Motherwell ended the season with a 3-2 win to confirm the relegation of Dundee United. KVV scored in a record breaking eleventh consecutive game.
There was a bit of a carnival atmosphere at sunny Fir Park as a big home support turned out to thanks the team for the roller coaster season. The away stand was a more sombre area as almost 700 turned up to see United leave the Premiership.
With Callum Butcher and Dan Casey forced on to the sidelines there was an opportunity for Bevis Mugabi and Shane Blaney to partner Paul McGinn in central defence. The visitors set up with attacking intent and had the better of the first half.
Kevin van Veen stretched his record breaking scoring run with the opener after only five minutes. Sean Goss was provider and the striker composed himself before netting from a narrow angle. Those in the claret and amber stands who then believed that a comfortable afternoon lay ahead were to change their minds.
The visitors took charge for the rest of the half and soon tested Liam Kelly. Glen Middleton was foiled by the home ‘keeper and McGinn produced a fabulous goal line clearance.
Mugabi looked uncomfortable in his contests with Fletcher and after half an hour United got a fortunate break when the ball struck the defender’s arm as the pair rose for a high ball. The off-site official spotted the incident and after a VAR chack a penalty was awarded. McGrath beat Kelly from the spot.
Fletcher scored to give United the lead three minutes into the second period when he took advantage of Pawlett’s pass.
Motherwell began to shake off the lethargy and began to take control. Mugabi had a header cleared off the line and following an intense spell of pressure on the Cooper end goal James Furlong saw his effort hit the post.
A triple substitution followed and the equaliser followed. Blair Spittal was on hand as van Veen set him up for an 18 yard low drive. The crowd increased the volume and ‘Well pressed for the winner.
A couple of opportunities were wasted as his team-mates decined shots as they tried to supply van Veen but the winner arrived off the head of Max Johnston with ten minutes remaining.
The United players went to their travelling fans to acknowledge their support knowing that their spell on the top flight was over. They left the field to the Motherwell players, staff and families for a tour of the stands.
A remarkable season has finished. Three managers, relegation candidates a record breaking centre forward and a leader in Stuart Kettlewell who produced a heroic fourteen game finale to the campaign.
Who knows what next season will bring?
Motherwell 3 Dundee United 2
Attendance 5,971 (683)
Team: Kelly, O’Donnell (Johnston 63), Blaney, Mugabi, McGinn, Furlong, Spittal (Cornelius 91), Goss, Miller (Slattery 63), Mandron (Obika 63), Van Veen
Sunday 28 May 2023