Van Veen hits hat-trick as Motherwell thump Ross County

Kevin van Veen scored a hat-trick as Motherwell ran riot in a 5-0 victory against Ross County at Dingwall.

The Dutchman was ruthless in front of goal, with Callum Slattery and Joe Efford also finding the net for the visitors.

Ross County have now gone six games without a win, with only one victory to their name all campaign.

How Motherwell brushed aside Ross County…

DINGWALL, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 04: Motherwell's Callum Slattery celebrates after making it 2-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Ross County and Motherwell at the Global Energy Stadium, on October 04, 2022, in Dingwall, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Callum Slattery celebrates after making it 2-0 to Motherwell

The Staggies made two changes to the team that was beaten 2-0 by Hibernian on Saturday.

Josh Sims was brought in on the right wing to replace William Akio, with Jordan Tillson back in defence to replace the dropped David Cancola.

Motherwell also made two changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Celtic. Slattery and Efford came in for Barry Maguire and Dean Cornelius who both dropped to the bench.

The visitors had the first chance of the game midway through the first half when Jack Baldwin brought down Van Veen on the edge of the box.

Sean Goss went for power but his shot crashed against the defensive wall in what summed up a quiet first quarter of the match.

Motherwell were awarded a penalty in the 25th minute when Ross Callachan was guilty of bringing down Efford and was booked.

DINGWALL, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 04: Motherwell's Kevin Van Veen celebrates after making it 3-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Ross County and Motherwell at the Global Energy Stadium, on October 04, 2022, in Dingwall, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Van Veen scored a hat-trick for Motherwell

Van Veen kept his composure to slot the penalty past goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw and into the back of the net.

Callachan looked to make amends for his foul and did well to run through the Motherwell defence, charging into the box to find Sims six yards from goal, but the midfielder saw his shot take a deflection and go inches past the left-hand post.

Van Veen should have doubled Motherwell’s advantage at the start of the second half when Connor Shields did well to hold off the Staggies defence and set up the Dutchman but he blasted wide from eight yards.

However, Motherwell went 2-0 up five minutes into the second half. Laidlaw blocked Efford’s shot but the rebound found its way to Slattery and he fired a powerful low drive into the back of the net.

Motherwell's Kevin Van Veen celebrates after making it 1-0 against Ross County
Van Veen is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring the opener

The game was killed off a minute later when Efford’s cross into the box passed through a tired-looking Ross County defence to find Van Veen who scored from close range for his ninth of the season in all competitions.

Motherwell continued to pile on the misery as Efford made it four in the 59th minute. He connected with a cross from the left from Matthew Penney and drilled a thunderous drive into the back of the net from 18 yards.

Van Veen then secured his hat-trick two minutes from time when he burst into the box to connect with a cross from the left and fire home from close range to cap off an excellent night for the visitors.

Tottenham rue missed chances in Frankfurt goalless draw

Tottenham were left to rue a string of wasted chances as they were held to a frenetic 0-0 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, missing the chance to go top of Group D in the Champions League.

Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic said ahead of this game, following on from Spurs’ lacklustre 3-1 defeat to Arsenal: “It is a new day, a new game. We have to react.”

Well, that reaction did not quite come in the shape of three points, although Tottenham certainly improved in their overall play.

However, just a few weeks after dispatching six goals past Leicester in the Premier League, Spurs struggled to find the finishing touch. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, in particular, saw efforts they would usually bury sail wide of the target.

Kane also took a few knocks to his knee in either half and looked to be in some pain shortly after the second, but completed the game – much to the relief of Spurs and England fans alike.

Despite the scoreline, it was an end-to-end encounter, with Eintracht Frankfurt also guilty of wasting chances. Neither side was able to capitalise on Marseille’s 4-1 win against Sporting Lisbon earlier on Tuesday, with the Portuguese team remaining top of the group at the halfway stage.

Tottenham and Frankfurt remain locked on four points ahead of the return leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next Wednesday, with Spurs in second on goal difference.

More to follow…

What’s next?

