Bit of the ol’ squeaky bum time at the end there, no?
That said, back up the road with three away points is nothing to sneeze at!
Manager Jim McIntyre shuffled his line-up after the tough loss to Aberdeen last weekend with Scott Boyd returning to the back line and Jonathan Franks returned to the midfield. Ian McShane (having solidified his spot through his brace against the Dons) was also in the starting eleven. These, however, were not the most telling line-up moves made on the day.
During pre-match warm-ups Martin Woods pulled up lame and Jackson Irvine was quickly deputized to take his place- he would do that and more.
Both clubs had their chances in the opening minutes of the match but in the 20th minute it was County that struck for the first goal, through none other than last-minute starter Jackson Irvine. Somehow unmarked at the back post Irvine calmly gathered an Ian McShane corner kick out of the air and volleyed it into the net off Motherwell defender Kieran Kennedy.
County struck again when Stewart Murdoch (on for Jonathan Franks) put a long, low cross through the middle of the Motherwell box that should have been cleared by two different defenders but instead found its way to the foot of Brian Graham who calmly smashed in home to give the visitors a 2-o lead.
Motherwell made things interesting in the 86th minute when Stephen Pearson drove the ball home from close range, but the home side, which had spurned scoring chances all afternoon, simply ran out of time and luck.
And a now a few words about a few individual players…
Had Jackson Irvine not scored the opening goal and generally played like a man among boys yesterday, goalkeeper Scott Fox was in with a shout for Man of the Match. Fox made all of the required saves and, on a few occasions when the County defense flubbed their lines he was there to make the “big” save- I’m thinking specifically of when he stuffed James McFadden’s attempted lob and soon after, a stinging drive from Keith Lasley.
Craig Curran came off the bench for a few minutes at the end of the match and that’s a hopeful sign as he comes back from a second concussion of the year.
Referee Willie Collum…wasn’t…terrible either, which, given his track record, can be seen as high praise
Finally, a word on a Motherwell player before the obligatory highlights. When I watched the highlights I couldn’t help but notice that Motherwell’s #26 was everywhere– unmistakable with his floppy blond locks. That would be 19 year old midfielder Christopher Cadden, getting his first start for the club (he’s been a substitute on a handful of occasions). If yesterday was typical of his abilities, he’s one to watch.