Stenhousemuir 2 Motherwell 2: Lithgow rescues Warriors

PJ Sludden hit a hat-trick at Ochilview
PJ Sludden hit a hat-trick at Ochilview

Goals from new signings Martin Grehan and Alan Lithgow gave Scott Booth’s side a draw in their first match on Ochilview’s new surface.

Motherwell’s youth side, guided by Jonatan Johannson, put up a stern test for the League One hopefuls in front of around 150 fans at the ‘closed-door’ match.

The fans who had ‘sneaked’ in through the open door were rewarded as Booth named a very strong side from the start, only without Greg Fotheringham and Chris Smith from the first team pool.

And they were not disappointed in a good 90 minutes for the home side and a first glance at new signings Colin McMenamin, Martin Grehan, Ryan Millar, PJ Sludden, Alan Lithgow and Jamie Reid plus future signing Ross Meechan.

Within 11 minutes they were cheering as a set-piece routine earned the home side a goal.

Sean Dickson rolled a free-kick 20 yards frpom goal behind him and Bryan Hodge struck a powerful low shot at goal. It was probably goal-bound anyway but clipped the heels of Martin Grehan and into the corner of the net.

Lithgow then headed wide for the Warriors on 19 minutes and Colin Mcmenamin poked the ball inches wide seconds later.

The defence, marshalled by Stewart Greacen and the safety of Ross McMillan was not particularly troubled and it seemed the Warriors most likely to add to their score as Motherwell’s youngsters battled without creating.

Some great vision from grehan picked out Josh Watt on the left wing after 36 minutes and his cross deflected to Sean Dockson on the edge of the box but the shot was blazed over.

Motherwell took their chance a minute later though as Kris Faulds couldn’t maintain possession for the Warriors and ‘Well - watched by Gordon Marshall, Kenny Black and boss Stuart McCall - swept forward to level the scores with a smooth passing exchange.

Robbie Duncan and Ciaran Summers were brought on for Greacen and McMenamin and immediately Stenhousemuir appeared more confident with Sean Dickson taking a more responsible and vocal role.

However the Warriors were punished by another slick passing move on 68 minutes when they fell behind to Dylan Mackin’s second goal of the game.

But it could have been a very different ending to the game.

Kris Faulds’ corner with six minutes to go found Lithgow for a headed equaliser and Faulds himself went close with a great free kick which was pushed out two-handed by Motherwell’s sub keeper Brett Long.

Meanwhile at Grangemouth Stadium, East Stirlingshire completed the set of 2-2 friendly draws for the local sides when Craig Tully and Jim McInally squared off against their former clubs.

The Shire were behind to a double from local striker and former Shire-man Andy Rodgers. However Nathan Shepherd pulled one back for the ‘home’ side at the athletics stadium before half-time and the scores were levelled by a trialist forward in the second half.