Moult on the mark but Mother­well fall short at Pre­ston

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOTBALL -

DE­SPITE the score­line, Mother­well man­ager Ian Bar­a­clough will not be too dis­heart­ened with his side’s per­for­mance against Cham­pi­onship new-boys Pre­ston North End in the last of the Fir Park side’s pre-sea­son friendlies.

First-half goals from Joe Garner and Neil Kilkenny gave Pre­ston a decisive ad­van­tage, but Mother­well played their part in an en­ter­tain­ing pre-sea­son en­counter, and at the very least de­served their late con­so­la­tion from Louis Moult.

Scott McDon­ald made his first start since re­join­ing the club on Mon­day play­ing in a mid­field five, with the scorer of Tues­day’s late win­ner against Sligo Rovers, Wes Fletcher, lead­ing the line.

Mother­well passed the ball well early on, with Marvin John­son look­ing lively com­ing off the right flank.

The winger had three shots on goal within the first 20 min­utes, the best of which was a left-foot ef­fort that was de­flected just wide by a Pre­ston de­fender.

Jer­maine Beck­ford had the ball in the net for the visi­tors mid­way through the half, lift­ing the ball over Dan Twardzik in the Mother­well goal only to be de­nied by the as­sis­tant’s flag.

They didn’t have to wait long for the opener though, and on 27 min­utes a whipped cross by for­mer Scot­land player Paul Gal­lagher was met by a glanc­ing header from Garner from six yards that found Twardzik’s bot­tom right-hand cor­ner.

Sud­denly, Mother­well were all over the place, and Pre­ston dou­bled their lead just a cou­ple of min­utes later.

Some neat build-up play by Calum Woods al­lowed him to tee up the ball for Kilkenny on the edge of the area, who had all the time in the world to pick his spot and duly planted the ball in the top cor­ner.

John­son al­most had Mother­well back in the game at the start of the sec­ond half, but Pre­ston keeper Jamie Jones made a great one-handed stop to tip his ef­fort over.

They had an even bet­ter op­por­tu­nity soon af­ter as a loop­ing ball into the area was con­trolled by Fletcher who teed up McDon­ald, only for Jones to bril­liantly tip his point-blank ef­fort on to a post.

Twardzik then did well to deny Beck­ford from a sim­i­lar range, be­fore that man Jones pulled off another won­der­ful stop to help sub­sti­tute Lionel Ainsworth’s screamer over the bar.

Mother­well fi­nally got their goal in the last minute, sub­sti­tute Moult latch­ing on to a through ball and ham­mer­ing past Jones for his first goal for the club.

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