“Eventually our quality shone through.”
Stephen Robinson speaks after the 4-0 win over Annan Athletic.
“Eventually our quality shone through.”
Stephen Robinson speaks after the 4-0 win over Annan Athletic.
Liam Donnelly’s double help set up Motherwell for a fourth straight victory to comfortably win their Betfred Cup section.
Liam Polworth also netted in the first half, before James Scott added a fourth late on.
Although Annan manfully stuck to their task to limit the scoreline until Donnelly and Scott grabbed two in the final minutes, ‘Well’s goal difference particularly on the back of having conceded no goals, sees the Steelmen progress to the last 16 as the best seeded team from the section stage.
Stephen Robinson, still rotating his squad ahead of next week’s Premiership kick-off, included Jamie Semple and Jake Carroll from the start amongst six changes, with striker Christopher Long making his home debut.
It was also a first ever Fir Park appearance for Annan, but the hosts showed little hospitality, as they pressed the League One side inside their own half from the start.
Annan ‘keeper Lyle Avci was called into action almost immediately happy to beat away Jake Carroll’s curling free kick after only two minutes. Charles Dunne then tried his luck from 35 yards but even on the wet surface his low drive posed no real threat to Avci.
With the Galabank side solidly lined up with two banks of four, ‘Well showed great patience in possession probing to get in behind the visitor’s defence.
However, having defended stoutly for the first 20 minutes the Annan rearguard failed to deal with Long’s low cross and as the ball rolled around the six yard mark, Donnelly lashed it high into the net for his 3rd goal of the campaign.
That failed to change the pattern of the game and with Annan sticking to their game plan, and their out ball to the ex Hearts’ striker Christian Nade occupying Dunne and Hartley, there was little goalmouth action until the final minutes of the first half.
Five minutes from the interval Mark Gillespie got his first taste of the action when he held an angled drive from Scott McLean.
A couple of half chances came the way of Liam Grimshaw and Jamie Semple before ‘Well doubled the lead a minute from the break.
Christopher Long was again involved racing through the centre of the Athletic defence. Although his shot was blocked by the ‘keeper at the edge of the box, the ball broke for Liam Polworth who guided it inside the post for his first goal in claret and amber.
The goal scorer didn’t reappear for the second half with another summer recruit Casper Sloth coming on for his debut.
Sherwin Seedorf, eager to cut in from the left, fired a couple of shots towards Avci’s goal without testing the ‘keeper. The Dutch winger finally hit the target after 58 minutes when, after a terrific run and exchange with Ilic, Grimshaw’s incisive pass played in Seedorf but his firm shot was brilliantly blocked by Avci.
That was Seedorf’s final touch, Jermain Hylton taking his place on the left wing after 66 minutes.
Annan, though, remained resolute in their defending and Robinson made another substitution three minutes later James Scott taking over the striking role from Long. With his first touch from 20 yards, Scott’s powerful drive forced a diving save from Avci and when Hylton rifled the rebound towards goal the ‘keeper produced a great reflex save to palm the ball over his crossbar.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes the visitors came close to breaking Gillespie’s run of clean sheets, with Lewis McLear passing up a great chance from 8 yards.
Five minutes from time Gillespie had to dive across his goal and block Kyle Wilkie’s effort to keep his goal intact.
However, Annan’s brave attempts were not rewarded with a consolation goal and instead the border’s side conceded another two goals in the dying minutes.
With Hylton probing for some space to shoot the ball found its way to Donnelly, who revelling in his new midfield role, thumped the ball home from 12 yards to claim his fourth of the tournament. A minute later Scott added a fourth goal, swerving the ball beyond Avci for a great finish to the game and the Betfred Cup section games.
We’re delighted to extend our partnership with First Vehicle Leasing (FVL) for the next two seasons.
FVL’s aim is to provide the best car leasing solutions and unbeatable service for customers across the UK. From Fiats to Ferraris, they can supply any make or model, with affordable monthly rental agreements to suit every budget.
With almost 20 years’ experience, FVL are industry experts and work with leading finance companies to offer low prices and flexible mileage options to suit.
You can choose from their wide range of in-stock vehicles, or have yours made to order and delivered to your door.
To find your perfect car, visit FVL today at firstvehicleleasing.co.uk/car-leasing.
Stephen Robinson spoke to the media on Friday morning, ahead of the weekend’s final Betfred Cup match with Annan Athletic.
The Motherwell boss covered the game itself, as well as new signing Christy Manzinga, the departure of Danny Johnson and the potential for further additions.
“I think it is going to be a tough game. There’s not been loads in their games.
“Morton scored late goals against Annan. Dumbarton only beat them by a goal. No game is easy.
“You seen Crusaders against Wolves last night. If a team sits in, no matter what quality you have it’s very, very difficult to break them down. As we found against Dumbarton, as we found against Queen of the South as well.
“We are going to have to be patient. We have to move the ball quickly and hope that our forward players can produce a little bit of magic.
“But again, patience will be the key.”
Yeah we’ve had Christy [Manzinga] for over a month now. He’s really impressed me.
“He’s like Cedric [Kipré]. A little bit older, but he’s had to wait for his opportunity.
“He’s really exciting, I think. He’s a gamble worth taking. Really quick, really strong. Gives us another option as a number nine and in wide areas.
“It’ll still be another month or so before we see him on the pitch. But I feel he will be a decent signing for us if he progresses.”
