Trevor Carson was 10-man Motherwell’s shootout hero as a hat-trick of saves cleaved out a nerve-wracking win over Coleraine in Europa League qualifying.
The Northern Ireland goalkeeper denied Ian Parkhill, Lyndon Kane and Gareth McConaghie.
Callum Lang and Tony Watt had the visitors in control before Ben Doherty’s double, coupled with Bevis Mugabi’s red card, turned the game.
But Carson’s saves earned a date away to Hapoel Be’er Sheva in round three.
Mark O’Hara, Tony Watt and Stephen O’Donnell all netted from the spot for the Scottish Premiership side.
The Showgrounds’ name perhaps did not accurately reflect the quality of the Coleraine pitch, as both sides struggled on an uneven and heavy surface.
It was Motherwell who settled better, with O’Donnell missing a glorious chance to put them ahead from close-range inside six minutes.
Coleraine, who knocked Maribor out on penalties in the previous round, will feel that they should have taken the lead, however, as James McLaughlin put a free header wide of Carson’s goal. Less than a minute later, they were behind.
A cross from the left-hand side was kept alive by Watt’s physicality, with the ball eventually falling to Lang. He swivelled and forced a great save from Gareth Deane, but the forward was on hand to poke in the rebound.
Watt then doubled the visitors’ lead before half-time. Lang drilled a cross at Liam Polworth, whose touch fell into Watt’s path, and he drilled the ball low into the back of the net.
But Coleraine came out for the second-half full of energy and won an early penalty after O’Hara was adjudged to have brought down Doherty in the box. He then stepped up himself to bury the penalty past Carson.
Motherwell’s response was lacking, and Coleraine thought they had equalised as McConaghie wheeled away in celebration after turning in Josh Carson’s pass at the back post, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside.
Stephen Lowry then flicked a glorious chance over the bar as Oran Kearney’s side pushed for an equaliser, and the Scottish side looked like they would be able to hold out. But substitute Eoin Bradley was soon tumbled by Mugabi. Contact looked minimal but referee Antti Munukka pointed to the spot and ordered the Motherwell centre-half off.
Doherty stepped up once again and finished well to send the tie to extra-time.
The hosts came closest to scoring in the extra 30 minutes with O’Hara’s goal-line clearance needed to halt Bradley’s header.
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But with the momentum firmly against them, Motherwell kept their nerve in the penalty shootout as O’Donnell, Watt and O’Hara slotted past Deane, while Carson’s special hat-trick secured the Scots’ passage to Israel.
Man of the match – Trevor Carson
Next up for Motherwell is a trip to fellow European victors Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, while Coleraine’s domestic season is yet to start.
- 18TraynorSubstituted forParkhillat 74′minutes
- 21NixonSubstituted forBradleyat 52′minutes
- 9McLaughlinSubstituted forAllenat 117′minutes
- 11CarsonBooked at 75mins
- 6JarvisSubstituted forGlackinat 8′minutes
- 5McGinleySubstituted forSeedorfat 65′minutes
- 7O’HaraBooked at 49mins
- 4LamieBooked at 84mins
- 16MugabiBooked at 89mins
- 29LangBooked at 71minsSubstituted forHastieat 87′minutes
- 6CampbellSubstituted forLongat 91′minutes
- 19PolworthSubstituted forMaguireat 87′minutes