Motherwell are in freefall as Raith Rovers knocked them out the cup with a deserved 3-1 win in Kirkcaldy.
Raith Rovers are to be congratulated for the manner of their win. They played attacking football and defended in strength when needed. Best of luck in the next round.
Motherwell continued with the half-hearted dismal form that now has Stevie Hammell dreading a call from the chairman. He is held in high affection by the ‘Well support but the calls for him to go showered down from the travelling support well before the final whistle.
The six changes to the starting line-up followed the five changes on show at Pittodrie but apart from a spell of high tempo attacking at the start of the second half the fare on the pitch remained sub-standard.
After some early exchanges the home side got a fortunate break when a hopeful shot into the ‘Well area struck Callum Slattery’s outstretched arm. James Gullan fired the penalty beyond Liam Kelly.
Motherwell could not settle and the uncertainty grew. Nervous poor passing ended spells of possession in contrast to the confident behaviour of their opponents. A second goal arrib=veed five minutes ahead of the break when Kelly failed to collect a ball that he had failed to catch at the first attempt. The ball fell to Sam Stanton after the ‘keeper’s one handed stretch and the striker prodded over the line. The first of many travellers departed for the comfort of the nearest pub.
Hammell made three changes as the second period started and a quick reward followed. Stuart McKinstry and Max Johnston did the set up and Kevin van Veen shot from ten yards into the net with the help of a slight deflection. The big travelling fans roared their approval as van Veen banged his chest in front of them.
Motherwell’s best spell followed but apart from a strike on the woodwork there was no clear cut chance. The home defence stood firm and the threat lessened.
The inevitability of a cup exit had settled in the away stand well before new signing Goncalves sealed the result with a fine shot from a narrow angle.
The thin hope of cup glory has gone and Motherwell now have to concentrate of the relegation battle. Unfortunately the team seems to be short of battling qualities and the board will have to think long into the night for a solution.
Raith Rovers 3 Motherwell 1
Team: Kelly, O’Donnell (Johnston 45), Casey, Butcher, McGinn, Slattery (Goss 88), Spittall (Aitchison 82),Tierney, Danzaki (McKinstry 45), Obika (Crankshaw 45), Van Veen
Saturday 11 February 2023