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Motherwell survive cup scare with last-minute extra-time winner
Liam Donnelly added to Kevin Van Veen’s equaliser after Championship Morton threatened an upset.
Liam Donnelly’s late extra-time strike sealed a dramatic Scottish Cup comeback for Motherwell as they came from behind to defeat Championship side Morton.
The two sides could not be separated after a closely contested 90 minutes and another half-hour was required to find a winner.
Morton broke the deadlock with the last kick of the first period of extra time as Robbie Muirhead’s curling effort nestled into the far corner but the Steelmen showed their Premiership class to complete a dramatic late turnaround in North Lanarkshire.
Top scorer Kevin Van Veen dispatched from 12 yards to pull Motherwell level in the 109th minute before Donnelly’s last-gasp stunner lifted the roof off Fir Park and sealed a place in last 16 for Graham Alexander’s side.
Well’s Connor Shields had the first chance of the game in the 10th minute as he raced down the line on the break, with his goalbound effort forcing Jack Hamilton into a tremendous save.
Motherwell enjoyed the bulk of possession but struggled to create any clear chances in the first half. Barry Maguire’s low drive from the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by Hamilton in the 23rd minute before Jordan Roberts’ venomous strike went narrowly wide.
Morton’s first chance came on the stroke of half-time when Lewis Strapp’s long throw evaded everyone at the near post and fell to Gavin Reilly, who adjusted his body well 12 yards out to hit a fierce half-volley that was beaten away by Motherwell goalkeeper Liam Kelly.
The second half was a cagey affair with chances few and far between, although Shields should have done better from a Stephen O’Donnell cross as he headed straight at the Ton goalkeeper from close range.
Alexander turned to Van Veen for inspiration as he came on to replace Kaiyne Woolery and within minutes of coming on, he stung the palms of Hamilton after dancing between Morton defenders on the edge of the box.
Van Veen missed a gilt-edged late chance to win it in normal time as he found himself through one-on-one. Hamilton was once again equal to the task as he made another sublime save to send the tie to extra time.
The Championship side took a shock lead as substitute Muirhead cut in from the left and his curling effort nestled into the far corner beyond Kelly.
Morton looked on course to pick up their first win at Fir Park since 1922, but Motherwell were awarded a spot-kick in the 109th minute after debutant Ross Tierney was pushed over inside the box by Michael Ledger and Van Veen’s emphatic penalty flew past Hamilton.
The game looked destined for a penalty shoot-out until Donnelly’s vicious strike in the dying embers from the edge of the box flew into the roof of the net to earn the Premiership side a last-16 spot.