Motherwell U20s bounced back from Saturday’s disappointment in Belfast to beat St Mirren 4-1 at Forthbank this evening.
Goals from Davie Turnbull, Adam Livingstone, Shaun Bowers and James Scott ensured the victory for the Fir Parkers in a frantic ninety minutes that threw up numerous chances at both ends.
Stephen Craigan made four changes to the side that lost so cruelly in Belfast against Crusaders three days ago.
Out went the suspended Dylan King along with Jack McMillan, Allan Campbell and George Newell. In came Shaun Bowers, Ross MacLean, Alfredo Agyeman and the experienced Steven Hammell, playing his first match since picking up a hamstring injury against Berwick Rangers in the Betfred Cup back in July.
Saints named a young side themselves, with the only ‘overager’ being former Dundee United midfielder Dale Hilson, who at 24 was the visitors most experienced player by some distance.
The match kicked off in glorious sunshine in Stirling but the pleasant autumn weather was the only positive in a fairly tame opening ten minutes. Hilson brought it to life with a low shot cutting in off the right, but it was timid and rolled harmlessly back to Morrison in the home goal.
Motherwell’s first real attack brought about the game’s opening goal. Turnbull picked up on a loose ball some thirty yards from goal and following a fairly fortuitous ricochet, found himself in one-on-one with Henry. The young midfielder kept his composure and coolly slotted into the far corner.
Saints’ management team will have been pleased with the response though and they were level within ten minutes.
A corner from the right bounced through to Hilson at the far post. His shot was blocked by the outrushing Bowers but bounced dangerously across the box for Dylan McKendry who smashed it home from only a few yards.
That goal kicked off a really strong period for the visitors. Conor McBrearty’s shot from distance forced Morrison into a save before striker Sam Jamieson passed up a guilt-edge chance inside the six yard box, but could only watch on in horror as his effort cannoned off the underside of the bar.
Adam Livingstone’s fizzed shot from wide on the left was all the Fir Parkers could really muster in an otherwise disappointing first-half.
The interval gave Craigan and McManus time to change things about and a half-time change saw Dylan Falconer introduced in place of Alfredo Agyeman.
However, the game plan was almost out the window within twenty seconds when Andrew McDonald’s cross-cum-shot smashed off Morrison’s left-hand post before being cleared. Conor O’Keefe also saw his turn-and-shot balloon over the bar as Saints went in search of a second.
However, ‘Well were growing into things and the direction of traffic was more and more towards the away goal. In fact, only a wonder save from Henry denied James Scott, who got on the end of a Livingstone cross, but his header was somehow tipped on to the bar by the Saints stopper and out for a corner.
Three minutes later the same two players combined, but this time Scott’s header looped over the crossbar.
However, it looked more of when rather than if Motherwell would score and within five minutes of that Scott header, Adam Livingstone put the Steelmen back in front. Ross MacLean picked up on a loose second ball in the middle of the park and quickly spread it wide for the fullback. Driving forward, the 19-year old cut inside before smartly nutmegging the goalkeeper for his third of the campaign.
Another five minutes passed before ‘Well added a decisive third. Stevie Hammell’s terrific free kick was pinpoint for Bowers who had found himself in space inside the area. The former Celtic man was brave to beat Henry to the ball and headed it into the empty net to put the hosts on course for their second win of the campaign.
James Scott was causing havoc in the second half and he almost scored a belter, winning it wide, beating a marker before curling a shot that was well held by Henry. However, he wouldn’t be denied for long though as he was well placed to head home Hammell’s corner to complete the scoring.
Motherwell: Morrison, Bowers (Semple – 85mins), Livingstone, Armstrong, MacDonald, Hammell, MacLean, Turnbull, Scott, Agyeman (Falconer – 46mins), Brown