Alan Burrows at St Mirren Park
Despite another spirited comeback from the Steelmen, Motherwell slipped to a 2-1 depeat at St Mirren Park this evening.
Saints had roared into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Steven Thompson double before the interval.
Bob McHugh halved the defecit with thirteen minuts to go as McCall’s men dominated the closing stages.
Despite chances, some heroic defending from the hosts kept their lead intact and they held on for all three points.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall made just one change from the side that roared back to beat Hibs at Easter Road six days ago. The experienced Simon Ramsden replaced Adam Cummins in defence, the young Liverpudlian having to settle for a place amongst the substitutes.
The game began at a ferocious pace and even in the early stages; the game looked stretched with both teams trying to counter-attack.
It was the Steelmen who looked a little more composed in possession and Jamaican winger Chris Humphrey created the first opportunity to score after ten minutes.
His penetrating burst into the box bamboozled two Saints defenders, but his shot at goal from 12 yards was deflected for a corner.
The game swing quickly from end to end and it wasn’t long before the Saints came close to scoring.
John McGinn’s corner looped towards the back post where Jim Goodwin was perfectly placed. He slid the ball goalwards, but Keith Lasley did brilliantly well to get back and hook the ball off the line.
Seconds later, Motherwell were back on the offensive and were only denied the lead courtesy of a wonderful save from Samson and the frame of the goal. Nicky Law’s tantalizing cross was met by Michael Higdon, whose goal-bound shot was tipped on to the station of bar and post by the Scotland International stopper.
That chance gave ‘Well confidence and they would go on to enjoy a significant amount of possession as the interval drew near.
Typically, and against the general run of play, Saints took the lead.
Marc McAusland slid the ball down the right flank for Jon Robertson down the right hand side and his bending cross found Thompson, who prodded the ball past Darren Randolph for his seventh of the season.
Barely two minutes had past an, incredibly, St Mirren made it two.
Gary Teale’s deep ball from the right flanked looked as if it was heading out for a goal kick but Thompson got up brilliantly well to nod the ball back across goal, past Randolph for 2-0.
Motherwell would have to come out the blocks quickly in the second half but it was actually Saints who should have made it 3-0 when McGinn got on the end of Lewis Guy’s cut-back, but his side-foot effort was brilliantly turned round by Irish International Randolph.
In an effort to try and salvage something from the match, Stuart McCall introduced Bob McHugh and began to commit more players forward and, with 15 minutes to go, their efforts were rewarded.
Henrik Ojamaa was released down the left and his low cross was hammered into the net via the crossbar by McHugh.
Motherwell then set-up camp in the home half. An astonishing goalmouth scramble in the 81st minute seemed destined to provide a second goal for the Steelmen, but some brave goalkeeping from Samson and committed blocks by the Saints backline ensured the home side’s lead remained intact.
McAusland’s header four minutes before time should have extended his St Mirren’s lead, but for all Motherwell’s late domination, Saints held on for the win.
‘Well now face two home matches in the next week as the battle for the top-six continues apace.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at St Mirren Park
FT: St Mirren 2 -1 Motherwell
90mins: Four minutes added on….
88mins: St Mirren sub, Barron off for Carey
83mins: Ojamaa pulls the ball out the sky in the box. His shot on the turn is tame though.
82mins: St Mirren sub, Van Zanten of for Dummett
80mins: All Motherwell!! Wave after wave of pressure now.
79mins: Motherwell sub, Daley on for Hateley
77mins: McHugh pulls a goal back in off the bar from Ojamaa’s cross. Game on!
73mins: And another chance for McHugh! Races through and on the edge of the box pulls the trigger. Just over!
St Mirren sub, Teale off for Mair.
71mins: Motherwell sub: Francis-Angol on for Hammell
70mins: Chance! McHugh on the end of Humphrey’s cross. His goal-bound shot is deflected over from 8 yards,
69mins: Motherwell sub, Higdon off for McHugh
68mins: Half-chance there from Henrik. Good tricky run but drags his shot just past from 20 yards.
65mins: Much of a sameness here! Very little in the way of threatening attacks from ‘Well. St Mirren look dangerous.
56mins: Good play between McLean and Teale allows the latter time to slot Thompson clean through. Thankfully his pass is wide of the mark.
48mins: Fantastic save from Randolph!! Dives low to his left to deny McGinn from close range.
46mins:McLean runs straight up the park but his effort is well over.
46mins: Second half underway.
HT: Teams back out. Huge performance needed in this 45 from the Steelmen.
HT: St Mirren 2 – 0 Motherwell. Uphill task for Motherwell yet again.
41mins:GOAL – Thompson makes it 2! Rose well at the back post and nods it across goal in off the other post.
38mins: GOAL: Thompson puts St Mirren 1 up.
…but Ramsden was there to block.
36mins: Bit of a let off again there! McLean does well to bring down a superb ball over the top. He drew Randolph wide and cut it back….
33mins: Ojamaa with another crack from range. Not far over though! Long range shooting the story of the game so far,
27mins: Ball falls to Humphrey on the edge of the box. Shoots over the bar though,
25mins: St Mirren with the pressure now. McLean and then Barron see their shots deflected just over.
23mins: Good spell of pressure here! First Ojamaa sees his shot blocked which was heading in then Murphy’s cross is nodded out for a corner.
19mins: St Mirren win a corner and from the delivery, Goodwin’s shot is cleared of the line. A let off!
16mins: Ojamaa shoots from range. High and wide. Not a great game so far.
11mins: St Mirren break and all Thompson has to do is roll the ball across goal to his teammate. Intercepted by Ramsden.
9mins: Humphrey wins the first corner of the game. Set-piece finds Law but his shot is blocked. Another corner to ‘Well.
8mins: Claims from the Saints fans as Randolph appears to handle right on the edge of the box, possibly outside. Waved away,
4mins: MacAusland ventures up front but his 25 yard effort is sky high.
3mins: First half-chance of the game. Teale delivers from out wide but Randolph collects with ease.
1min: St Mirren kick-off. Game on!
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I thought it was great entertainment and a terrific game. They took their chances, two terrific goals from Steven Thompson, a near-post finish and a back-post clinical header.
“I was disappointed to go in at half-time 2-0 down. It was an open game, we had opportunities and hit the woodwork, and failed to hit the target on other opportunities.
“The last 30 minutes was just a siege, they brought big Lee Mair on, brought David van Zanten on. I don’t think they could have brought any more defenders on.
“How we never got an equaliser I’ll never know. But I said to the boys, there are ways to lose games and I certainly want to go down fighting.
“We went right to the last minute, played some really good football and it just wasn’t our night.”
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:
“I must give Stuart McCall and his staff great credit for the way that they play. They are very, very open and very bold at times and they go for things.
“They leave themselves two v two at the back and the last 20 minutes they put us under severe pressure down the flanks with the fantastic pace that they have.
“That was something we had to consolidate. I thought we had a very good 60 minutes in terms of owning the ball and creating. The chances and work rate were exceptional.
“But also we showed a great resilience and a defensive mentality, that we won’t be broken, and we were delighted to get over the line.”