Motherwell ended involvement with the League Cup after a 1-0 defeat to St Mirren in Paisley. The home side were home and dry fine a first half goal.
No team can expect to win a game when they record no shots on target and Motherwell paid the price. Changes by Stuart Kettlewell to defence and midfield delivered an unsettled team and the consistency of performance that was evident in early season games was lost.
Davor Zdravkovski was given a first start in front an altered back line that had Shane Blaney on the left centre back position as Dan Casey moved right side. Paul McGinn found himself in the left defensive position.
The uncertainty at the back was meat and dring to the hosts and they piled balls down their right wing. Their success in that side of the pitch gave the opportunity for penalty box deliveries. Motherwell’s inability to clear effectively led to the crucial goal that ended the tie.
The ball fell to Coalan Boyd-Munce just outside the box and he unleashed a peach of a drive and the ball flew into the net giving Liam Kelly no chance of a save.
Bevis Mugabi and Zdravkovski were generous to the opposition as passes were misplaced. Motherwell earned a couple of corners before the break but nothing came from them.
The expected changes from Kettlewell did not arrive until ten minutes into the second period. Lenon Miller arrived to give some stability and Theo Bair made way for Mika Biereth. The pace picked up and Motherwell’s best spell of possession followed.
The rain was sheeting down and there were lots of embarrassing slips. A place for old fashioned studs still remains.
The only chance of an equaliser followed a Blair Spittal run from deep. His pass to Mika was over-hit but the Arsenal man managed to fire across the line. Conor Wilkinson came close at the far post but the opportunity was gone.
In the final fifteen more firepower was added, Joe Efford and Mark Ferrie piled in. St Mirren might have scored on the break but Kelly was on hand to keep the feint hope alive until Willie Collum ended the contest.
Next up is a visit from Kilmarnock and hopefully a more settled ‘Well eleven.
St Mirren 1 Motherwell 0
Team: Kelly, O’Donnell (Ferrie 75), McGinn, Mugabi, Casey, Blaney, Spittal, Slattery, Zdravkovski (Miller 55), Wilkinson (Efford 76), Bair (Biereth76)
Saturday 19 August 2023