Motherwell v Annan Athletic
There was no doubt that following their mid week defeat at the hands of Morton that Annan would be looking forward to their trip up to Motherwell for their final Befred Cup tie.
Annan boss Peter Murphy lined his team up in a 5-4-1 formation and for large spells in the match Annan looked comfortable in containing the Motherwell attacks but late goals from Liam Donnelly and James Scott in the 89 and 92nd minutes put a polish on the score line.
Motherwell started on the front foot and within 3 minutes won a free kick 28 yards out with Avici pulling off a good save to deny Jake Carroll pushing his shot for a corner kick. Annan then had Scott McLean booked for a routine tackle wide on the left. Avci then pulled off a fairly routine save to deny Dunne.
Liam Donnelly was alert to punish the Annan defence in the 20thminute with a well taken goal when the Motherwell striker scored from inside the 6 yard box latching on to a Long cross and as the finish with a right footed shot into the roof of the net broke the deadlock. The goal however gave Motherwell the edge and Annan were forced to defend, Tommy Muir was rightly booked for a clinical challenge in the 29th minute.
As the game entered the final minutes Annan started to impose a threat in the Well defence and in the 41st minute Scott McLean’s effort from the edge of the box tested Gillespie in the Motherwell goal. At the other end Jamie Semple’s well struck shot went narrowly over the bar.
Motherwell doubled their lead right on half time Christopher Long was again involved racing through the centre of the Athletic defence. Although his shot was blocked by the keeper at the edge of the box, the ball broke for Liam Polworth who guided it inside the post for his first goal. It was a bitter blow for Annan who had defended so well throughout to lose the second goal so close to half time.
Sherwin Seedorf, eager to cut in from the left, fired a couple of shots towards Avci’s goal without testing the keeper. The Dutch winger finally hit the target after 58 minutes when, after a terrific run and exchange with Ilic, Grimshaw’s incisive pass played in Seedorf but his firm shot was brilliantly blocked by Avci. That was Seedorf’s final touch, Jermain Hylton taking his place on the left wing after 66 minutes.
Annan though, remained resolute in their defending and Robinson made another substitution three minutes later James Scott taking over the striking role from Long. With his first touch from 20 yards, Scott’s powerful drive forced a diving save from Avci and when Hylton rifled the rebound towards goal the keeper produced a great reflex save to palm the ball over his crossbar.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes the visitors came close to breaking Gillespie’s run of clean sheets, with Lewis McLearpassing up a great chance from 8 yards.
Five minutes from time Gillespie had to dive across his goal and block Kyle Wilkie’s effort to keep his goal intact.
However, Annan’s brave attempts were not rewarded with a consolation goal and instead the border’s side conceded another two goals in the dying minutes.
With Hylton probing for some space to shoot the ball found its way to Donnelly, who revelling in his new midfield role, thumped the ball home from 12 yards to claim his fourth of the tournament. A minute later Scott added a fourth goal, swerving the ball beyond Avci for a great finish to the game and the Betfred Cup section games.
Motherwell – Mark Gillespie, Jake Carroll, Liam Grimshaw, Peter Hartley, Christopher Long (James Scott 70 min ), Sherwin Seedorf ( Jermain Hylton 66 min ), Christain Ilic, Charles Dunne, Liam Polworth (Casper Sloth 46 min) , Liam Donnelly, Jamie Semple. Subs not used Trevor Carson, Barry Maguire, Adam Livingstone, David Devine.
Annan- Lyle Avci, Matty Douglas, Jamie Ballantyne, Kyle Bradley, Jordan Holt ( Euan Griffiths 54 min), Steven Swinglehurst, Scott McLean, Tommy Muir, Kyle Wilkie, NiyahJoseph (Lewis McLear74 min ), Christain Nade , Subs not usedAaran Taylor, Russell Currie , Ayrton Sonkur, Harry Emerson, Darren Barr.
Referee Alan Newlands. Assistants – Drew Kirkland and Gordon Crawford
Annan kick off their SPFL2 campaign on Saturday with a match away from home against recently relegated Brechin City.