Tottenham head to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm; kick-off 5.30pm.

Spurs are back in Champions League action on Wednesday October 12 as they welcome Frankfurt to north London for the return fixture; kick-off 8pm.

Alexander-Arnold scores stunner as Liverpool brush Rangers aside

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fabulous free-kick set Liverpool on their way to a confidence-boosting 2-0 Champions League win over Rangers at Anfield.

The full-back’s form has been much discussed but he lit up the night with a wonderful effort to fire Liverpool ahead before Mohamed Salah scored from the spot after Luis Diaz was fouled by Ryan Kent. It only hinted at the total dominance of Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The result maintains Liverpool’s grip on second spot in Champions League Group A at the halfway stage, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side find themselves languishing at the foot of the table without a point or even a goal from their three games so far.

How Liverpool dominated Rangers at Anfield

Klopp’s response to his team’s defensive frailties of late was to remove Fabinho and introduce an additional forward to the starting line-up. Salah was joined by Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez. The best form of defence and all that.

Amid a crackling Anfield atmosphere, that is how it proved as his Liverpool side took the game to Rangers from the outset. Nunez fired off a smart shot. Kostas Tsimikas raided forward well and it was his pass that saw the Uruguayan fouled for the key free-kick.

There was plenty to do but Alexander-Arnold makes those look easy, whipping the ball beyond Allan McGregor with ease. After all the focus on his defensive weaknesses, this was a reminder that he is a player who can do things that other players cannot.

It blew Rangers’ game-plan apart. Confidence had been restored by a healthy victory over Hearts but memories of those heavy defeats to Celtic, Ajax and Napoli would have lingered. Would this team wilt again when up against a higher class of opponent?

Team news

Jurgen Klopp made three changes to the team that drew at home to Brighton as Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota came in for Fabinho, Fabio Carvalho and Roberto Firmino.

Rangers made four changes to the team that put four past Hearts live on Sky Sports. Antonio Colak, who scored twice in that game, dropped out for Alfredo Morelos. Steven Davis, Malik Tillman and the teenager Leon King also came into the team.

They were able to hang in there but the chances kept coming for Liverpool with most of them seeming to fall to Nunez. It has been a moderate start to his Liverpool career since joining from Benfica in the summer but his movement was on point here and he looked a real threat.

What his performance lacked was a goal. Perhaps he should have done better when firing his shot too close to McGregor from the left channel but that galloping stride ensured the next opportunity was never far away. Rangers simply could not cope with him.

It was Diaz instead who opened up the away side to fashion the second, darting between defenders before being brought down by Kent. Salah stepped up to take the penalty and went down the middle when McGregor dived left for his fifth goal of the season.

It was a chastening defeat for Rangers, the gulf illustrated by the fact they did not muster their first shot on target until Antonio Colak tested Alisson inside the final five minutes. For Liverpool, for Alexander-Arnold, it was just the sort of night that was needed.

Analysis: Alexander-Arnold shows his class again

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers
Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Rangers

Even before the ball had been struck, there was a sense around Anfield that this was heading for the corner. Such is the confidence in Alexander-Arnold with time to pick out his spot. It showed his quality and put the focus back on his tremendous talent.

And yet, maybe this is a dance that we are destined to do throughout his career. Liverpool’s dominant display against Rangers did not test Alexander-Arnold defensively and it is on that aspect of the game that the criticism is focused. This told us nothing new.

What it did highlight once more is that this is a special player, one who can win games for one of the best teams in the world from full-back. He might have had an assist too had Virgil van Dijk not glanced his header wide. He left to a standing ovation. It was deserved.

What’s next?

Liverpool travel to Arsenal on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.

Rangers host St Mirren at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

The return fixture between Rangers and Liverpool at Ibrox follows the weekend games on Wednesday October 12; kick-off 8pm.

Cosgrove's injury-time winner keeps Argyle top

Substitute Sam Cosgrove’s stoppage-time winner ensured Plymouth stay top of Sky Bet League One following a 2-1 success over third-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

Cosgrove, who hit the crossbar minutes earlier, made no mistake with a bullet header at the near post to meet Niall Ennis’ cross.