“Danny [Johnson] hasn’t played for me since Ross County in the cup in January. He hasn’t started a game.
“He’s a brilliant boy, Danny. He has been exemplary with his attitude. Some players when they’re not in the team aren’t. But he has been.
“It was unfair of me to keep him here and not make him a starter. All he wants to do is play football. His attitude has been tremendous at the football club.
“He scored some important goals for us as well. But the direction I am moving in, I didn’t see Danny playing for me.And it’s important to be fair to him as well.
“That’s what we’ve done and he goes with our very best wishes. A very good professional.”
“There’s still a couple of things ongoing as well, as I’ve said previously.
“It has to be the right person. It has to be a starter.
“We are not going to bring in and fill the squad. We’ve got younger boys in the background we feel can make up that squad.
“It has to be the right person. So we will be patient.
“There’s still a few more weeks left. There may be something done further down the line.”
Reece McAlear has left Motherwell to join Norwich City on a permanent basis, subject to international clearance.
The 17-year-old will join the East Anglian side after 13 months as a professional at Fir Park.
Motherwell tried to secure the player on a longer contract during the summer, but it was clear that any extended stay beyond May 2020 was extremely unlikely.
Despite that, several approaches from Norwich were rejected, before terms were finally agreed on a deal which gives the club a short-term cash injection, coupled with the ability to claim future money should the player develop further.
“It is very much our hope that the player development pathway we provide at Motherwell results in our academy graduates progressing to professional level, then eventually into the first team,” chief executive Alan Burrows explained.
“We had high hopes for Reece. He was getting closer and closer and indeed, played several first-team friendly matches during pre-season. We had positive conversations with the player, his family and his representatives about extending his stay.
“However, it was clear this was an opportunity Reece wanted to explore and probably would’ve explored, when his contract expired at the end of the season, had we not managed to agree a deal with Norwich now.
“This will see the club secure cash in advance, as well as maintaining some economic rights should his career continue to develop.
“It also demonstrates clearly the excellent work of our scouting and coaching staff, and further emphasises Motherwell as the club for young footballers to progress.”
Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to thank Reece for his time at Fir Park and wish him every success in his future career.
Danny Johnson has left Motherwell to join Dundee.
The forward, who joined on at Fir Park in the summer of 2018 from Gateshead, moves to the Ladbrokes Championship side on a permanent basis.
“Danny has an opportunity to go and play regular football, and we didn’t want to stand in his way,” manager Stephen Robinson said.
“He has conducted himself very professionally throughout and I am certain he will go on to do well for Dundee.
“He was a little unfortunate not to get more game time for various reasons. But he scored some important goals for us and we wish him well in his move. He’s always welcome here.”
Everyone at Motherwell thanks Danny for his efforts at the club, and wish him well in the future.
Christy Manzinga is Motherwell’s tenth new recruit of the summer window.
The 24-year-old frontman has been with the club for several weeks and has already demonstrated his ability, having scored a spectacular bicycle kick against Gretna in pre-season.
He also featured in a closed-door bounce game against Partick Thistle. That, combined with his performances in training, has convinced ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson to add him to the squad on a one-year deal, with the option for a second year.
“We are excited by what we’ve seen from Christy and are pleased to add him to the squad,” the Fir Park gaffer said.
“Even after the first day in training, we thought there was something there.
“We would’ve added him sooner, but we spotted a small issue during his medical that is being sorted by our head physiotherapist, David Henderson.
“He is four to six weeks away from getting to fitness. When he does, we feel he will be a big addition to our forward line.
“He has played a lot as a number nine, but he can also play on either flank. He’ll bolster our options and add even more pace and power to our forward line.”
Christy came through the youth ranks at PSG, signing as a 13-year-old and playing in the same youth team as Cedric Kipré, as well as alongside Adrian Rabiot, Presnel Kimpembe, Ferland Mendy and Kingsley Coman.
Spells at French sides Lorient and Angers followed in his late teens, before moving to Belgium with Royal Châtelet. He has also represented DR Congo at Under 21 level.
He will wear squad number 12 during the 2019/20 campaign.
Annan Athletic are the visitors on Saturday, as Motherwell wrap up their Betfred Cup group stage campaign.
With three wins from three, the Steelmen still need a fourth victory to ensure progression in the competition, and the chance to be seeds in the last 16.
Ticket prices for all matches are set at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions. Supporters can pay at the gate.
Tickets are available online now and can be printed at home, or brought to the gate on your smartphone.
Motherwell still need a point to guarantee progression as group winners, while a win should guarantee we’re seeded for Sunday evening’s draw for the last 16.
Annan Athletic cannot progress, having picked up one point from their three games so far in a draw with Queen of the South.
Both the Centenary Suite and Cooper Bar will be open from 12pm for all fans to come in and enjoy food and drink before the match.
Wherever you are, there’s live audio commentary available on our live streaming serice for £5.99 a month. Just head to tv.motherwellfc.co.uk to subscribe.
Christian Ilić and Peter Hartley were on target for Motherwell in a 2-0 win at Dumbarton on Tuesday.
The goals ensured Stephen Robinson’s men made it three wins from three in their Betfred Cup group, heading into the final match with Annan Athletic on Saturday.
“We dominated from start to finish. We solved the problems and eventually wore them down.”
Stephen Robinson speaks after the win at Dumbarton.