Motherwell blanked by Thistle

Date published: Saturday 23rd May 2015 4:32

Partick goalkeeper Scott Fox produced a fantastic stop to deny Motherwell forward John Sutton midway through the second half in the closest either side came to a goal.

Motherwell made nine changes to their starting line-up, with Thursday’s play-off with Rangers very much in mind.

And the result was a low-key contest in which goalscoring opportunities were in short supply and the spoils were shared.

Motherwell’s defensive fringe players fared better than their attacking colleagues in their quest to work their way into Ian Baraclough’s play-off plans.

Baraclough’s team was a mixture of young players who were given an opportunity to shine, possible starters on Thursday who were given the chance to stake their claim, and some who are unlikely to feature.

The result was a predictably quiet affair with Sutton and Thistle midfielder Gary Fraser the only players to seriously threaten a goal.

Baraclough is unlikely to deviate much from his usual formula on Thursday but some of his defensive players did themselves no harm.

Goalkeeper Dan Twardzik, who was dropped for unconvincing loan signing George Long four months ago, made good stops in each half from powerful long-range strikes from Fraser before doing well to hold another shot from the midfielder in the latter stages.

Teenager Luke Watt gave an assured display at right-back before moving inside while both Simon Ramsden and Louis Laing, who returned from a groin injury, looked comfortable in centre-back appearances of close to an hour.

Winger Lionel Ainsworth, who is certain to be involved against Rangers, showed some decent flashes of skill before being taken off at half-time while Dom Thomas was not involved a great deal on the left flank.

Conor Grant was given a run in central midfield in the first half and made some good passes without dominating.

Up front, Sutton produced the home side’s only decent efforts on target. He curled a low free-kick round the Thistle wall, but Fox got across well to push the ball away, and then headed straight at the Jags goalkeeper late on.

Fellow striker Craig Moore twice got in behind the visiting defence but right-back Stephen O’Donnell covered well to make a first-half sliding tackle, and did just enough to put off the striker in the second half as Moore fired two
yards wide from the edge of the box.

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