Motherwell battled bravely as their unbeaten run came to an end against Champions League participants Hibernian in SWPL1 on Sunday.
With Donald Jennow’s side set to face the Edinburgh side in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, the match at Ravenscraig was a rehearsal and a chance to pick up a positive result against one of the nation’s top teams.
The visitors always prove tough opponents, but the women of steel’s performance arguably merited more than the 2-0 defeat.
After having a number of first half chances, Motherwell would be undone just after the half hour mark. A ball over the top was met by Colette Cavanagh, who was able to knock the ball into the net.
Having more than held their own in the first 45, the second half started in disappointing fashion as Hibs doubled their lead.
A free-kick was well saved, but Cavanagh was on hand to tee up Chelsea Cornet to fire home.
The visitors had chances to extend their lead, but Motherwell more than held their own in a dogged second half performance.
Highlights as Motherwell win at St Johnstone
Saturday 28 September 2019
Devante Cole scored his first Motherwell goal, and Mark Gillespie saved a St Johnstone penalty, as the Steelmen won 1-0 at McDiarmid Park in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
‘Win shows character of this side’
Saturday 28 September 2019
“We can play a lot better. So to come here and get the win shows the character of the side.”
Stephen Robinson was happy to leave St Johnstone with the victory after a dogged performance in Perth.
Motherwell win at St Johnstone
Saturday 28 September 2019
Motherwell ground out a 1-0 win at St Johnstone to go third in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Devante Cole’s goal, and a penalty save from Mark Gillespie, made the difference in a dogged performance by the visitors.
Stephen Robinson made one enforced change from the team which lost to Ross County, with Richard Tait coming in for the suspended Jake Carroll.
After a scrappy start, Motherwell should have had the lead with 15 minutes played.
James Scott’s driving run to the byline saw him flash the ball across the face of goal, where Cole was waiting.
With the ball slightly behind him, he managed to scoop his shot over the bar.
He would make up for his error with two minutes left in the half. Liam Polworth’s corner was met brilliantly by Declan Gallagher at the back post, with his knock down met by Cole to sweep into the net.
St Johnstone came out in the second half determined to arrest a run which had seen them fail to win in their opening six league matches.
After big shouts for a penalty when Stevie May went down in the area, they would get one with 10 minutes gone in the second half.
Murray Davidson was taken out in the air by Richard Tait, presenting Scott Tanser with the chance to equalise from the spot.
Gilliespie had proved Tanser’s nemesis last season from 12 yards, and the goalkeeper would keep up his outstanding penalty save record, getting down to claw away the kick.
The hosts continued to push and push, as Motherwell had to dig in to ensure they didn’t surrender the lead.
Liam Donnelly’s stoppage-time red card for a stamp on Christopher Kane came too late to make a difference for the hosts, as Motherwell moved to third with the win.
Motherwell host Hibernian in SWPL1 on Sunday, in the first of two big games against the Edinburgh club.
The game at Ravenscraig kicks off at 2.30pm.
The form guide
Motherwell have now won five and drawn one of their last six competitive games.
Since returning from the summer break, three wins have come in the cup, defeating Partick Thistle, Inverness CT and Queen’s Park.
In the league, last weekend’s 1-0 televised win at Forfar Farmington came after a draw with Spartans came before victory over Stirling University.
Hibernian exited the UEFA Women’s Champions League in midweek, losing out 9-2 on aggregate to Slavia Prague.
The Czech side were formidable opponents, having reached the quarter-finals last season before going out to giants Bayern Munich.
Back in domestic competition, the Hibees have won their last six, including a big 3-0 win over Celtic in their last league outing.
MANAGER ON THE TASK IN HAND
“We’ve been on a brilliant run of form since returning from the summer break,” said head coach Donald Jennow. “But the games in the coming weeks will ultimately determine our season.
“We’re all too aware of the threat that they pose as they try to push closer to the top and also hold on to the cup.
“We can see the opportunity to claim fourth spot which, if we achieve it, would be a remarkable feat for us considering it’s our first season in the top flight and also considering the strength of the teams – Rangers and Spartans – we would have to overcome to manage it.”
PJ Morrison will spend another week with Cowdenbeath on an emergency loan.
The goalkeeper was in the SPFL’s team of the week after keeping a clean sheet in the 3-0 win at Queen’s Park last Saturday.
Cowdenbeath, who have won four on the bounce, host Albion Rovers on Saturday.
Pay at the gate at St Johnstone
Friday 27 September 2019
Fans can pay at the gate at Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership match with St Johnstone.
Supporters will be in the north end of the west stand. Fans travelling by car are asked to follow “away supporters” road signs for ease of access to the ground.
*Under 13s tickets are free of charge with any full paying adult or over 65 ticket, restricted to a maximum of two per adult/senior ticket.
Fans who require ambulant or wheelchair access should contact Andy Sim on 07428 225254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manager looks ahead to St Johnstone trip
Friday 27 September 2019
Stephen Robinson says Motherwell are in for a difficult task at St Johnstone on Saturday, as the Steelmen look to bounce back from defeat to Ross County last weekend.
Here’s what he had to say to the media on Friday.
On the trip to McDiarmid Park
“[It’s] a very difficult one, based on results over recent years. It’s a very tough venue to go to.
“I think St Johnstone’s league position doesn’t suggest what a decent squad they’ve got.
“It’s a few games into the season. That’s all it is. League tables at this moment in time aren’t too much to take concern over.
“They’ve made some good signings. They are an experienced side. They’ve got a lot of players who have played football at decent levels.
“Tommy always has them organised. It’ll be a very tough game. We are going with no illusions whatsoever.
“We have to earn the right to play football. And try to take the game to them as well.
“We’ve got people who can win the game as well. But we also have to be solid.
“It’ll be a difficult game for us, but one we will definitely be up for.”
On St Johnstone’s strengths
“When you look on paper, they’ve got a lot of good players.
“Players that can hurt you. The two wide players are very exciting players. Drey Wright coming back to full fitness as well.
“Murray Davidson, a player I’ve admired for a long time and is the heartbeat of their team.
“We will be very prepared for them. They are a decent side, as I say.”
On Charles Dunne’s injury
“[He has] a very similar injury on the other side of his groin. It’s unfortunate that Charles is going to miss a large chunk of the season again.
“We probably won’t see him before Christmas.
“David Devine, one of the younger boys we have massive hopes for, he has a crack in his cheekbone after a reserve game.
“We are a little bit light in that area, so the fact we have Bevis Mugabi is a blessing for us. A boy of experience that late on, and that good a player that late on, we are very happy with that signing.
“Charles is the most positive guy I’ve ever come across.
“I’ve worked with Charles and he had injury problems at Oldham. Charles doesn’t get anything normal. It’s things that are way out there that physios haven’t seen before and strange injuries.
“It’s a big disappointment for him. But knowing Charles, he will come back fitter, he will come back stronger.”
Charles Dunne out for three to four months
Wednesday 25 September 2019
Charles Dunne will spend three to four months out as he recovers from a groin injury.
The defender underwent surgery this week, after scans showed the need to go under the knife.
“Losing Charles again for a prolonged period of time is a blow,” said manager Stephen Robinson.
“He has shown how influential a figure he is for us in the centre of defence and in the dressing room.
“With young David Devine also out for six weeks, it highlights the importance of bringing in Bevis Mugabi to keep the competition high for places.
“We wish Charles a full and speedy recovery.”
Charles has made 77 appearances for the club since joining in the summer of 2017.