Phil McGhee at Dens Park
A highly controversial 88th minute penalty denied Motherwell all three points at Dens Park this afternoon.
The Steelmen had raced into a 1-2 half-time advantage when goals from Chris Cadden and Stephen Pearson came either side of Paul McGowan’s close-range strike.
The Dark Blues had all the second half without really testing Connor Ripley’s goal and it looked as if the Steelmen were going to hold on for what would’ve been a big three points.
However, with just two minutes left, match official John Beaten harshly awarded a penalty when Cadden and Kevin Holt both tangled for the ball. Kane Hemmings was in no mood for mercy, coolly slotting home the resulting kick to earn his side a share of the spoils.
Motherwell made just one change to the side that lost last weekend against Ross County with Josh Law returning to the starting eleven in place of Kieran Kennedy.
And for all the frustrations of last Saturday against County, when well created by missed a host of chances, those memories were cleared quickly as the Steelmen got themselves in front just four minutes in.
Marvin Johnson’s cross from the left misses everyone and lands at the feet of Cadden who took a good touch before volleying home his first ever goal for the Fir Parkers high past Bain.
Unfortunately, ‘Well couldn’t hold their lead for long as Paul Hartley’s side hit back inside two minutes. Great play by Greg Stewart released McGowan in the inside right channel and after it held up perfectly in the wind, he controlled the pass before hooking the ball home from a tight angle.
Motherwell regained their composure and only a terrific Bain saved denied Lasley after the skipper’s free-kick bounced through and almost into the net, but for the outstretched arm of the former Alloa stopper.
Soon after that, and down the other end, Stewart went on a mazy run and crossed from the right for Rory Loy, but his somehow shot came back off of the underside of the bar from just a few yards.
Then, in 13 minutes, Stewart was again involved with a darting run into the box, skipping by several Motherwell challenges, only to see his eventual shot saved by Ripley.
It was end-to-end stuff and Motherwell twice almost got in front when McDonald found himself with the freedom of the six-yard box but his shot on the spin was straight at Bain.
However, it was Pearson who eventually put the Steelmen back in front with another excellent goal in 23 minutes. The veteran midfielder burst through the Dundee defence, played a one-two with Moult, before drifting past Darren O’Dea and angling in his seventh goal of the campaign.
Both teams created chances as the snow-ridden first half raged on. Bain had a stinging long-range shot that forced Ripley to turn over. At the other end, Moult’s curler looked to be sneaking into the corner, but again Bain scrambled across his goal to turn it around.
The second half was dominated by Dundee but the visitors defended doggedly to limit their clear-cut chances while trying to hit on the counterattack.
Harkins did go close to snatching an equaliser with a couple of typical flashes of skill, chipping over from right of the goal then volleying wide from the other side.
For all Dundee had the ball, it was ‘Well who had the best chance. McDonald’s bursting run from midfield started the chance and when his slid ball found Pearson on the left, ‘Well were in at goal. When Pearson pulled it across goal, Moult slammed home for what he thought was his 14th of the campaign, but the assistant’s flag thwarted him.
The game was heading for a finish when Dundee were afforded the chance to level in controversial circumstances. Moult had headed clear a Dundee corner with Cadden and Holt competing for the loose ball just inside the area. Incredibly, John Beaten pointed to the spot, much to the dismay of the Motherwell players. Cadden was even booked for the challenge!
Kane Hemmings stood up to take it and slammed it hard down the middle with Ripley going to his right to earn his side a point.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Dens Park
FT: Dundee 2 – 2 Motherwell
90′ | 2-2
2 minutes added on
Have to say, that decision looked ridiculous. Cadden went to clear the ball over this head and the Dundee man ran into it.
88′ | 2-2
Goal – Hemmings pulls Dundee level from the spot.
87′ | 1-2
Penalty to Dundee!
86′ | 1-2
Harkins gets the ball in the box but thankfully a ‘Well leg deflects his shot wide for a corner.
79′ | 1-2
Dundee sub, Ross off for Wighton.
78′ | 1-2
Law booked for hauling down Harkins…
72′ | 1-2
Motherwell sub, McDonald off for Fletcher
71′ | 1-2
Moult has the ball in the net but the linesman’s flag was straight up after Pearson made the pass
69′ | 1-2
Dundee sub, Arturo on for Loy.
67′ | 1-2
Harkins has an effort similar to Van Basten’s classic but thankfully it ends up in the stand.
65′ | 1-2
Johnson shoots from range but doesn’t really trouble Bain who gathers safely.
55′ | 1-2
Harkins tries a chip from a difficult position and watches it fly past the post.
Dundee get the second 45 underway. COYW!
HT: Dundee 1 – 2 Motherwell #DFCvMFC
33′ | 1-2
Great effort from Moult, a first-time curler towards the bottom corner which Bain does superbly to palm wide.
27′ | 1-2
Holt tries his luck from 30 yards and forces Ripley into a spectacular save! Corner to Dundee…
23′ | 1-2
PEARSON plays a one-two with Moult and gets into the box before cooly firing ‘Well 2-1 up!
….what a chance for McDonald! Hints of offside as he finds himself alone in the box but he can’t direct it past Bain who saves.
18′ | 1-1
Johnson chops inside Stewart who brings him down on the edge of the box….
13′ | 1-1
Stewart passes up a great chance to put Dundee ahead as he latches onto a slack pass. Ripley makes the stop.
12′ | 1-1
McGowan hits the bar! Stewart gets to the byline and cuts it back but from 8 yards can only hit the woodwork. A let off.
9′ | 1-1
Chance! Lasley clips in a free-kick which is missed by everyone and forces Bain to knock it out for a corner!
6′ | 1-1
Goal – Incredibly on the next attack, McGowan collects a loose ball and slams it into the net to bring Dundee level!
4′ | 0-1
Johnson crosses for CADDEN who takes it on the chest and volleys into the top corner!!!! 1-0 to the Steelmen!!
Pearson and Lasley get the game underway. COYW!!!
Out come the teams and out comes the snow. Horrible afternoon for football #DFCvMFC
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
“I feel absolutely aggrieved at the decision. These decisions are so important as we are in a dogfight to avoid the play-offs or worse, to avoid relegation.
“Every point counts and to be almost over the line after a heroic defensive performance in the second half, after getting our strategy right, I felt we deserved to win the game.
“The referee has made a terrible call really and that has cost us two points.”
Dundee manager Paul Hartley:
“It’s not a penalty. I’ve seen the footage and it’s not a penalty. But we deserved it, we deserved at least a draw.
“We kept the pressure on them in the second half and created numerous chances. I was really pleased with the effort from my players. We started brightly and some of our play was really good.
“I thought it was a good game, lots of good football, end-to-end stuff on a difficult surface.
“Credit to my players because they never give up. Their fitness levels are excellent and they deserved that point at the end of what has been a tough week for them. Our attacking play is good and we look a real threat going forward.”