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Motherwell edge past Rangers

Motherwell FC 1

Ross MacLean 65'

Rangers FC 0

  • Friday, 12 February 2016
  • Excelsior Stadium
  • Under 20´s
  • Development League

Fraser McLuggage | YFS Central Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

It was a cold afternoon at the Excelsior stadium, where Motherwell sealed a 1-0 victory against Rangers in the SPFL Under 20s Development League, courtesy of a Ross MacLean penalty.
Motherwell looked to pick up where they left off in their quarter final victory over St. Johnstone in the Youth Cup last Tuesday. Rangers were looking to bounce back after a defeat to Falkirk earlier in the week. 
It was Rangers who got the game underway, but Motherwell tried to get an early goal when Ross MacLean beat White to a loose ball and managed to get a cross into the box but Ross McCrorie cleared the danger. 
The first shooting chance of the game fell to Josh Jeffries who received a threaded pass from Ryan Hardie, but the shot went wide of the target.
MacLean tried his luck from 20 yards out with a shot that was blocked before he had a second effort from the rebound but the attempt was off target.
Rangers came close to opening the scoring when Dykes played a quick one-two with Ryan Hardie, Dykes hit the post with his shot and the ball rebounded to Josh Jeffries, but he was unable to find the back of the net and the ball went out for a goal kick to Motherwell.
Ryan Hardie cut inside and got a shot away, but the Motherwell keeper dealt with it easily to deny the Rangers number nine.
It was a midfield battle as both teams had good spells of possession but couldn’t break down their opponents defence and get the first goal of the game.
The referee blew his whistle for half time. Both teams created chances but Rangers would have been disappointed at not being ahead at the break after having the best chance of the game when Dykes hit the post.
  • Half Time:
  • Motherwell FC
  • 0-0
  • Rangers FC
The second half got underway and it was just as tight as the first half. Rangers got the first shot of the second 45, as Dykes found himself with time and space to take a shot from 25 yards out. But it was never going to trouble the keeper and it went behind for a goal kick.
Rangers tried to keep the early pressure up when Mehki McLeod hit a shot from outside the box, but he blazed it over the bar and into the stand.
Motherwell had their first attempt at goal when David Turnbull’s strike from just outside the box drifted past the post.
Motherwell had a penalty claim when Falconer went down inside the area, but the referee was having none of it and play continued.
McLeod won a free kick for Rangers deep inside the Motherwell half. Jordan Thompson whipped in the ball towards the penalty spot, Brownlie was first to the ball but his header was over the bar.
Rangers made their first sub of the afternoon, bringing Scott Roberts off the bench to replace McLeod.
The 64th minute marked the turning point of the game as Motherwell's Hastie went down under a challenge from Brownlie and the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts. The deadlock was broken when Ross MacLean calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Motherwell were the better side after going a goal ahead and looked to add to their lead. Good build up play gave MacLean a shooting opportunity, but Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie got across to the ball and made a good save.
Rangers made a second substitute, with Josh Jeffries making way for Jordan Gibson. Five minutes later, Rangers made their third and final change, bringing on Ross Lyon for Ashmore. 
Motherwell were good at pressing the ball and stopping Rangers from advancing up the park with their passing style of play. 
Motherwell made their first change of the day when they subbed on 15-year-old James Scott for Dylan Falconer.
The Rangers captain Ross McCrorie took a knock to the head and received treatment before coming off the pitch. Rangers had used all three substitutes and therefore were forced to finish the game with ten men.
Rangers’ best chance was in final minutes of the match, when Ryan Hardie flicked the ball through a gap in the Motherwell defence for Scott Roberts to run on to and get a shot away, but Morrison denied the late equalizer with a terrific save.
In added time, a second yellow was given to the goal scorer Ross MacLean as he gave away a free kick deep inside his own half. That made it ten men against ten men for the remainder of the game. 
Jordan Thompson took the free kick, but the shot went high and wide. Thompson was booked by the referee for protesting that it should have been a corner.
Motherwell held out for a 1-0 victory. Motherwell were delighted to have won their second game in four days, and will look to add to their winning streak against Dundee United on Tuesday. Rangers however were disappointed at losing a fifth competitive match in a row and will look to bounce back in their next match when they travel to Hibernian on Tuesday.
  • Full Time:
  • Motherwell FC
  • 1-0
  • Rangers FC


Motherwell FC
Rangers FC
1. Robby McCrorie
2. Sinnamon
3. White
4. Ashmore
5. Brownlie
6. Ross McCrorie
7. Jefferies
8. Dykes
9. Hardie
10. Thompson
11. McLeod
12. Lang
14. Lyon
15. Roberts
16. Gibson
17. Currie
18. Brandon
21. Wright
Star Player
Motherwell FC
Rangers FC
Ross MacLean. He looked dangerous every time he got the ball. He took on defenders and tried to create goal scoring opportunities. He also kept his composure when he scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Ryan Hardie. He tried to create chances for himself or for team mates. He was involved in the move which led to Dykes hitting the post. He also had a good shot saved after cutting inside in the second half and in the last few minutes of the match he played a terrific ball through to Roberts, whose shot was saved.
Magic Moment
Motherwell FC
Rangers FC
Morrison helped Motherwell get all three points by keeping a clean sheet. He pulled off a brilliant reaction save when Roberts hit a powerful near post shot.
Rangers's winger Mehki McLeod nutmegged the Motherwell defender, then dribbled into the box before winning a corner. McLeod showed off his skills and tricks every chance he got and in doing so won many free kicks for his side and made the defenders job difficult.
Club Views
Motherwell FC
Rangers FC
After the match I spoke to a very happy Stephen Craigen.

I asked him how he found the game and if he was happy with the performance. He said: "Tough as we expected, both sides are quite young. I had three sixteen year olds starting the game and a fifteen year old coming off the bench so sometimes you're never sure what to get, but I thought commitment wise we were good. There are things we need to improve on, but just the fact we won the game is very pleasing."

I then asked him are you looking to build on that in your next game. He answered: "We play Dundee United on Tuesday; this has been our fourth game in the past ten days, so its been quite a tough schedule. We have Dundee United away on Tuesday, we beat St Johnstone last Tuesday in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup, so we are in the semi final of that, so things are rosy at the minute. But we all know in football things can change. But for the young players to try and progress and get some game time against good players and make sure they can match other clubs is very, very pleasing."
I also spoke to a disappointed Ian Durrant after the match.

I asked him how he found the game; was he disappointed to lose in the fashion that they did? He said: "First half I thought we created a few chances, probably the better team. Second half again it became a bit scrappy and once they got the penalty they seen the game out quite comfortably."

I also asked him are they looking to bounce back in their next fixture? "Well we have too, that's four games in a row we have lost so we need to bounce back. We aren't used to defeat in that manner and especially four games in a row. The quicker we get back on track the better."
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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