Motherwell lost by the odd goal in five in what was a thoroughly entertaining contest at Tannadice this evening.
The Steelmen got their noses in front through Josh Law, before Scott Lochhead drew the hosts level. Ola Adeyemo put United in front from the penalty spot before Craig Moore scored his first goal in six months to level things up again.
However, Adeyemo would have the final say, netting late on to hand Dave Bowman’s men the win.
Motherwell made a bright start and Dom Thomas was first to test Michal Szromnik after nine minute, a low shot forcing the Polish stopper to turn around. Shortly after, Thomas turned provider for Moore, but his skidding effort from 30 yards dropped just wide of the post.
The hosts eventually settled into the game and started to create themselves.
Charlie Telfer shot over, Gary Mackay-Steven saw a low shot blocked by Chris Cadden before Adeyemo brought Ross Stewart into action for this time, his low shot having to be turned away by the Steelmen stopper at his near post.
However, it would be Motherwell who would take the lead just before the half hour.
Paul Lawson did well to win the ball deep in United territory; Moore, Law and McHugh all combined in a lovely triangle, with Moore eventually hooking it back across goal for Law to head home past Szromnik from close range. A fantastic team goal!
The joy was fairly short-lived though as with their next attack, United drew level.
‘Well will be disappointed given they had three separate opportunities to get it up the park, but when Thomas’ hooked clearance landed at the feet of Scott Lochhead, he smashed through Stewart from 25-yards.
Both teams had half-chances to get back in front before the break; Thomas curled a shot inches wide of the post before Mackay-Steven drilled a left-footed effort wide of target.
Into the second half and the home club had two quickfire chances to take the lead, both of them falling to Telfer. The first, a low shot, forced Stewart to block but when it eventually arrived back at the player some thirty seconds later, he smashed it high over the bar.
Motherwell responded with a low shot from McHugh that was well held by Szromnik in the home goal.
United continued to look a threat and Adeyemo almost got on the scoresheet, only to see his close range effort well blocked by David Ferguson. From the resulting corner, Keith Watson got up well to header, but it was way off target.
However, shortly after the hour, United did get in front and it was Adeyemo who made and scored the goal.
The 19-year old former UCD player latched on to a neat through ball to get on the wrong side of Morgyn Neill before being clipped by the defender. The referee pointed to the spot, and Adeyemo dusted himself down to coolly finish.
‘Well went immediately in search of a leveller, and only a goal-saving tackle from Watson denied McHugh an instant reply, the striker almost getting on the end of a teasing Moore cross.
Lawson forced a couple of corners before Johansson’s men eventually did get an equaliser they deserved.
After McMillan’s block, Law drove forward from the middle of the park, pulling defenders towards him, before slipping Moore in on the left channel. The striker raced in on Szromnik before delicately lifting it over the Pole and into the net via the base of the post.
Two minutes later and McHugh almost made it three-two for the Claret and Amber men – latching on to Carswell’s neat pass but his low shot was again well saved by Szromnik at the second attempt.
Play swung from end to end as both teams plugged away for a winner.
Adeyemo passed up a great chance when he blazed a Mackay-Steven cutback over the bar, before eventually scoring the decisive third just nine minutes from time.
Once again ‘Well will be frustrated, given the goal came from a simple set piece.
Feguson inadvertently flicked a searching corner on to the striker, who was lurking at the far post. He got it under control before eventually lashing it past the outrushing Stewart.
To their credit, the Fir Parkers refused to be beat and created a plethora of chances in the closing stages.
Lawson hit a free-kick that almost bounced straight into the net, Thomas shot wide and McMillan curled a shot over as United held on. Young full-back McMillan also hit a stinging right-footed effort that forced Szromnik to tip away at full stretch.
Then, as stoppage time approach, substitute Steven Higgins, who was introduced in place of Bob McHugh, shot over, as did Lawson, he slid to get on the end of a low Carswell square ball.
It eventually ended 3-2 for United, but ‘Well can be proud of their night’s work and no doubt deserved a point for their efforts.
Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden, McMillan, Ferguson, Neill, Lawson, Law, Carswell, McHugh (Higgins – 73mins), Moore, Thomas
Subs Not Used: Currie, Hall, McNulty, MacLean, Anderson