Gavin McCafferty Fir Park
A late, late Ross County leveller denied Motherwell all three points at Fir Park this afternoon.
Two goals in six second-half minutes from John Sutton and Henrik Ojamaa cancelled out Tony Dingwall’s first half opener as the Steelmen edged towards a five-point gap over the bottom side.
However, Dingwall fired home from 14 yards exactly three minutes into injury time to seal a 2-2 draw and deny Motherwell a hat-trick of positive news after the ownership and manager announcements in the last 24 hours.
The club had announced on Friday night that a deal in principle had been agreed for Lanarkshire-born businessman Les Hutchison to complete a takeover in the coming weeks in a partnership with the Well Society fans group.
The club also announced Ian Baraclough as the new manager, and he watched from the stand as Kenny Black brought his caretaker stint to an end. There was little between the sides in the first half, with neither able to find the creativity needed to translate possession into chances.
Sutton flashed an early header wide for the hosts following a good break and cross from Ojamaa and the striker had another decent effort when he turned and shot just inside the box, but Antonio Reguero comfortably saved.
County’s movement was slightly superior to Motherwell’s and the home defence, missing the injured Craig Reid, Fraser Kerr and Steven Hammell and suspended Simon Ramsden, were occasionally looking stretched.
And it was disorganisation at the back that saw them concede a goal on the stroke of half-time. Zaine Francis-Angol was drawn into the middle when opposing left-back Jamie Reckord floated a cross to the back post, leaving Dingwall free.
The winger fired a powerful strike that was well stopped by Dan Twardzik but he still had the time to control the rebound and fire a low shot into the far corner.
County could have put the game to bed in the opening stages of the second half as they continued to make space inside the Motherwell half. Jake Jervis and Graham Carey fired just wide from long range and Twardzik spilled a shot from distance from Dingwall, with Mark O’Brien perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Jervis from the follow-up.
Paul Quinn then missed an open goal after Twardzik had parried a Jervis volley. County soon paid the price in the 53rd minute. Ojamaa got the ball out wide for Lionel Ainsworth – a half-time replacement for pre-match injury doubt Iain Vigurs – and the winger crossed over Reguero for Sutton to head home from close range.
Motherwell soon went ahead when Ojamaa raced on to Josh Law’s flick and fired a low shot into the corner from 18 yards.
Going ahead appeared to have a negative affect on the time though, and the team looked both tense and nervous. As they got deeper and deeper, it invited County onto them.
Twardzik and Stuart Carswell combined to stop County sub Michael Gardyne converting from close range following a corner, and the goalkeeper saved Jackson Irvine’s looping header as the visitors pressed.
That did leave gaps at the back and Ainsworth fired just wide after running from his own half.
Gardyne looked set to level in the 85th minute when a cross fell for him on the edge of the six-yard box but he hit the post and Motherwell looked to have survived the late pressure until Dingwall arrowed a first-time finish into the corner following a lay-off with the last kick of the ball.
It was a real sting in the tail for the Steelmen, but few who watched the game could argue the Dingwall club didn’t deserve a point from the match. A draw, on reflection, was probably just about right.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 2 – 2 Ross County #MFCvRCFC
93mins: Goal! – Incredibly, Ross County equalise, Dingwall again. 2-2
91mins: Motherwell sub, Ojamaa makes way for Cadden #MFCvRCFC
90mins: There will be three minutes added on #MFCvRCFC
87mins: Motherwell sub: Erwin on for Law #MFCvRCFC
84mins: Gardyne hits the post! Arquin nods it down, he got a toe to it and beat Twardzik but sees it come back off the post #MFCvRCFC
81mins: Corner to County, bit of pingball before finding the head of Irvine whose looping header is clutched to safety by Twardzik #MFCvRCFC
71mins: Another ‘Well breakaway, this time Ojamaa combines with Ainsworth, the latter being inches away from his cross #MFCvRCFC
66mins: County corner creates a scramble in the box but thankfully it is swept away to safety by Sutton! #MFCvRCFC
65mins: Quick counter attack creates a decent chance for Ainsworth who drags his shot inches past the post #MFCvRCFC
63mins: Another County sub, Jervis off for Gardyne #MFCvRCFC
61mins: Ross County sub, Cardle on for Carey #MFCvRCFC
59mins: It’s 2-1! Ojamaa takes it on himself, drives forward and fires low past Reguero!!! COYW!
Sutton appeared to have picked up a head knock but is back on with the head bandage on.#MFCvRCFC
It’s 1-1! Ainsworth clips a lovely ball to the back post which SUTTON nods home with ease. Come on ‘Well!! #MFCvRCFC
50mins: Glaring chance for Quinn as he follows in a Jervis shot. Should burst the net but fires well over.#MFCvRCFC
49mins: County break away and with options either side, Dingwall opts to shoot. Bounces just in front of Twardzik who does eventually clears
And theres a half time sub, Ainsworth on for Vigurs #MFCvRCFC
Second half is underway #MFCvRCFC
HT: Motherwell 0 – 1 Ross County #MFCvRCFC
45mins: Goal – County take the lead through Dingwall who fires home at the second attempt. 0-1
43mins: Arquin dithers as he goes through one on one with McManus. Could haave shot but Mick holds him up well allowing O’Brien to clear
39mins: Fine defending from McManus, who slid in at the front post to clear from Jervis who had a good scoring opportunity. #MFCvRCFC
36mins: Irvine picks up a loose ball about 20 yards out but is always leaning back and hooks his shot well over #MFCvRCFC
31mins: Ojamaa wins a free-kick, wide on the left. Quinn heads clear but it comes back to Sutton who shoots on the turn. Reguero saves.
26mins: Scrappy ‘Well defending gifts a corner to County…which McManus heads away at the front post #MFCvRCFC
22mins: Ojamaa does superbly to win a corner. VIgurs’ delivery falls at Sutton’s feet but County sweep clear! #MFCvRCFC
19mins: First shot on target goes to County. Arquin sprints down the left and fires off a shot from 20 yards. Twardzik gathers quite easily
16mins: Decent chance for Woods as he darted forward and found some space on the right of the box but seemed to slip as he shot. Well wide
10mins: Up the other end, Twardzik does well to punch away Carey’s deep cross as it looked destined for the head of Irvine #MFCvRCFC
8mins: CHANCE! Ojamaa whips in a great ball from the left to Sutton whose diving header is just wide of the post. Unlucky! #MFCvRCFC
5mins: Even first five minutes. Neither side really having a sniff of goal as yet. #MFCvRCFC
Lasley and Law get the game underway. COYW! #MFCvRCFC
Motherwell caretaker manager Kenny Black:
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre: