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Steelmen stun United with incredible late fightback

Motherwell 4

Macklin 3', 88', 92', Watt 85'

Dundee United 3

Moore 11', 30', 57'
  • Tuesday, 20 October 2015
  • Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
  • Under 20´s
  • Development League

Simon Ritchie | YFS West Region Reporter
Articles by Author | Contact Author

It’s been a tough week for the town of Motherwell with the loss of hundreds of jobs in the industry that gave the Steelmen their nickname. However, the U20 development team showed the kind of spirit and determination the locals are known for to pull off an incredible comeback from 3-1 down in the 85th minute to beat Dundee United 4-3.
Dylan Mackin’s third minute opener gave Well the perfect start, but Jordan Moore’s hat-trick had United looking comfortable and set for all three points before a simply stunning Motherwell fightback in the last five minutes. Luke Watt started the turnaround that was completed by Macklin scoring two more to claim his hat-trick and all three points for the home side.
United started the match sloppily, twice giving the ball away carelessly in defence and though Motherwell failed to capitalise the first time, the second opportunity was pounced on gratefully by Mackin to open the scoring.
A defensive mistake at the other end meant Motherwell didn’t lead for long however. Reghan Tumilty’s raking cross-field ball released Simon Murray into the box, goalkeeper Peter Morrison looked hesitant before eventually rushing out and throwing himself at the feet of the United striker who went down under the challenge and received the penalty. Moore stepped up to take it, coolly sending Morrison the wrong way.
The opening ten minutes had been mostly Motherwell, but the equaliser gave Dundee United confidence and they began to play their brand of short passing, possession football. Manager Dave Bowman could be constantly heard to be shouting “Pass! Pass! Pass!” even in situations where a cross or diagonal ball looked on as he seemed determined to instill that type of play in his side. 
Playing without natural wingers, United relied on Tumilty and Jamie Robson to bomb forward as wing-backs as much as possible, overlapping Charlie Telfer and Aiden Connolly who looked to cut inside and attack through the middle alongside Ali Coote, with Jordan Moore dropping deep and playing more like an attacking midfielder than a striker. Although it meant Murray was often up front alone, he was never isolated as the midfield were always changing positions and keeping close to him. With each of them playing almost in a free role, it meant they were impossible to mark, but they always knew where to be positionally to cover for their teammates. If anything went wrong they had Brad Smith playing as a defensive midfielder and floating along the defence mopping up problems as they occurred.
They took the lead after one of Tumilty’s overlapping runs and crosses was met by Murray who forced a point-black reaction save from Morrison to tip it over for a corner. Coote’s corner was headed back across goal by Murray and eventually scrambled over the line by Jordan Moore.
United went in at half-time only a goal to the good despite dominating for long spells and creating several more excellent chances.
  • Half Time:
  • Motherwell
  • 1-2
  • Dundee United
The lead was extended just before the hour mark, however. It was created by Aiden Connolly, who cut inside from the left and found Moore who was composed and cool to set himself and finish past Morrison to give Dundee United some breathing space.
Still, United looked the likelier to score again. Justin Johnson replaced Robson, with Smith moving to left back and Telfer sitting deeper in the holding role. Johnson was involved in several opportunities as he slotted well into the midfield with their intricate possession and probing passing, but they failed to stretch their lead.
Then with only five minutes to go, the unlikeliest of comebacks happened. Motherwell right-back Luke Watt pressed high up in the United half, closing down a defender and winning the ball inside their box. Then with a turn the Dutch master Johan Cruyff would have been proud of, he took out three defenders to give himself space to unleash a rocket of a shot that flew past Ryan Booth.
Surely only a consolation? No. Moments later Watt’s corner was headed down by Ben Hall off the outstretched hand of a United player - penalty. Mackin followed Moore’s lead and set the keeper the wrong way to level it up. 
The match was end-to-end at this stage, with tactics out the window and two tiring sides throwing everything at each other and hoping for something to stick. Johnson and Moore almost nicked it for United when a corner resulted in pinball in the Well box, but the Steelmen cleared.
Then, to the delight of the home fans, they went up the other end and stole the winner. Substitute Adam Livingstone found Dylan Falconer in the box, the midfielder miskicking his first shot before making enough contact to send it through to Mackin who rifled it home powerfully from seven yards to send his teammates into raptures.
Was it deserved? No. Was it needed? Yes. A great tonic for Motherwell at the end of a tough week and Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley will be delighted with the graft and effort shown by their side to somehow pull of an impossible mission. 

Bowman’s United looked so good for the middle 70 minutes, but a poor start and terrible end have cost them dearly in a game they bossed.

  • Full Time:
  • Motherwell
  • 4-3
  • Dundee United


Dundee United
1. Peter Morrison
2. Luke Watt
3. Jack McMillan
4. David Ferguson
5. Ben Hall
6. Allan Campbell
7. Ross Maclean
8. Dylan Falconer
9. Dylan Mackin
11. Jake Hastie
12. Brett Long
13. Josh Moore
14. Chris Cadden
15. Robbie Leitch
16. Barry Maguire
17. Adam Livingstone
18. David Johnstone
1. Ryan Booth
2. Reghan Tumilty
3. Jamie Robson
4. Brad Smith
5. Harry Souttar
6. Cammy Ballantyre
7. Simon Murray
8. Charlie Telfer
9. Jordan Moore
10. Ali Coote
11. Aiden Connolly
12. Euan Horne
13. Ciaran Conway
14. Justin Johnson
15. Ola Adeyemo
16. Aaron Duke
17. Graham Taylor
18. Logan Davie
Star Player
Dundee United
Dylan Mackin - His three goals helped give his side all three points despite it never looking on the cards. It's a testament to his work rate and effort that he never gave up despite his side being two goals down with five minutes to play and he took his chances well.
Simon Murray - Although Jordan Moore got the hat-trick, Simon Murray was excellent up-front. Full of running, dragging players out of position and out wide to make space for Moore, Coote, Connolly, and Telfer to create opportunities through the middle. He might not have got on the scoresheet, but it was his play that helped the rest of his teammates play as well as they did.
Magic Moment
Dundee United
An injury time winner when your team look dead and buried is a magical thing, so Macklin's late finish has to be the moment to savour for Motherwell fans. Some players may have crumbled under the pressure, but not Macklin, who took his time, composed himself and absolutely rifled it home.
From the 15th minute to the 85th minute the interchanging play between the Dundee United midfield was a joy to behold. Every player filled in for one another as they poked and prodded at the Motherwell rearguard, probing for a way in. It's great football to watch and Bowman's insistence at sticking to a short passing game will surely do the first-team well in the long run.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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