses the Steelmen couldn’t find a second in the opening half.
Seven minutes from the break Tanner’s clever back-healer set up Richard Tait and although his inswinging cross curled beyond Fisher it forced a diving save from Muir.
Still determined to build from the back, Motherwell had a bit more pace in their play and were a bit more lively around the Queen’s box from the start of the second half. And again it took them only eight minutes to find the net and regain the lead.
Once again the build up started with Carson via Kipre and when Carl McHugh released Tait on the right the home defence was opened up. Tanner’s quick exchange with Bigirimana sent the former Reading man through on the ‘keeper, calmly sliding the ball past Muir to claim his first goal for the club.
The impressive Bigirimana had a few more decisive touches before making way for Andy Rose on the hour mark.
With Elliot Frear having the freedom on the left, the winger delivered a number of tempting crosses with no takers. After 67 minutes Ryan Bowman relieved Fisher of his striker’s role and he took only seven minutes to ad to his goal spree.
A weighted pass from McHugh, who revelled in his midfield role after playing at the heart of the defence for the greater part of last season, picked out Bowman who calmly side stepped the ‘keeper before rolling the ball into the empty net.
With the tie won the ‘Well fans were treated to the introduction of Louis Moult returning early from injury but before he got a touch Bowman grabbed his second collecting Kipre’s pass at the edge of the box before deftly lofting the ball over the advancing ‘keeper.
An infringement in the six yard box from Tanner’s corner denied Moult a goal with a fabulous overhead kick.
However, Moult was not to be denied a goal on his return and five minutes from time he curled a wonderfully measured free kick around the defensive wall and under the bar to make it 5-1.
In the final minute, Carson rounded off a quiet second half with a fine save rising high to his left to palm Ewan MacPherson’s snap shot over his cross bar.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Hampden Park
FT: Queen’s Park 1 – 5 Motherwell
85′ | 1-5
Free-kick about 25 yards out which Moult steps up and curls a stunner into the top corner!!
84′ | 1-4
Queen’s sub, Green on for McVey
82′ | 1-4
Moult has the ball in the net with a spectacular overhead kick but the whistle had blown for a foul in the build-up
77′ | 1-4
Another good ball over the top and again it’s Bowman on hand to take a touch and lob it over Muir!!
76′ | 1-3
Motherwell sub, Moult comes on for Tait
75′ | 1-3
McHugh curls a beautiful ball over the top to Bowman whose first touch takes him past Muir and he sticks it into the empty net.
73′ | 1-2
Queen’s sub, MacPherson on for Orr
67′ | 1-2
Motherwell sub, Bowman on for Fisher
61′ | 1-2
Motherwell sub, Bigirimana off for Rose
57′ | 1-2
Queen’s Park sub, Ryan Dochery off for Duff.
56′ | 1-2
Deep ball in by Tait hangs up at the backpost area but Frear can only loop his header over the bar.
53′ | 1-2
Tait wins the ball on the edge of the box which lets Tanner play a lovely little one-two with Bigirimana and finish cooly!
McHugh gets the second half underway, COYW!!!
HT: Queen’s Park 1 – 1 Motherwell
39′ | 1-1
Acrobatic effort from Fisher but doesn’t quite get it right and it loops into Muir’s hands.
38′ | 1-1
Tait and Tanner combine down the right allowing the full-back space to cross but Muir deals with it comfortably.
31′ | 1-1
Tait cuts back on his left and hooks in a good ball towards Fisher but McVey nods it out for a corner.
23′ | 1-1
Goal – Cummins brings Queen’s level. Free-kick swung in and is superbly tipped onto the bar by Carson but Cummins nets the rebound
11′ | 0-1
Cadden with a fine ball in to Fisher but the striker heads over from 9 yards out!
9′ | 0-1
Hammell clips in a free-kick to the chest of Fisher who lays it off superbly to Cadden who slots it home!
Orr gets the game underway. COYW!!!!
Claret and amber for The Steelmen, dark blue and grey for The Spiders
Out come both sides as they prepare to get their cup campaign underway at the National Stadium.
Motherwell caretaker manager Stephen Robinson:
Queen’s Park manager Gus MacPherson