Sub Moult makes good on penalty kick pre­mo­ni­tion

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

IT WAS the mo­ment that trans­formed the match, an un­fore­seen twist in for­tunes for Mother­well.

Un­fore­seen, that is, by ev­ery­one but Louis Moult.

The Mother­well striker in­sists he had a penalty kick pre­mo­ni­tion sit­ting in his High­land ho­tel on the eve of Satur­day’s 1-1 draw in Ding­wall.

Moult, back in ac­tion af­ter a groin op­er­a­tion, had only just en­tered the fray from the bench when he was charged with tuck­ing away the spot-kick award.

Mys­tic Meg or the High­lands’ fa­mous Bra­han Seer, who resided just along the road in the Black Isle, might have strug­gled to see the Fir Park team’s re­vival com­ing, such was County’s ap­par­ent con­trol.

But soon af­ter Moult can­celled out Liam Boyce’s sec­ond-half opener, the hosts’ de­fender Jay McEve­ley saw red for a sec­ond book­ing – and it was back­sto-the-wall from then on in for the pre­vi­ously dom­i­nant Ding­wall side.

The Stoke-on-Trent-bred for­mer Wrex­ham and Nuneaton striker has been missed by Mother­well and Mark McGhee since go­ing un­der the knife in late July fol­low­ing two League Cup ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing a dou­ble haul against An­nan Ath­letic.

“It feels like for­ever since I’ve played,” Moult said. “I’ve had to put my head down and work hard in the gym but the phys­ios have been fan­tas­tic with me. Hope­fully I’m stronger and quicker and ready to score more goals.

“Last night in the ho­tel I thought I was go­ing to get a penalty. I don’t know why it came into my head but that’s the hon­est truth.

“I thought about scor­ing and, thank­fully, it’s hap­pened to­day. I don’t know why I thought that like that but it’s a weird game foot­ball. I wasn’t on the pitch for long but as soon as we got the penalty I picked up the ball and was con­fi­dent of slot­ting it away.

“It’s not hap­pened to me be­fore so dra­mat­i­cally like that, but I thought about it a few times yes­ter­day and it’s weird that af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes on the field it’s come off.”

Moult’s team-mates would have been quizzing him for lot­tery num­bers af­ter the game but, in truth, it was County who had ear­lier looked des­tined to hit the jack­pot in this match.

A fairly even first half saw the hosts hold the up­per hand on chances, with the best see­ing the lively Michael Gar­dyne shake the cross­bar with a curl­ing 20-yard at­tempt af­ter 37 min­utes.

Af­ter the break, home mo­men­tum built to­wards a 61 s t - m i nut e break­through.

Liam Boyce, the North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tional, claimed his sixth goal of the sea­son – while also miss­ing a cou­ple of clear-cut head­ers – in typ­i­cally clin­i­cal fash­ion.

Jay McEve­ley’s high cross from the left was well-con­trolled by Dutch striker Alex Schalk who fed Boyce to tuck away from 15 yards.

But just when County looked set to ce­ment their vic­tory – with Schalk hav­ing a goal chalked off for off-side soon af­ter – it all went pear-shaped for the home side.

Craig Clay found Scott Mcdon­ald in the County box and, as the Aussie tried to nip past Scott Fox, the goal­keeper’s out­stretched arm brought him tum­bling.

Moult, only on af­ter 60 min­utes, stepped up con­fi­dently to beat Fox from the spot.

McEve­ley, who had taken a first half book­ing for a clat­ter­ing chal­lenge on Clay, was then sent pack­ing for a sec­ond mis­de­meanour against Mcdon­ald af­ter 74 min­utes.

That left 10-man County in dam­age­lim­i­ta­tion mode and they held on, leav­ing nei­ther camp par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fied.

For County, the frus­tra­tion was ar­guably greater given ear­lier con­trol in the match as they set Mother­well on the back foot. For Fox, the penalty kick cul­prit, frus­tra­tion was height­ened by his part in the Mother­well re­vival – with a very pub­lic ver­bal vol­ley aimed his way by man­ager Jim McIn­tyre – although sev­eral de­cent saves soft­ened the blame.

“It was a penalty,” Fox con­fessed. “[Mcdon­ald] got there, he’s taken a touch and I’ve had a chance to get there but he’s got around me.

“It’s one of those where if he shoots I save it, but he’s smart enough and knows what he’s do­ing. He’s won the penalty, and it was a penalty.”

Pic­ture: SNS

GO­ING TO PLAN: Louis Moult scores from the penalty spot.

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