Phil McGhee St Mirren Park
Motherwell’s attempts to avoid the play-offs came to disappointing halt after a disastrous final 15 minutes against St Mirren in front of another fabulous travelling support.
When John Sutton converted a 75th minute penalty ‘Well seemed on course to take the fight until the last day.
However, after Saints nicked a freakish equaliser, Ian Baraclough’s men looked resigned to the play-offs.
Worse was to follow when Scott McDonald was harshly shown a straight red in the last minute, which would keep him out of the play-offs, before Stevie Mallan grabbed the winner for Saints deep into injury time.
The ‘Well boss stood by the same eleven which earned the crucial three points against Kilmarnock for another must win at St Mirren Park.
Already relegated, Saints made the more composed start, but it took until the 21st minute for the first effort on goal; Scott McDonald’s 20-yard free kick comfortably held by Marian Kello.
A minute later Marvin Johnson’s corner was cleared only as far as Connor Grant but his well-struck volley from the edge of the box sailed over the bar.
The ‘Well defence then withstood a storm of hailstones and a couple of goal threats from the home side.
In the 25th minute Steven Thomson scooped the ball wide from 12 yards and a minute later, former ‘Well player Alan Gow should have opened the scoring but he curled his shot beyond the advancing George Long and the ‘keeper’s right hand post.
The Fir Park side created the better chances before the break and Johnson tested Kello with a decent turn and shot before the visitor’s passed up the best chance of the half. Johnson and McDonald combined to set up Lee Erwin but, from six yards, he slammed his shot off Kello.
It was Saints who made the brighter start to the second half, James Dayton’s low angled drive forced a good blocking save from Long.
A sustained spell of action around the home goal, though, should have brought an opener for ‘Well.
Erwin met an inviting cross from Johnson on the six-yard line, but his header flashed past the post.
Erwin then cut the ball back for McDonald whose thumping drive was parried by Kello and before Saints could fully clear the danger, another tempting Johnson cross found McDonald out jumping his marker only to head the ball wide of target.
Just before the hour mark and with a winning goal desperately needed, Lionel Ainsworth replaced Grant.
Erwin’s burst and shot at the edge of the box was too direct and held by Kello before John Sutton replaced Johnson with 22 minutes remaining.
Four minutes later the ‘Well goal had amazing escape when Lewis Morgan sprinted through the visitor’s defence and looked certain to score until Long produced a superb block. The ball fell to the unmarked Dayton, but from four yards his effort was blocked on the goal line before Long recovered to deny Kieran Sadlier again.
And the Steelmen made the most of that escape when they grabbed the lead in the 75th minute. Erwin evaded a challenge as he raced into the box before being felled by Thomas Reilly. Facing the 1,444 ‘Well fans in the away stand, Sutton kept his cool to send Kello the wrong way and keep hopes alive.
However, any chance of taking the fight into the last Saturday of the season disappeared in a crazy conclusion to the game.
With seven minutes of normal time remaining a hopeful ball from Reilly was kept in on the bye-line by Jason Naismith who stretched to lift the ball over Long who turned and collided with Mark O’Brien under the bar who then headed the ball into the roof of the net.
Worse was to follow in the final minute when McDonald was shown a straight red card after challenging for a high ball in the middle of the park with Reilly.
With a point insufficient for ‘Well’s cause, Saints made it a dismal day claiming all three six minutes into injury time when Mallan hit a stunning winner from 30 yards.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at St Mirren Park
FT: St Mirren 2 – 1 Motherwell.
96′ | 2-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Goal, Mallan fires past Long from distance to make it 2-1 to St Mirren.
90′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
7 minutes added on
89′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Red card, Scott McDonald is sent off for an elbow.
86′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
St Mirren sub, Thompson off for Arquin.
83′ | 1-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Goal, Naismith equalises his sliding shot looping over Long at the back post. 1-1
80′ | 0-1 | #SMFCvMFC
Sutton sends Kello thte wrong way to make it 1-0 to ‘Well!!
80′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Penalty to’ Well!
73′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Sutton finds space in the box but on his left foot, can only drag it inches wide of the post.
72′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Wow. Unbelievable stramash there! Goalie flying everywhere, open goals but St Mirren can’t finish! Stadium in shock.
70′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Gow is replaced by Morgan.
69′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Long stoppage in play here as Gow is stretchered off.
68′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Johnson off for Sutton
66′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
McManus booked for a heavy challenge on Gow
64′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
St Mirren sub, Sadlier on for Wylde.
60′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Chance for Pearson as he gets on the end of Johnson’s corner but can’t keep it down and fires well over the bar.
58′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Motherwell sub, Ainsworth on for Grant
58′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
2 great chances for McDonald! First his shot is parried away then his header is just past the post!
56′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Lasley booked for a hard tackle on Gow.
55′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Johnson swings in a ball to the head of Erwin, but under pressure, he heads wide of the post.
53′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Dayton cuts in form the right on his left foot and fires in a powerful low shot. Saved by Long at his near post.
45′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Second half is underway…..
There’s a superb travelling support at St Mirren Park. #SMFCvMFC
HT | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
St Mirren 0 – 0 Motherwell.
40′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
O’Brien booked for a tackle on Gow which on first viewing seemed fair.
35′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Deep St Mirren corner is nodded back to Kelly who blazes it well over from 12 yards.
30′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Johnson squares the ball to Erwin 10 yards out but somehow Kello makes the block. Great chance!
28′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
End to end now. Johnson gets into the box and gets a shot away but it’s straight at Kello.
25′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
What a chance for Gow as he races though 1v1 but gets the finish all wrong and fires wide. A real let-off!
23′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Another ‘Well corner…..headed clear by Thompson to Grant who volleys just over the bar. Decent effort!
20′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Erwin hauled down about 20 yards out. Free-kick in a great area…..fired in low by McDonald but straight at Kello.
14′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Motherwell press forward through Pearson but his final ball to Johnson runs out for a goal-kick. Sloppy start.
6′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
Corner to Saints….whipped in by Dayton and met by Thompson but his header has no power to worry Long. Goal Kick.
3′ | 0-0 | #SMFCvMFC
O’Brien brings down Gow about 40 yards out. Mallan’s free-kick finds Kelly but he fails to hit the target. Good chance!
Kick-off | #SMFCvMFC
Pearson and Lasley get the game underway. COYW!!
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
St Mirren manager Gary Teale: