Motherwell Under 20s slipped to their second consecutive defeat with a 1-0 loss against St Johnstone in the Development League.
Despite dominating large parts of the game, the youngsters conceded early in the second half and couldn’t find the response required to get back in to the match.
Barry Maguire, Adam Livingstone and David Turnbull returned to Stephen Craigan’s starting line up, whilst Gaël Bigirimana was also included from the start.
But it was George Newell, leading the line, who so nearly opened the scoring inside two minutes.
A terrific ball in from Ross MacLean was glanced towards the far post by the striker, but it flashed narrowly wide of the mark.
Deimantas Petravičius, proving lively on the right flank, caused early problems for the Saints back line but failed to properly test goalkeeper Mark Hurst.
Bigirimana went closest in the opening 45, when Newell slipped the midfielder in on the edge of the area and he curled a decent effort on target, only to be denied by a strong hand from Hurst.
As the second half got underway, St Johnstone came out looking revived and took the game to Craigan’s side in the first ten minutes of the second period.
A well-worked move down the left flank was finished off with a smart cut-back from John Robertson which allowed Jamie McKenzie to tap in from just a few yards to open the scoring.
Stephen Craigan introduced James Scott shortly after the hour mark in place of Bigirimana, shuffling his shape with two strikers on the park in search for a response.
And the young striker was almost immediately involved in the action when big calls for a penalty were waived by the referee.
Keith Watson slid to the deck, bringing down the teenager in the progress. The official ignored numerous shouts despite the defender failing to get a touch on the ball.
It was the biggest opportunity for the youngsters, who went close in the final minute from Petravičius’ strike from the edge of the box, as Saints held on for all three points at New Central Park in Kelty.