Motherwell continued their pre-season friendly campaign with a deserved 2-0 victory at Scottish Championship outfit Livingston on Saturday.
Fine second half goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Luke Watt earned the spoils for ’Well, in a low key contest littered with substitutions.
“I’m pleased with the way we’ve come on from the last three games,” said Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough afterwards.
“We knew that today would be a step up for us. It needed to be and we’re getting there.
“I’m happy with the players who’ve come in, the way they’ve adapted to our style of play and the demands that we ask for them.
“We are not where we want to be yet. There is definite room for improvement but we’re really happy with the progression.”
’Well – fielding new boys Kieran Kennedy and Wes Fletcher – had their first opportunity after six minutes when Fletcher’s left foot volley went over the bar after good work on the left by Stevie Hammell and Marvin Johnson.
Livi’s Jordan White shot wide at the other end before ’Well responded four minutes later with fine individual skill by the impressive Ainsworth before the winger shot just wide from 20 yards.
’Well keeper Dan Twardzik saved a Myles Hippolyte shot on 25 minutes before ’Well’s best move of the half 10 minutes later. Terrific play by Johnson set up Stephen Pearson down the left flank and his driven cross fizzed across the goal with no takers in black shirts to tuck it home.
Livingston created their best scoring chance on the hour mark when Hippolyte’s close range shot was deflected for a corner.
But Motherwell broke away quickly to the other end where substitute David Clarkson’s floated diagonal ball to AINSWORTH sent the winger clear to shoot impressively into the corner with his left foot.
Ainsworth caused the Livi defence problems with a run down the right wing seven minutes later, before ’Well youngster LUKE WATT wrapped up the win by brilliantly shooting home from a tight angle on 75 minutes.
Sub Louis Moult headed against the bar as the visitors nearly extended their lead, before the game’s only booking arrived when fellow replacement McManus committed an obvious foul.
Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Longridge, Gordon, Sives, Trialist, Gibbons, White, Mullen, Pittman, Hippolyte.
Motherwell: Twardzik, Watt, Hammell, Laing, Kennedy, Ainsworth, Johnson, Moore, Pearson, Lasley, Fletcher.