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Kevin Van Veen’s second-half penalty enough as Motherwell edge Ross County win

Kevin Van Veen won the match for Motherwell (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Kevin Van Veen won the match for Motherwell (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Motherwell moved one step closer to European qualification with a 1–0 cinch Premiership win over Ross County in Dingwall.

Sights of goal were few and far between for both sides, but Kevin Van Veen’s 68th-minute penalty proved to be the difference.

Ross County saw a mostly-unchanged side bolstered by the return of Jack Baldwin to the starting XI, who was free to play again after suspension, and he took the spot of Keith Watson.

Graham Alexander made three changes to his starting line-up, with Stephen O’Donnell, Liam Donnelly and Joe Efford coming into the side.

Bevis Mugabi and Kevin Woolery were left out of the squad altogether and Callum Slattery dropped to the bench, where he sat alongside the returning Van Veen.

With Motherwell having only won one league match in 2022 going into the game, it was perhaps no surprise that County looked the more confident of the two teams early on.

Regan Charles-Cook, Jake Vokins and David Cancola all had efforts on goal in the opening 10 minutes, but none of them could trouble Liam Kelly enough to open the scoring.

By and large, that was the story of the first half, with neither goalkeeper overly troubles before the interval.

Kelly was the busier of the two stoppers, though, with Motherwell having to wait until the half-hour mark before Mark O’Hara fired the ball wide, followed up by Efford forcing a save out of Ross Laidlaw and Connor Shields going close with a header.

Really, it was after the hour had passed that either side came close to breaking the deadlock.

Keith Watson cut the ball back to Blair Spittal on the edge of the box, but his powerful shot was just too close to Kelly, who was able to make the save.

Moments later, though, County were behind. Alex Iacovitti fouled Van Veen inside his own penalty area, and the Dutchman dispatched the resultant spot-kick home to send Motherwell in front.

Ross County tried to push forward and respond, but they struggled to test Kelly again until stoppage-time.

Joseph Hungbo cut inside on his left foot and sent a tantalising cross in towards the back post that looked to be creeping in until Kelly dove to his right to tip the ball around the post, securing all three points for the visitors.

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