Scottish striker Ryan Hardie put Argyle ahead with a superb third-minute strike on the run after latching onto a Finn Azaz through ball.

The Argyle number nine took the ball in his stride and powered a diagonal strike into the corner past David Stockdale.

The Owls responded, with Tyreeq Bakinson putting Liam Palmer in on goal and his left-foot strike flew past home goalkeeper Michael Cooper after seven minutes.

Stockdale did superbly well to keep out Morgan Whittaker’s goal-bound 37th-minute shot, while Cooper denied Michael Smith at full stretch.

Josh Windass beat Cooper in the 55th minute but his shot come back off a post, while the keeper had to be at his best to keep out a thumping Marvin Johnson strike after 64 minutes.

Both keepers had played superbly, with Cooper acrobatically keeping out a 71st-minute Palmer effort and Stockdale then denying Adam Randle in the next attack, but Cosgrove snatched the points with a last-gasp winner.

Norris bags brace as Stevenage ease into second

Luke Norris scored twice as Stevenage maintained their 100 per cent home record in League Two with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sutton.

The result lifted the Boro up to second in the table, with just goal difference separating them and leaders Leyton Orient after their fifth win in six games.

Dan Sweeney livened up a previously quiet game by opening the scoring for the hosts after 29 minutes when his header from Alex Gilbey’s free-kick found its way into the bottom corner.

The home side then doubled their lead three minutes into the second half as Lewis Ward could only push Danny Rose’s header into the path of Norris, who slammed in the rebound.

It was game over with 20 minutes left when Sutton were caught on the break, with Norris having time to bend in a brilliant shot from just outside the area.

Unfortunately, the game was marred by Norris suffering facial injuries after a high boot by Sutton’s Louis John, whose team-mate Jon Barden later had to be carried off on a stretcher with a nasty-looking ankle injury.

Ipswich leave it late to beat Cambridge 3-0

Ipswich struck three times in the final 18 minutes as super subs Kyle Edwards and Tyreece John-Jules sealed a 3-0 victory over Cambridge.

The Tractor Boys were quickest out of the blocks and a shot by Freddie Ladapo was turned round the post by Cambridge goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov but the effort was ruled offside.

At the other end, Jubril Okedina’s strike went just over the bar and Conor Chaplin’s 25-yard free-kick was fired straight at Mitov.

A free kick for Cambridge resulted in James Brophy’s cross finding Sam Smith, who fired over the bar while Ladapo’s header went past the post.

Leif Davis and Chaplin came close to giving Ipswich the lead but John-Jules struck with his first touch of the game in the 72nd minute when a cross was deflected over Mitov for him to apply the finish.

Edwards’ drifted cross-cum-shot went over the keeper and into the net three minutes later to all-but guarantee the win.

Sam Morsy’s shot was deflected onto a post by Mitov and in the 86th minute John-Jules’ shot was charged down only for Edwards to score and put the seal on the hosts’ victory.

Jephcott gives Swindon win over Newport

Luke Jephcott’s second goal for Swindon saw them beat Newport 1-0 for their fourth win in five games in League Two.

Swindon got off to a bright start and called Nick Townsend into action on a few occasions, notably with a save from Ronan Darcy after a miscued goal kick.

Omar Bogle should have given Newport the lead when Mathieu Baudry’s back pass went straight to him but he shot straight at Sol Brynn.

Townsend almost gifted Swindon the opener as he dropped a high cross he seemed to have under control, but Mickey Demetriou nipped in to clear.

Darcy took aim from range after 51 minutes and Townsend could only parry the shot, with Jephcott on hand to react quickest and tap home.

Jephcott had a prime chance to make it two five minutes later when Jonny Williams picked him out at the back post, but his shot was blocked.

Brynn came to Swindon’s rescue on 65 minutes when a Newport corner was diverted quickly goalwards by Bogle but the keeper tipped it over.

