Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell returned to winning ways with an important 3-1 win over Partick Thistle at Fir Park.
A Louis Moult penalty gave the Steelmen a half-time lead before another Moult strike, and a brilliant Marvin Johnson hit, had ‘Well in cruise control.
A Callum Booth ‘squigler’ deceived Connor Ripley to give the Jags hope, but ‘Well on for the last ten minutes to pick up a vital three points.
The Fir Parker’s reverted to their more recognised back four with Stevie Hammell on the left and Louis Laing filling the right back berth. Scott McDonald was fit again to join Moult and Johnson with his pace through the middle in a threatening three-man attack.
Facing the first of three crucial ‘six pointers’ the home side made a better start and after six minutes Johnson raced in from the right but his cut back to the penalty spot found no takers.
Sadly the home side failed to build on this and with both sides guilty of poor control and passes, neither ‘keeper felt threatened.
Thankfully the game came alive after 26 minutes. McDonald and Johnson worked an opening at the edge of the box and after the latter’s thumping drive was fumbled by Thomas Cerny, McDonald reacted quickest. But after he set up Moult to roll the ball over the line the assistant’s raised flag for offside curtailed any goal celebration.
Connor Ripley then had to get down smartly to smother Christie Elliot’s low drive across the six-yard box.
As the pace of the game picked up Chris Cadden picked out the strong run of Laing but after cleverly working his way towards the visitor’s goal Cerny bravely dived to block the danger.
Nine minutes from the break the Fir Park men made the breakthrough.
Keith Lasley’s run into the box was halted as Aidan Nesbit accidentally clipped his heels. Moult showed little sympathy, sending Cerny the wrong way from the penalty spot for his 15th league goal of the season.
It might have been 2-0 at the interval when Cadden worked his way along the goal line only to see his ball across goal missed by everyone.
Within seven minutes of the restart Motherwell were two up. Hammell found McDonald and his reverse pass set up Moult who confidently slammed the ball high past Cerny and double ‘Well’s advantage – his sixteenth of the campaign.
Thistle immediately replied with a fierce angled drive from Elliot, which forced a good diving block from Ripley.
It was the Steelmen, though, who found the net again after 69 minutes. Stephen Pearson’s long pass found Johnson wide on the right. Although he had Moult in support the former Kidderminster winger cut across the box before planking a sweet left shot beyond Cerny to make it 3-0.
The Jags’ ‘keeper then produced a couple of stunning saves to turn a dipping drive from McDonald and a McManus volley over the bar as a confident ‘Well looked to add to their tally.
However, with 15 minutes remaining a dipping, serving hit from Callum Booth evaded Ripley to reduce the leeway and change the tone of the game.
Although the goal gave the Maryhill side an incentive to attack the home goal, Ripley was well protected as Motherwell comfortably collected three crucial points and bring their opponents back into the relegation pack.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME! Motherwell 3 – 1 Partick Thistle
90′ | 3-1
Three minutes added on.
83′ | 3-1
Final Thistle change, Doolan off for German.
76′ | 3-1
Goal – Thistle pull one back. Booth’s shot from range seems to deceive Ripley and ends up in the net.
71′ | 3-0
Two good chances there! McDonald with a shot which was palmed wide then McManus with a close-range volley which is saved again!
69′ | 3-0
Pearson clips a great ball over the top to Johnson who cuts in off the left and fires past Cerny!!! 3-0!!
66′ | 2-0
Partick Thistle sub, Miller off for Amoo.
58′ | 2-0
Great feet from Johnson wins a free-kick wide on the right…Hammell whips it in but McDonald can only head wide
52′ | 2-0
McDonald plays a great reverse ball to Moult just inside the box and he fires past Cerny! 2-0!!
51′ | 1-0
Cadden’s cross from the right seems to float goalwards. From this angle, probably looked closer than it actually was.
Pogba and Doolan kick-off the second half.
Half time change for Thistle, Nesbitt off for Pogba.
HT: Motherwell 1 – 0 Partick Thistle #MFCvPTFC
44′ | 1-0
Late first-half corner for ‘Well. Hammell takes, working it short to McDonald who knocks it onto Johnson but his shot delfects out
40′ | 1-0
So close! Cadden gets past Booth with a clever flick and fires it across goal. No takers and it flies inches past the far post.
Penalty came from Lasley bursting past Nesbitt in the box and being tripped from behind. 1-0 to The Steelmen!
36′ | 1-0
GOOOAALL!! Moult converts from the spot!!!
Penalty to Motherwell!!
32′ | 0-0
Chance! Cadden plays in Laing and the big defender feints inside but his touch is too heavy which allows Cerny to save at his feet
28′ | 0-0
Game starting to liven up. Elliott gets to the byline and puts in a hard low cross but Ripley does well to get the ball to safety.
27′ | 0-0
Johnson’s powerful shot is parried out to McDonald who then squares to Moult. It’s in but lino says the Aussie was offside.
24′ | 0-0
Lawless fires in a low ball from the right but it is routine for Ripley who gathers under no pressure.
22′ | 0-0
Nesbitt gathers the ball half way inside the Motherwell half. He advances forward and shoots but it trickles wide of the post.
18′ | 0-0
Cerny gets in a muddle receiving a back pass but fortunately for him, his eventual clearance comes off Johnson for a goal kick
15′ | 0-0
A very quiet opening 15 here at Fir Park…..
7′ | 0-0
Decent opening there as Johnson robbed Booth but his low ball into the area has nobody on the end of it
Lasley and Pearson get the game underway. COYW!!!
Out come the two side, both in their change kits this afternoon. #MFCvPTFC
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Partick Thistle Manager Alan Archibald