Motherwell did enough to ease past a dogged Queen’s Park thanks to Jon Obika’s first half goal.
It was not a performance to give great confidence to the three thousand ‘Well fans who turned up for the first competitive game of the season at Fir Park but they saw their favourites retain top spot in group G of the Viaplay Cup.
Stuart Kettlewell continued to rotate his squad and there was a return to claret and amber for Dan Casey in the back line. Liam Kelly was restored between the sticks and the Obika partnership with Conor Wilkinson was tested up front. Pape Souaré was introduced to his home turf.
The visitors showed up well in the opening quarter and looked confident in possession. They pressed their hosts when the opportunity arose and prevented Motherwell from building any meaningful attack for 25 minutes.
A fine passing move led to the first opportunity and it fell to Obika. He found space at the far post but contrived to miss the gaping target as his header slewed left of the post.
He got his goal five minutes later when he latched on to Paul McGinn’s forward pass on the right side of the penalty area. His shot took a deflection but flew over Calum Ferrie and into the net in front of the empty South Stand.
The Spiders came close to an immediate equaliser but Kelly’s tip at full stretch denied Dom Thomas.
Obika almost sneaked a second five minutes after the break following a misplaced back pass but at full stretch from six yards he beat the ‘keeper to the ball and it flew high into the Cooper Stand. That was the striker’s last action as he was replaced by Mark Ferrie.
Both sides freshened from the bench and Motherwell had to be alert as the visitors chased for a point. At the other end Blair Spittal had a couple of shots on target but the game ended with three points for the home side.
The group stage will end next Saturday with a visit from East Fife.
Motherwell 1 Queen’s Park 0
Attendance 3,161 (258)
Team: Kelly, O’Donnell, McGinn, Casey, Blaney, Souare (McGinley 85), Spittal, Slattery, Miller (Paton69), Wilkinson (Maguire 85), Obika (Ferrie 54)
Saturday 22 July 2023