Edinburgh City blown away by Motherwell in nightmare first half

Elliott Frear bagged a hat-trick for Motherwell
Elliott Frear bagged a hat-trick for Motherwell
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The gulf in class between Edinburgh City and Premiership opponents Motherwell was evident from the start as five first-half goals ensured a 5-0 win for the Steelmen in this Betfred Cup Group G fixture.

A first half, 27-minute hat-trick from Elliott Frear did most of the damage, while additional strikes from Richard Tait and Curtis Main did not make for an enjoyable first 45 for City.

City did try and knock the ball about, and looked good doing so at times, but were unable to lay a glove on the home side.

City boss James McDonaugh made one change from the team that claimed a bonus point on penalties against Clyde at the weekend. Captain Josh Walker dropped out with Keiran Stewart replacing him. Craig Thomson took on the armband in Walker’s absence.

Despite a positive first couple of minutes or so, City were behind before ten minutes had elapsed. Chris Cadden faced up Robbie McIntyre on the right and dropped a shoulder to go by him before sending a low ball to the back post where Frear was on hand to turn into the roof of the empty net.

The advantage was doubled on 18 minutes through Tait. City lost possession deep in their own half and the Well skipper took full advantage, taking a touch before sending a left-foot daisy-cutter low past Antell at his near post from around 20 yards.

Tait clearly fancied himself on his left peg after that and struck another ball that fell to him on the edge of the area, but was well away from troubling Antell.

The third goal arrived shortly after, however. City failed to clear their lines from Main’s free-kick, the ball eventually breaking to Frear 18 yards out, who found the top corner with precision.

Cadden was next to try and get in on the act, again after City were careless with possession, but his curler over Antell clipped the top of the crossbar before going over.

Andy Rose somehow failed to make it four before half an hour was out. He took the ball in the area brilliantly but managed to allow Antell to get something on his shot from the middle of the goals just yards out.

A horribly difficult first half for City got worse when Frear claimed his treble. A reverse pass from Cadden played him in on the angle of the box, and he placed a smart finish across Antell in to the far corner.

Almost every mistake City made was being punished, and Antell needed a strong hand to tip over a powerful effort from Main at the near post.

There was a different outcome when the big No.9 tried again on the stroke of half-time. His left-foot strike from distance wasn’t tame, but was straight at Antell, who let it go straight through him and in for 5-0.

The second half was pretty much a non-event. On-loan Hearts striker Conor Sammon came on for his Motherwell debut while the 58 travelling City fans received a round of applause that was richly deserved after the first half that was inflicted upon them.

City did manage an effort on goal when some good link-up play between Keiran Stewart, Allan Smith and Graham Taylor afforded Stewart a sight of goal, but the former Berwick man’s strike was too high to test Mark Gillespie.

Smith then did well to hit the byline and drive across goal, but there was no-one on hand from a tired City team to net themselves a simple consolation.

City boss McDonaugh said afterwards: “You’ve got to take your medicine. It’s a sore one but it’s probably the first time we’ve been delighted to get beat 5-0. You get in at half-time and are thinking it could be anything. Motherwell were at it, their tempo was good, they were sharp and you could see what a great job the manager’s done here anyway. Two cup finals last year so we knew were were coming in to a difficult game.

“I don’t think we disgraced ourselves. At times we knocked the ball about a bit but obviously didn’t create enough. There were times when their manager was saying we played some good stuff so it’s just trying to do that in the right areas at the right times.”

Motherwell: Gillespie, Tait, McHugh, Cadden (Rodriguez Gorrin 46), Campbell, Main (Johnson 67), Frear, Bowman (Sammon 63), Rose, Dunne, Donnelly.

Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird, Henderson (Rodger 46), Handling (Smith 61), Taylor (Hall 84), Donaldson, Stewart.

Referee: Gavin Duncan