August 2016 Review – A tough start in Scotland.
It looks to be a tough start to my Motherwell career as we face a top Italian team twice, as well as good teams in the SPL in August. We start off away at Dundee United, a really tough game against the 3rd best team in Scotland (from the ratings last season, we were 4th best). A few days later we have the pleasure of welcoming Palermo to Fir Park, a really tough game in the Europa League Qualifying 4th Round, before a few days later we host our first home league game of the season against St Johnstone. After that we got to Italy for the second leg against Palermo, before ending the month away at Dunfermline. My predictions for this month are;
L L W L W
It was a horrible start to Motherwell’s league campaign as they were beaten 3-0 by Dundee United at Tannadice Park, with all the goals coming in the first half. It didn’t take long for Dundee to take the lead as they scored after just 6 minutes, Jack Tuyp heading in a John Fleck cross. Dundee doubled their lead 5 minutes later as Robin L’Excellent played in John Fleck, who had time and space to drill the ball under Cammy Bell. Dundee scored their final goal 3 minutes before HT, but it wasn’t from one of their players – John Fleck swung in a corner and Tuyp’s shot was blocked on the line by Shaun Hutchinson, only for the block to come off his shin and into the back of the net. A fairly even game, but the scoreline doesn’t reflect it.
Palermo managed to win but should of scored a lot more as they only took a 1-0 win at Fir Park against Motherwell in the final qualifying round of the Europa League. Palermo scored their only goal after 11 minutes, Isla playing in Mauro Boselli, and the Argentinian struck across Bell and into the final corner. Palermo had 59% possession and 13 more shots but only take a 1-0 aggregate lead into the second leg, although they do have an away goal.
Motherwell grabbed their first league win of the season as they eased out 3-0 winner over St Johnstone at Fir Park. After a testing midweek European game, Motherwell took the lead after half an hour – but it wasn’t them that scored. Scott Allan swung in a corner and Zander Diamond’s attempted headed clearance went into his own net – was hilarious. Motherwell doubled their lead 3 minutes into the second half, Salvador Agra going on a storming run down the right flank, before crossing low for Aaron Sinclair to tap in at the back post. Motherwell were handed a chance to make it 3-0 with 15 minutes left as Erik Huseklepp was tripped in the box, and MOTM Salvador Agra stepped up to send the GK the wrong way and score.
Motherwell crashed out of the Europa League 5-1 on aggregate after a 4-1 defeat to Palermo at the Renzo Barbera, sending Palermo into the group stage. Already a goal down from the first leg, with Palermo’s goal being an away goal, Motherwell started on the backfoot as Palermo took a 3rd minute lead – Armin Bacinovic was played into loads of space by Boselli and he struck across Bell, the ball hitting the inside of the post & in. It got worse as 4 minutes from HT Palermo doubled their lead and went 3-0 up on aggregate, Matteo Tamberi heading in from a Raul Garcia (one of my former players) corner. But straight from kick off Motherwell were presented a chance to get back in the tie – Nouha Dicko ran down the wing, beat two defenders before his shot was saved by the GK – but the rebound fell straight to Shane Sutherland, who tapped in and made it 2-1 at HT, 3-1 on aggregate. Motherwell pushed in the second half, but the tie was effectively over as Palermo made it 3-1 with 20 minutes left. Mauro Boselli, scorer of the only goal in the first leg, turned Parypis before curling a shot into the top corner – and Palermo made it 4-1 with 3 minutes left as Boselli’s shot struck the post, before hitting the diving Bell and going in.
The month ended poorly for Motherwell as they were reduced to 10 men & lost to Dunfermline 1-0 at East End Park. Motherwell were reduced to 10 men just before HT, Shaun Hutchinson diving in two footed for a challenge on Shaun Maloney – a straight red with no excuses. Dunfermline capitalised on this by scoring the only goal 7 minutes later in first half stoppage time, Michael de Leeuw sliding in to tap in Mark Kerr’s cross at the back post.
So a really poor month for Motherwell. 1 win and 2 defeats in the league, whilst we were knocked out of the Europa League, albeit expected. I was disappointed with both of the performances in the league defeats and we currently sit 10th, 2 places above bottom – although we’ve only played 3 games & I expect that to improve – sorry, there isn’t a table either.
Next month we have our first Scottish League Cup game, as well as a daunting trip to Ibrox to face Rangers.
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