Broom sweeps Cheltenham to back-to-back wins

Ryan Broom’s late strike earned Cheltenham a 1-0 home win over Bolton.

Broom, set up by Dan Nlundulu in the 87th minute, scored his first goal since returning to the club from Peterborough on transfer deadline day.

It sealed a third successive home victory for Wade Elliott’s improving side.

They controlled most of the first half, with Ryan Jackson skewing an effort wide of the near post after Broom’s pass in the 15th minute.

Nlundulu then curled an effort just wide from the edge of the box and Taylor Perry forced James Trafford into a diving save low to his right.

The home side continued to dominate in the second half and only a fine reaction save from Trafford denied Lewis Freestone, who met Perry’s cross with a firm downward header in the 67th minute.

Bolton had threatened for the first time when Ricardo Santos headed over from a Jack Iredale corner in the 63rd minute, but they failed to register a shot on target.

Sunderland and Blackpool draw a blank

Sunderland and Blackpool played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light as the home side missed the chance to climb back into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.

The strikerless Black Cats drew a blank for the second home game in a row, while Blackpool ended a three-match losing run.

Sunderland took the game to the Tangerines from the off and provided them with an early scare when Jack Clarke’s driving run from the left created space for Elliot Embleton inside the box – his bending shot on the turn clipped the top of the crossbar.

Michael Appleton’s Blackpool hit back when Gary Madine nodded down from a long free-kick into the box. Callum Connolly controlled and got a shot away but the ball whizzed agonisingly wide of the post.

Just before the half hour mark, Sunderland resumed dominance of the game and after a sustained spell of pressure, Chris Maxwell produced a strong save from Clarke’s bending 25-yard effort – palming the ball around the post.

Blackpool continued to stave off the threat of the home side by putting their bodies on the line as Jordan Thorniley blocked successive shots from Amad Diallo and Patrick Roberts just inside the box.

Tony Mowbray’s men ended the half with further chances they could not put away as Alex Pritchard bent his free-kick from the edge of the box over the bar whilst Clarke’s darting run and bending effort was deflected over the bar in stoppage time.

Blackpool threatened twice from set pieces in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Connolly’s header was palmed away by Patterson before the Sunderland keeper was called into action again to claw Callum Wright’s glancing header away from goal.

Moments before the hour mark, Jerry Yates swung a wayward cross from the right which forced Patterson into a save as he tipped the ball over the bar.

Tensions rose on Wearside as Blackpool received a succession of bookings for bringing down Roberts on the counter-attack. However, Embleton could not make the most of the set piece as he bent his shot over the bar, further frustrating the home crowd.

Defender Danny Batth held off a flurry of markers from a corner to head on target from a corner but Maxwell was equal to the danger and held on to the ball.

Blackpool were inches away from breaking the deadlock 10 minutes from time with Connolly’s third header of the game crawling just wide of the post from a high cross.

In stoppage time, Maxwell produced an incredible save to keep the game level. Jewison Bennette dinked a cross into the box and Clarke’s goalbound header was clawed away – but there was to be no breakthrough.

MacAdam's goal enough to see Fleetwood past Burton

Harvey MacAdam’s goal sealed a second successive away league win for Fleetwood as they took the points from a tight encounter with Burton.

Victory for Scott Brown’s side lifted them into the top half of the League One table as they bounced back from Saturday’s late home defeat to Barnsley.

The home side started brightly, looking to build on Saturday’s first home win of the season against Forest Green and Davis Keillor-Dunn twice tested Town keeper Jay Lynch while Burton skipper John Brayford rattled the crossbar with a close-range header.

Keillor-Dunn also had strong shouts for a penalty turned away when he was brought down in the area by a combination of Lewis Warrington and Toto Nsiala.

Fleetwood weathered the early pressure and found their feet with Shaun Rooney and Admiral Muskwe both failing to find the target before MacAdam finished confidently from the right-hand side of the box.

Substitute Callum Morton twice failed to put Fleetwood two to the good in the second half, firstly forcing a good stop from Ben Garratt at close range before racing through and round the Burton keeper only to fire wide of an open goal.