Scottish Premiership
MotherwellMotherwell0Dundee UtdDundee United1

Motherwell 0-1 Dundee United: League newcomers stun sluggish hosts

By Nick McPheatBBC Scotland

Motherwell "need to become more streetwise" if they are to turn around their poor start to the season, says manager Stephen Robinson.

The Fir Park side slumped to a second 1-0 defeat in a row as Dundee United left Fir Park on Saturday with a Scottish Premiership victory.

Former Motherwell defender Mark Reynolds netted the only goal with the hosts turning in a blunt showing.

"We need to learn how to win the game ugly at times", said Robinson.

"It can't be brilliant football, and the perfect pass and the perfect goal all the time. We looked like we were looking for the perfect goal today, but we didn't even make their goalkeeper work."

Motherwell, who finished third last season, have lost their opening two matches and have now won just one of their past 10 games.

They dominated the first half, but despite having the majority of the ball, failed to test Benjamin Siegrist in the United goal. A glancing header from Allan Campbell was the only real chance for the Lanarkshire side.

United, without talisman Lawrence Shankland, seemed happy to soak up pressure and hit the home side on the break, and Micky Mellon's game plan almost worked perfectly in the first period, with breakaway efforts from midfielder Ian Harkes and winger Bolton narrowly going wide.

They came out with purpose in the second half, and could have taken the lead through Calum Butcher's header, but his glancing effort drifted just wide.

However, the away side did not wait much longer for their breakthrough, as Bolton's low cross evaded the entire Motherwell backline, with Reynolds on hand to fire home the winner at the back post.

Striker Christopher Long squandered a chance to level the game with a close-range header that looped high and wide from five yards.

But apart from that, and White's late header being ruled out for a push, that was about it for the hosts.

United could have doubled their advantage late on with a rocket of a volley from Dillon Powers, but the effort was tipped on to the bar by goalkeeper Trevor Carson.

Man of the match - Mark Reynolds

Mark reynolds
Not only did the captain score the all important winning goal, but he was at the heart of a defence which nullified the Motherwell attack throughout.

What did we learn?

Slow starts in the league are not a new thing for Motherwell under Robinson. In all three of his full seasons in charge, he has failed to win his opening two league games.

However, the worry for Motherwell is this form runs from last season.

The feeling of deja vu will be a bitter pill to swallow for Robinson as well. Like in Dingwall on Monday, Motherwell enjoyed large spells of possession without really hurting the opposition, and this is what the Northern Irishman will be looking to rectify if his side are to come anywhere near replicating the achievements of last term.

As for United, much was made about a lack of maturity in Mellon's team after last weekend's second-half performance against 10-man St Johnstone, but this went a long way to dispelling that notion.

They showed resilience and character to soak up Motherwell pressure and shut out a home side who enjoyed the majority of possession for large spells.

And without last season's 28-goal man Shankland in attack, United were still able to pose a threat on the break, cutting through Motherwell on a number of occasions and capitalising on the home side's slack passing.

Four points from six games is a fantastic start for the Premiership newcomers, and it sets up a tantalising encounter with Hibernian on Tuesday.

What did they say?

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "The players make young naive decisions, and it's up to me to change that very quickly.

"I hope players aren't reading that they are moving here and there, because if they play like that they'll be moving nowhere."

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon: "We knew we were going to get asked a lot of questions and I think the players can take a lot of credit for answering those questions. It's a great result for us.

"Mark Reynolds helps me drive the standard, he's been brilliant since I came in. I was delighted to see him getting his goal today."

What's next?

Motherwell welcome Livingston to Fir Park on Wednesday at 19:45 BST, with both sides looking for their first wins of the season. Dundee United take on an in-form Hibernian at Tannadice on Tuesday at 18:00.

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 1Carson
  • 2Grimshaw
  • 31Gallagher
  • 16Mugabi
  • 4Lamie
  • 11HastieSubstituted forWattat 45'minutes
  • 7O'Hara
  • 6CampbellBooked at 71minsSubstituted forHyltonat 79'minutes
  • 8TurnbullBooked at 78mins
  • 99LongSubstituted forWhiteat 65'minutes
  • 17SeedorfSubstituted forRobinsonat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9White
  • 12Fox
  • 14Hylton
  • 15Maguire
  • 19Polworth
  • 21Robinson
  • 27Johnston
  • 28Hussain
  • 32Watt

Dundee Utd

  • 1Siegrist
  • 2Smith
  • 5Connolly
  • 6Reynolds
  • 17Robson
  • 18Butcher
  • 20BoltonSubstituted forSmithat 60'minutes
  • 23HarkesSubstituted forPowersat 77'minutes
  • 15ChalmersSubstituted forSporleat 73'minutes
  • 8PawlettSubstituted forClarkat 77'minutes
  • 27Appéré

Substitutes

  • 3Sporle
  • 4Powers
  • 10Clark
  • 11Smith
  • 12Edwards
  • 19Mehmet
  • 21Glass
  • 22Freeman
  • 30Neilson
Referee:
Steven McLean

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamDundee Utd
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home18
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away8
Fouls
Home11
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 0, Dundee United 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 0, Dundee United 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ricki Lamie (Motherwell) header from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Declan Gallagher.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Tony Watt.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ricki Lamie (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Turnbull with a cross.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Nicky Clark.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.

  10. Post update

    Jermaine Hylton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Liam Smith (Dundee United).

  12. Post update

    Foul by Jordan White (Motherwell).

  13. Post update

    Jamie Robson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mark O'Hara (Motherwell) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Robinson with a cross.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jamie Robson.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Dillon Powers (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Declan Gallagher.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adrián Sporle (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Robson.

  19. Post update

    Offside, Motherwell. Trevor Carson tries a through ball, but Jordan White is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Tony Watt (Motherwell).

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