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GRINSHAW; Boss Alexander full of praise for Well's returning goal hero.

Byline: IAIN COLLIN AT ALMONDVALE

LIVINGSTON................................1 MOTHERWELL...........................2

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander heaped praise on match-winner Liam Grimshaw after he bagged his first-ever senior goal to seal a dramatic victory.

The former Manchester United trainee has only just returned from a nightmare seven-month spell out that saw him floored by glandular fever.

The 26-year-old was making only his second appearance since January but was the Fir Park side's unlikely hero as they completed a second-half comeback with just 11 minutes left.

Alan Forrest's second goal in the space of a week had put Livingston in the driving seat before half-time.

Tony Watt dragged Well back level just two minutes after the restart and Grimshaw's close-range strike in 79 minutes earned the Steelmen a first Premiership win of the campaign.

Alexander said: "The goal meant everything to us all. You could see the way the boys celebrated with him on the pitch. They're all over him in the dressing room.

"He's a fantastic lad. We thought it would be his type of game and we needed his energy and bite.

"I'll be honest, we didn't expect him to come up with the winner!

"But he made a great run into the box off the blindside of his opponent and he gets his luck by getting into the right area. Everyone loves him. It's a great day for him.

"If we can get him three inches from the goal week in week out, he might have a chance to score more!"

Motherwell made four changes after their Premier Sports Cup defeat to Dundee last weekend and began on top. Mark O'Hara chested down and volleyed wide after just eight minutes as they flew out of the traps.

Livingston were under pressure but were left cursing the linesman's flag in the 17th minute when Ayo Obileye's goal was ruled out for an earlier foul by Craig Sibbald.

They recovered from that blow to take the lead just seven minutes from the interval.

Skipper Nicky Devlin fired a long ball forward for Bruce Anderson and he was allowed to move unchecked across the edge of the box.

He found Forrest and the winger shifted the ball on to his left and drilled a pinpoint shot past former Livingston keeper Liam Kelly.

But, within three minutes of the restart, Motherwell had hauled themselves level.

Juhani Ojala rose to knock down a corner from the right and Watt nodded into the net off the post. Well were then incensed midway through the half. Watt lofted a ball through the middle and keeper Max Stryjek collided with Sean Kelly before seeming to land heavily on the substitute.

J Justin Amaluzor looked set to knock the loose ball into the unguarded net only for referee Craig Napier to call a halt to play.

There was further confusion when he then restarted play with a Livi free-kick.

Alexander said: "At the time I was frustrated but I can understand the referee making the decision because player safety is very important.

"I'm saying this because we won the game. It could have been different!"

Devlin should have put Livi back in front but he fired over from 12 yards.

That was costly as Well struck just three minutes later. Watt drilled in a low shot that Stryjek clawed away but Grimshaw buried the rebound.

THE STATS | teams

LIVINGSTON: Stryjek 7, Devlin 6, Obileye 5 (Hamilton 84, 3), Fitzwater 6, Longridge 6, Holt 6, Sibbald 4 (Shinnie 32, 6), Bailey 5 (Kelly 60, 4), Pittman 5, Forrest 6, Anderson 6.

MOTHERWELL: Kelly 6, Mugabi 5, Ojala 6, Lamie 5, Carroll 6, Grimshaw 7, Slattery 6, O'Hara 7, Amaluzor 6 (McGinley 84, 3), Watt 7, Woolery 6 (O'Connor 90, 2).

livingston motherwell 63 394 37698 | ANALYSIS POSSESSION SHOTS ON SHOTS OFF CORNERS FOULS BOOKINGS RED CARDS | | MAN OF THE MATCH 14 10 1210

LIAM GRIMSHAW ridded himself of nearly eight months of frustration to be a key figure in the Well midfield in both defence and attack, even before he turned in the winner.

CAPTION(S):

GRIM REAPER Liam nets winner then (below) he shows his delight
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:IAIN COLLIN AT ALMONDVALE
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 22, 2021
Words:686
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