Motherwell under-20s got their competitive season off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Queen’s Park in the Irn-Bru Cup.
Second half goals from Ellis Plummer and Adam Livingstone secured a comeback victory against the League One side who presented a tough challenge for the Fir Park youngsters.
Stephen Craigan fielded a young starting line-up at the Forthbank Stadium in Stirling, including two over-age players in Jack McMillan and goal-scorer Plummer.
And the Fir Parkers started well against the League One side, holding their own as neither side created much in the opening 25 minutes.
However, Gus MacPherson’s men started growing in to the match and took the lead just before the half-hour mark.
An in-swinging corner was met buy the head of ex-Well man Adam Cummins, who powered the ball beyond Morrison. Despite the stopper getting a hand to it, it had too much on it from close range.
The Steelmen grew in to the game though and Davie Turnbull, wearing the captain’s armband, had an effort from distance denied by a good block on the edge of the area.
That block led to a corner though and the set piece, which was only half cleared, fell for Shea Gordon who struck a terrific effort on goal, only to be denied by a wonderful save from Michael White in the Queen’s Park goal.
The second half brought with it an almost entirely different ‘Well performance as the youngsters came out firing.
Dominating much of the opening exchanges of the half, Plummer grabbed the equaliser on the hour mark with a close-range header. An inch-perfect cross from Turnbull was met well by the defender, who, unmarked, did well to direct his header low past White.
And in a frantic ten minute spell, suddenly, Craigan’s side were ahead.
A brilliant move was worked down the right and was tee’d up for Livingstone over 20-yards out. The youngster had no doubt in his mind as he unleashed an unstoppable strike for the top corner – leaving White with no chance.
Two minutes later, the Steelmen could have had three as James Scott burst through one-on-one but the youngster dragged his shot wide of the far post.
And the under-20s started playing with bags of confidence, summed up by Turnbull nearly firing a wonder strike in to the top corner from 25-yards, but White tipped the ball over at the expense of a corner.
From the resulting set piece, Dylan King rose well to head on goal but it rose over the bar and the score remained 2-1.
Jake Hastie and substitute Dylan Falconer both went close to grabbing the third goal for Craigan’s youngsters at Forthbank Stadium – the former doing terrifically well down the right hand side to beat two men and go close from a tight angle.
Some late pressure in stoppage time forced the Fir Parkers to see the game out and right on cue, PJ Morrison rushed out to clutch a dangerous cross and quell any late equaliser.
And it was enough, with the referee’s whistle sending the youngsters in to the second round of the Irn-Bru cup.