Motherwell boss Graham Alexander praises his side for bouncing back from derby day defeat

Motherwell are through to the last 16 of the Premier Sports Cup after beating Annan Athletic 2-0 at the weekend and will face Dundee away next time round.

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Tony Watt in action for Motherwell against Annan Athletic
Tony Watt in action for Motherwell against Annan Athletic

That second-round tie will be played at Dens Park in mid-August, with a date and kick-off time yet to be confirmed.

’Well manager Graham Alexander said he was pleased by the performance put on by his team on Saturday against their League Two visitors, describing it as just the reaction he was after following their 2-0 derby defeat by Airdrie three days earlier.

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“That was the exact response we were looking for,” the 49-year-old told the club’s website.

Motherwell and Annan vying for possession at the weekend

“As for the actual performance, we won the game, we had lots of chances and we kept a clean sheet, thanks to Liam Kelly with his penalty save.

“Apart from a couple of moments we have to brush up on, we did OK.

“When we speeded the game up in the second half, we were better. We were a little bit slow in our build-up in the first half, but we have to give credit to Annan. They filled in the spaces. They dropped deep at times. They dropped into a back six and it was difficult to break them down, but our speed of play didn’t help that either.

“In the second half, our speed of play was much better, and we took advantage of the spaces that created.

Justin Amaluzor being congratulated on scoring after making his first Motherwell start (All photos: Ian McFadyen)

“We know we’ve got good, honest players. They felt disappointed as much as anyone on Wednesday night.

“These lads, they care about their jobs. We’re human – we let ourselves down from time to time, but they wanted to put it right and they did that. It’s what I expected because I’m beginning to know them better each time and I feel they got what they deserved today. It was a good win and put us on top of the group and through to the next round.”

It was a debut goal from Justin Amaluzor as half-time loomed and a follow-up early in the second half from Barry Maguire that got the Steelmen through, but a penalty save by Liam Kelly was crucial in snuffing out any hope of a comeback by the visitors.

That spot kick came after Jake Carroll was adjudged to have pulled down a man in the box, but Owen Moxon wasn’t able to capitalise.

Motherwell securing progression in the Premier Sports Cup at the weekend
Justin Amaluzor scoring on his first Motherwell start
A tussle for the ball during Saturday's 2-0 win
Motherwell boss Graham Alexander observing proceedings at the weekend