Motherwell move into the Scottish Cup fifth round thanks to a 2-0 win in Arbroath. Mikael Mandron scored in each half.
It was a deserved win but the Championship side provided stiff resistance. The ‘Well defence made none of the errors that have characterised recent losses and the new striker will be delighted with his confidence building brace.
Shane Blaney was given a debut in the bright third strip and he partnered Ricki Lamie. The versatile Paul McGinn popped up at left back to fill for the departed Matt Penney.
The playing surface did nothing to help the players control the ball and the spectacle suffered. Arbroath started the game in determined style but it was McGinn who sparked the first meaningful attack with a powerful run that eventually earned a corner. Blair Spittal followed that with a shot into the side net.
The home side came close after a corner at the other end. O’Brien had the ball at his feet on the six yard line but his effort was half blocked and flew high.
Spittal provided the defence splitting pass that led to the opener. Stuart McKinstry collected on the right side of the penalty area and delivered an unselfish pass to give Mandron a simple conversion. The goal settled the visitors but the margin was still one at the break.
Mandron almost scored within a minute of the restart. Goalkeeper Gill got a touch to the attempted flick.
Goalmouth incidents were few ans the game stuck to the middle of the field for long spells. Willie Collum kept himself busy by booking Goss, Slattery and van Veen.
Arbroath pushed to get back into the game but the shield around Liam Kelly prevented any real threat. Blaney looked comfortable throughout.
Mandron scored his second three minutes into added time. Van Veen and Goss played their part but double ended the contest.
Arbroath 0 Motherwell 2
Team: Kelly, Johnston, Blaney, McGinn, Lamie, Slattery, Goss, Spittal (Cornelius 74), McKinstry (Shields 89), Crankshaw (van Veen 75), Slattery, Mandron
Saturday 21 January 2023