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Roberto Carlos-esque free-kick sends Motherwell into 5th round

Motherwell FC 1

McLean 32'

Kilmarnock FC 0

  • Sunday, 06 December 2015
  • Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
  • Under 20´s
  • Scottish FA Youth Cup

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

Ross McLean’s 25-yard, curling free-kick was enough to send Motherwell through to the next stage of the Scottish FA Youth Cup at the expense of Kilmarnock.
Storm Desmond wreaked havoc on fixtures at all levels across Scotland this weekend, but thanks to this match taking place on the Excelsior Stadium’s artificial pitch it was never in doubt and by Sunday afternoon the wind and rain had mostly subsided.
With only a point separating the sides in the SPFL development league and both hungry to progress to the next round of the cup, this was never going to be a whitewash. Instead it was a tight, tactical battle only won by a set-piece of sheer brilliance.
The home side started brighter, Allan Campbell firing wide after Dominic Thomas’s corner fell to him on the edge of the box. Thomas, Well’s dangerman throughout the game then picked out Jake Hastie at the back post with a low cross along the front of goal but the winger blazed his effort over.
Dylan Mackin, playing as the lone striker and target man for Motherwell, did well to hold up the ball and give Thomas a chance of his own. The tricky midfielder turned his marker while having his ankles kicked and, as the ref played advantage, advanced into the box but shot wide. Mackin taking the ball on his chest and waiting for Thomas, Hastie, and Chris Cadden to advance past him before playing it on was a regular feature of the first half dominated by the Steelmen. 
Kilmarnock could barely get out of their own half, with slack passing preventing them from building up from the back. The only threat they posed was when Aaron Splaine managed to head on a long ball to frontman Jack Whittaker but Luke Watt was there to get the block in and prevent any real danger.
It looked like a matter of time before Motherwell broke the deadlock and they almost did it in bizarre circumstances. A complete mishit from Adam Livingstone sent the ball spinning back towards his own centre-halves while the rest of his team were expecting a long ball into the box, but Watt took advantage of the Killie players standing off to galavant forward and hit a swerving 30-yard shot that pulled away from Ross Miller’s left-hand post at the last second.
Just after the half-hour mark and Well did take the lead with a swerving, long-range drive however. Thomas drew the foul from Iain Wilson and up-stepped McLean whose shot went over the wall, forcing Miller to take a step towards his left post, before it swerved back towards the right corner and landed perfectly in the side of the net, leaving the keeper with no chance. It was to be the only goal of the game but it was a hit worthy of winning any match.
Miller was tested by another free-kick before half time when Watt’s long ball into the box from the halfway line almost went directly into the top corner, only for Miller to claw it out at the lost second and take a knock off the post for his trouble. Fortunately after some attention from the physio he was okay to continue. 
  • Half Time:
  • Motherwell FC
  • 1-0
  • Kilmarnock FC
The second half started with Kilmarnock looking much more positive. Whittaker had looked isolated for long spells of the first half but after going a goal behind, Wilson and Splaine looked to make more of an effort to get forward with Adam Frizzell rather than sitting back in defensive midfield roles. And it almost paid off when Wilson combined with Scott McLean for Killie’s first real chance of the match, the centre mid starting and almost finishing a neat move but firing his effort across goal and over the bar.
Thomas continued where he left off from the first half for Motherwell, picking up the ball deep and taking advantage of a slip in the Kilmarnock defence which opened up a chance for a shot. Unfortunately his finishing failed to match his build-up. After firing another shot wide that he created himself, he tried to turn provider but Lewis Clark did well to clear his cutback in the six-yard box before a teammate could get on the end of it.
Both number eights made way shortly after, Motherwell’s goalscorer McLean coming off with a hand injury after falling awkwardly and Kilmarnock’s Frizzell being replaced by Andrew Sibbald. Sibbald made an almost immediate impact when he was slipped in by Splaine, who was definitely benefitting from more space as the game opened up, but the substitute was still rusty from the bench and sliced it wide.
Both sides looked to change the shape of their sides and rotate wingers into the middle and central players out wide in a bid to shake things up but the game fizzled out, with Motherwell’s defence comfortably soaking up some late high balls from the visitors. 
It wasn’t a classic by any means but the Steelmen had the better of the play and deservedly advance to the fifth round.
  • Full Time:
  • Motherwell FC
  • 1-0
  • Kilmarnock FC


Motherwell FC
Kilmarnock FC
1. Brett Long
2. Jack McMillan
3. Adam Livingstone
4. Luke Watt
5. Ben Hall
6. Allan Campbell
7. Jake Hastie
8. Ross McLean
9. Dylan Mackin
11. Dominic Thomas
12. Peter Morrison
14. Chris Cadden
15. Robbie Leitch
16. Barry Maguire
17. Dylan Falconer
18. David Turnbull
1. Ross Miller
2. Lewis Clark
3. Sam Lidington
4. Iain Wilson
5. Adam Hodge
6. David Syme
7. Aaron Splaine
8. Adam Frizzell
9. Jack Whittaker
10. Greg Taylor
11. Scott McLean
12. Aiden Wilson
13. Stuart Cowan
14. Lewis Morrison
15. Andrew Sibbald
16. Thomas Dempsie
Star Player
Motherwell FC
Kilmarnock FC
Dominc Thomas - Was a constant thorn down the right side of Kilmarnock and was at the heart of everything Motherwell created. In a game lacking in action, any the spectators saw was created by him.
Iain Wilson - Spent most of the first half sitting deep and trying to help his defence handle the pressure they were under but he shined when given the opportunity to roam forward.
Magic Moment
Motherwell FC
Kilmarnock FC
You won't see many better free-kicks this season than Ross McLean's. He put it over the wall, therefore wrong-footing the keeper into thinking it was going in his far corner only to watch in despair as it swerved back towards his own side after he'd already moved away. While the windy conditions may have helped, there's no doubt this was what McLean was trying to do.
Iain Wilson and Scott Mclean almost combined for the perfect equaliser. Wilson picked the ball up just inside the Motherwell half, used strength and skill to turn his marker before playing it wide to McLean. The winger then cut inside and watched Wilson run across him into space behind the defence that he passed into and Wilson was only a whisker away with his shot across goal that went narrowly over.
Match Video Highlights
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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