The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
Well boss greedy for points as Steelmen clear danger zone
MOTHERWELL 1 Cole (62) ST MIRREN 0
Motherwell boss Graham Alexander hopes to land Liam Kelly on a permanent deal after the goalkeeper’s man-of-the-match display against St Mirren.
The former Livingston man became the first stopper this season to save a penalty from Jamie McGrath.
And that first-half parry gave Well the platform to go on to win the match through Devante Cole’s 62nd-minute strike.
Kelly is on loan from Queens Park Rangers until the summer but Alexander revealed he has held talks with the club and the player about the prospect of retaining the former Rangers prospect.
He said: “We’ve spoken to Liam and QPR about it after he said he would be interested in coming back next year.
“It has been on the back burner as we have tried to get permanent players signed up. But if his future lies out of QPR then we would certainly be interested.
“He has done great for us. In the last league game he made a mistake and I think he is still whipping himself about that.
“But he made a massive save from the penalty and he doesn’t have to make anything up to me as he has been fantastic since he came in. And we would really like to keep him.”
The only goal of the game was a fortunate one with the ball bouncing off Cole after Jak Alnwick had pushed out Chris Long’s effort.
The result all but removes any chance of Motherwell being relegated this season. However, Alexander insists he is looking up the table, not down.
He added: “I know the league says we are 11 clear of Hamilton but our ambition is to take as many points as we can in the last four games and finish as high as we can.
“That’s a big win for our tally and results elsewhere have been reasonably good, but I don’t want that to impact our approach in our next games.
“We have to commit to every game and make sure we take more points. Staying up was the first target but our effort and commitment shouldn’t stop there so we will keep our foot to the floor.”
Saints were left frustrated on their last league outing when a late Hamilton goal cost them a place in the top six.
They started here like a team in a hurry to make amends and created a number of early chances.
Top scorer McGrath missed the best from open play, failing to get enough purchase in his shot after being played in brilliantly by Lee Erwin.
Ilkay Durmus also curled a 25-yard free-kick just wide of goal while Conor McCarthy couldn’t keep his header on target from a McGrath corner.
Well had to weather a storm but had passed up a great opportunity of their own by then to move in front when Cole somehow headed wide from Nathan McGinley’s terrific centre.
Saints then had a penalty shout turned down for handball before ref Kevin Clancy did point to the spot after Stephen O’Donnell had tripped Dylan Connolly.
But McGrath, usually perfect from 12 yards, saw his effort well saved by Kelly.
Well lost Jordan Roberts, who went off on a stretcher early in the second half after a collision with Saints’ Marcus Fraser.
But they got their noses in front not long after and then could have had a second through Allan Campbell.
Saints rallied as they pushed for an equaliser and sub Cammy MacPherson headed wide. Motherwell then expertly managed the game to see it out and claim another precious three points.