Motherwell Reserves produced an assured display as they defeated Dundee 3-1 in group D of the Reserve Cup on Tuesday afternoon.
Stephen Craigan made a late change to his team, replacing Akeal Rehman with Neil McLaughlin in the starting eleven. The Northern Irishman also named Conor Sammon in his side due to the forward being ineligible to play against parent club Hearts on Saturday, and the experienced striker nearly made an immediate impact.
Charging down Dee stopper Samuel Jackson inside the opening five minutes, the Irishman’s lunging block looked set to turn the ball home, but some wicked spin denied the opener and allowed the keeper to gather without too much trouble.
He had a lot more to do in the 20th minute though, producing a fine stop to keep the scoreline level at Forthbank Stadium. James Scott, partnering Sammon up front, showed fine composure to shift the ball on to his left foot before firing an effort towards the roof of the net, only to see it tipped on to the crossbar.
Shortly after though, the Colts took the lead. Captain Barry Maguire burst in to the box, but instead of going for goal, showed terrific composure to turn and tee up the more central Neil McLaughlin, who slid the ball home from just inside the box with a very neat finish.
Despite controlling much of the first half, the second got off to a poor start when an aimless cross was sent in to the box and looked set to be gathered by Rohan Ferguson. However, the keeper made a rare mistake by his high standards, allowing the ball to slip from his grasp before seeing it be prodded in to an empty net by Dee striker Matthew Henvey.
Just after the hour mark, Colts boss Craigan made his first change of the afternoon, calling on Jamie Semple to replace goalcorer McLaughlin. And within minutes, the decision paid off as Semple put the Fir Park side 2-1 up.
Ghosting in at the back post, the youngster turned home a terrific cross towards the back post with his knee after the flight of the ball was misjudged by the Dundee defence. Semple showed terrific reactions to get enough on the ball to turn it inside the post and regain control of the Reserve Cup tie.
With just minutes remaining of the group D fixture, Alfredo Agyeman did terrifically well to beat his man in the box before being bundled to the deck. The referee had no doubts, pointing to the spot immediately. Sammon stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick, sending Jackson the wrong way and wrapping up proceedings in Stirling.