Albion Rovers - 24h on
For the second successive season Motherwell's involvement in cup competitions has ended shamefully early. Saturday's defeat will rank as one of the worst in the club's history and the financial implications of the debacle will cause further damage.
The game itself was an uninspiring spectacle with the probability of a calamity rising as the tedious minutes passed. It was clear after the first fifteen minutes that there was going to be no walkover. Despite the huge disparity in league standing it appeared that Motherwell lacked the ability to penetrate the Rovers defence. Our probing on both flanks resulted in crosses that gave defenders little trouble.Errrrr... shouldn't we have named 7 substitutes?
We managed only one clear cut attempt on target when Sutton headed a corner at the ‘keeper in the second half. This against a side 37 places below us in the SPFL! As the afternoon unfolded there was a reluctant acceptance among the 2,600 Motherwell fans that a replay looked inevitable. Our misplaced passes and futile punts into the box were causing little discomfort to the Rovers. As the game drew to a close we knew that the concession of a corner or a free kick would cause a panic in our box but the Rovers did not have to wait for a set piece. They scored from open play and few could grudge them the celebrations that followed.A costly smoke?
It was an hour after the final whistle before Stuart McCall arrived in the Douglas Park media room to offer some explanation of the loss. “It didn’t go wrong for lack of preparation or lack of fight – just lack of quality. Our possession was woeful and we couldn’t break them down. To create as little was hugely disappointing and I take full responsibility. The fans have a right to have a go, it’s an embarrassing result. It’ll be a long week.”
The fallout from the defeat will be felt over the weeks and months ahead. When others play in the next round of the League Cup or Scottish Cup we’ll be spectators. The lack of ticket sales or TV income will seriously hamper our ability to deal in the winter transfer window and make it more likely that we’ll have to accept whatever offers might be made for our players.Happy Rovers!
Leanne Dempster made it very clear last season that the early exits from cup competitions were the difference between break even and loss. There can be little doubt that we’ll be in the red again this season. The prospect of an SFA fine following the release of several smoke flares will simply add to the depression.
The ‘Well Society AGM is on Monday 9 December and it’s likely to be an unhappy affair. The Society’s limited financial buffer will be under threat and the fans’ appetite to dig deep will be blunted by this setback.
There were a few youngsters upset after the game as their cup dreams were unexpectedly shattered. Fans of a certain age were quick to offer words of comfort but they also pointed out that there would be many more in a lifetime spent following Motherwell.
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