Arbroath 0-2 Motherwell: Mandron’s first goal sparks struggling Fir Park side

Mikael Mandron
Mikael Mandron, third from right, steers the ball into the net in injury time to put the result beyond doubt

Motherwell eased past a spirited Arbroath in the Scottish Cup fourth round to relieve mounting pressure from an eight-game winless run in the Premiership.

Mikael Mandron marked his first start with a tap in midway in the first half before adding a second at the death.

Arbroath competed well throughout but lacked a real cutting edge.

The result was Motherwell’s first win and clean sheet since 29 October against 10-man Dundee United.

More than 1,000 Motherwell fans traveled north to pack out the Gayfield away terraces, desperate for that precious win. Not just to prolong their Scottish Cup dream, but to rouse confidence and belief in a side which has slumped to three points off bottom.

Arbroath made it difficult on a craterous surface, with the hosts unlucky to be behind at the break on the balance of play. However, in the key moments, the quality in Hammell’s ranks made the difference.

Mandron and McKinstry linked well in the opening half. First the latter turned the ball into the net only for it to be ruled out after Mandron bodied Cammy Gill, but the opener came soon enough.

Blair Spittal’s threaded ball opened the Arbroath defense for McKinstry. He unselfishly provided a deft lay-off for Mandron, who joined eight days ago, to roll the ball into a gaping net.

Spittal and McKinstry would both be thwarted by Gill either side of the break, while Dean Cornelius thrashed the ball over late on, but Mandron’s goal would prove enough.

Arbroath, who have scored 20 times in 22 Championship games, predictably lacked a real threat in front of goal to reward their endeavour. Sean Adarkwa sent a swerving shot wide in the first half, while the hosts did little to trouble Liam Kelly after the break.

And with only seconds remaining, Mandron steered in his second from a low Sean Goss cross to cap off a professional performance from the visitors.

Player of the match – Stuart McKinstry

Stuart McKinstry
Stuart McKinstry’s star has burned brightly during a gloomy start to 2023 for Motherwell. On the east coast of Scotland, he was again a beacon of hope in beaming yellow. Had the ball in the net only to be disallowed, the on-loan Leeds United man selflessly put the ball on a plate for Mikael Mandron to score

What they said

Arbroath assistant manager Ian Campbell: “We played against a good quality side and although we didn’t create gilt-edged chances, we can’t fault the players’ effort and commitment. That was absolutely magnificent.

“We could have got the ball into the box more and put them under a lot more pressure, but we have to take heart from the performance. It was never a 2-0 game.”

Motherwell manager Steven Hammell: “It was a good 90 minutes for us. The first goal settled us. We could have scored one or two more in similar positions, but it was pleasing.

“A lot of people looked at this and thought this game could have been an upset. Even when we were coming off the bus, there were fans there. That made the players, especially the new ones, realize just what this means.”

Line-ups

Arbroath

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 21Gill
  • 12Stewart
  • 4LittleSubstituted forGoldat 13′minutes
  • 5O’Brien
  • 3Hamilton
  • 20Bitsindou
  • 25BaldéBooked at 63mins
  • 8McKenna
  • 19DowSubstituted forHilsonat 70′minutes
  • 18Ben El MhanniSubstituted forLinnat 61′minutes
  • 24Adarkwa

Substitutes

  • 1Gaston
  • 7Gold
  • 9Hilson
  • 11Linn
  • 22Hoti
  • 23Allan
  • 50Douglas

Motherwell

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Kelly
  • 22johnston
  • 20Blaney
  • 4Lamie
  • 16McGinn
  • 7SpittalSubstituted forCorneliusat 74′minutes
  • 8SlatteryBooked at 51mins
  • 27GossBooked at 66mins
  • 12CrankshawSubstituted forvan Veenat 74′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 21Mandron
  • 17McKinstrySubstituted forshieldsat 89′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2O’Donnell
  • 6Maguire
  • 9van Veen
  • 13Oxborough
  • 15Johansen
  • 18Cornelius
  • 26Tierney
  • 29shields
  • 38Miller

Referees:
William Collum

Attendance:
4.145

Live Text

Player of the match

McKinstryStuart McKinstry

Arbroath

  1. Squad number5Player nameO’Brien

  2. Squad number11Player nameLinn

  3. Squad number24Player nameAdarkwa

  4. Squad number8Player nameMcKenna

  5. Squad number18Player nameBen El Mhanni

  6. Squad number9Player nameHilson

  7. Squad number3Player nameHamilton

  8. Squad number21Player nameGill

  9. Squad number25Player nameBaldé

  10. Squad number20Player nameBitsindou

  11. Squad number7Player nameGold

  12. Squad number19Player nameDow

  13. Squad number4Player nameLittle

  14. Squad number12Player nameStewart

Motherwell

  1. Squad number17Player nameMcKinstry

  2. Squad number27Player nameGoss

  3. Squad number21Player nameMandron

  4. Squad number12Player nameCrankshaw

  5. Squad number20Player nameBlaney

  6. Squad number9Player namevan Veen

  7. Squad number18Player nameCornelius

  8. Squad number29Player nameshields

  9. Squad number22Player namejohnston

  10. Squad number8Player nameSlattery

  11. Squad number4Player nameLamie

  12. Squad number16Player nameMcGinn

  13. Squad number1Player nameKelly

  14. Squad number7Player nameSpittal

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