Match Report - Motherwell (A)
Motherwell 3-3 Ross County – (Bierith, Wilkinson, Ross) – (Brophy, Murray, Loturi) - Attendance 5119 (167 away)
Ross County faltered in the final minutes after being two goals clear twice, losing out on three points at Fir Park. The Staggies opened the scoring in the second half through Eamonn Brophy.
Simon Murray doubled the lead with a wonderful strike, but Ross Laidlaw came charging out at Bierith and the referee blew for a penalty which the on-loan Arsenal striker converted.
County looked as if they had the game dead and buried when Victor Loturi finished past Liam Kelly.
With seven minutes added unfortunately, the Staggies could not hold on for a win as Conor Wilkinson and Max Ross pounced on defensive errors to claim Stuart Kettlewell’s side a late point.
Malky Mackay made three changes to his side for the trip to Lanarkshire. With a switch to a back-four formation, Scott Allardice replaced Dylan Smith, whilst George Harmon and Eamonn Brophy replaced Ben Purrington and Jordan White respectively.
The Staggies started incredibly strongly in Motherwell and were the team creating all the chances early on. Simon Murray and Eamonn Brophy both had headers inside the box, both from Yan Dhanda crosses which they have done better with.
The football was much changed for Malky’s side, with free-flowing passing moves replacing the target man-aimed forward play of weeks past. Having an extra man in midfield was a massive plus point for Staggies and enabled us to get a stronger foothold in the match than Motherwell.
Although going into the half-time break level, County had been the team on the front foot, and the feeling in the stands was certainly that it was only a matter of time before we turned the nice play into goals.
Scott Allardice was the player to come closest after the break when he went just wide with an effort from the edge of the box.
It was on the 66th minute when the Highlanders had the breakthrough. Eamonn Brophy banged in his first of the season with a powerful strike from the right hand of the box. He struck across the ball and although Liam Kelly got a hand to it, the power was too much, and the ball nestled in the back of the net.
It didn’t take long before the advantage was doubled. The ball was played into Simon Murray’s feet, and he beautifully rolled Harry Paton completely taking him out of the game. Space was created for Murray and with a quick touch forward he cleverly fired a low strike into the bottom right corner sending the away side two ahead.
Motherwell didn’t take long to find their way back into the match when a long ball over the top was not met by the Staggies backline, leaving Mika Bierith to latch onto the ball. Ross Laidlaw made his way out to try and dive and claim the ball, but he made contact with the onrushing Arsenal loanee and wiped him out – leading to a stonewall penalty which Bierith converted to make it 2-1.
The Staggies looked dead buried when Victor Loturi scored a third. Jordan White flicked from a goal kick, and Alex Samuel charged his way through the Motherwell defence and slotted in Victori Loturi. The Canada international’s first pop at goal was saved, but he made sure of his chance the second time around and tapped home to make it three.
County should have been home and dry, but a defensive calamity allowed Motherwell back into the match. Jack Baldwin tried to clear long but the ball cannoned off his own man and it dropped Straight back to Motherwell allowing Conor Wilkinson to bring them right back into it.
It wasn’t over then, with seven minutes added. Agonisingly and infuriatingly the Staggies lost their lead when a cross into the box failed to be cleared. The ball bobbled around, and no Ross County jerseys could get onto the end of it to turn it away. It fell to ‘Well youngster Max Ross who tapped home past Laidlaw – completing Motherwell's comeback and securing an point.
Teams in full
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Mugabi, P McGinn, Casey, Spencer; Slattery, H Paton, Spittal; Shaw, Bair.
Ross County: Laidlaw, Brown, Baldwin, Leak, Harmon; Allardice, Randall Loturi, Dhanda; Murray, Brophy.
Ross County: Loturi, Allardice.
Motherwell: Spencer, Slattery.
Referee: Graham Grainger.
VAR: Nick Walsh.
Man of the match: Simon Murray.