Motherwell had a comfortable 3-0 win against East Fife to top their League Cup group and they will be seeded in Sunday’s knockout draw.
‘Well fans left Fir Park content with the win as the Fifers, reduced to ten before the break, produced little resistance. A bonus arrived later when news came through that Ross County had faltered allowing Motherwell to take seeded status in the next stage of the competition.
Two of the three scorers
There were three changes to the Motherwell line-up. Aston Oxoborough was given his first run out at Fir Park and he was to have an easy afternoon. Harry Paton filled the sizeable gap caused by the absence of Jon Obika and Bevis Mugabi started ahead of Stephen O’Donnell.
The home side took early control and camped in the south half of the pitch for most of the opening quarter. Passing looked crisp and accurate but clear chances were hard to manufacture in the crowded last third.
The opener came after a rare East Fife attack. They lost possession after a free kick and Motherwell made the best of the space to break. The ball was at the feet of Lennon Miller on the left and he flicked it beyond Allan Fleming into the net before running to the ‘Well Bois in celebration.
Conor Wilkinson opened his account a few minutes later with a low drive from 23 yards to Fleming’s left corner. The contest became even more one-sided two minutes before the break when Jonathan Page was awarded a straight red card for his challenge on Blair Spittal.
The visitors formed ranks in the second period and concentrated on building a barrier in front of Fleming. Stephen O’Donnell had joined the fray and there was a debut for Davor Zdravkovski in the deep midfield position as Miller moved forward.
Callum Slattery had a pop after he created some space and beat Fleming on his right. A further three changes were made including an appearance for Mark Ferrie as Wilkinson had to retire after a face knock.
The visitors held out without further loss but the need to strengthen striking options is clear. Let’s hope for a signing before the league campaign begins in Dundee next week.
In the meantime a favourable draw on Sunday will be welcome.
Motherwell 3 East Fife 0
Attendance 3,076 (341)
Team: Oxoborough, McGinn (O’Donnell 45), Mugabi, Casey, Blaney, Souare (Wilson 68), Spittal, Slattery (Ferrie 65), Miller, Wilkinson (Maguire 77), Paton(Zdravkovski 50)
Saturday 29 July 2023