There was heartache for manager Stephen Craigan and his Motherwell Colts players as they went down to a last gasp 3-2 defeat to Crusaders in Northern Ireland on Saturday.
The 92nd minute strike put ’Well’s kids out of the Irn Bru Cup at the second round stage in Belfast, following their fine 2-1 victory over Queen’s Park in the previous round.
New Motherwell signing George Newell looked lively early on, having a shot saved by ex-Burnley keeper Brian Jensen before Newell was denied what looked a clear penalty after being pushed in the box.
Captain Davie Turnbull shot wide from a Liam Brown corner before the Steelmen’s Adam Livingstone sent a curling shot over the bar.
Crusaders hit back and Billy Joe Burns forced a fine save from keeper Morrison, who then recovered from spilling the ball to gather from Jamie Glackin who looked set to score.
Two minutes later though, the breakthrough arrived. A good cross from marauding full-back Burns was nodded beyond Morrison by Philip Lowry.
A speculative effort from Michael Carvill came crashing back off the crossbar only to fall kindly for Lowry, who rattled the crossbar again from four yards with what was the last real chance of the half.
Turnbull levelled for the visitors at Seaview when he tapped home after brilliant wing play from Livingstone.
And Motherwell then went 2-1 up when Turnbull lifted the ball over Sean Ward before sliding a perfectly weighted ball for Newell, who pealed off his marker before side-footing first time beyond Jensen.
But Burns was to sicken the ’Well kids with two late strikes.
The fullback firstly curled a long range free-kick into the top corner before nodding low into the net from close range after a lofted ball by Owens.
Boss Craigan said: “It’s hard to take and the young boys are absolutely distraught in there.
“We should have seen the game outbut we’re here for learning purposes.”