Motherwell had to settle for a point and a frustrating blank in front of goal despite dominating possession for large periods.
In a first half where ‘Well produced arguably some of their best football of the season the only thing that was missing was a goal or two.
However, they failed to sustain that in the second half and had to survive a number of Dundee counter-attacks, but defended manfully to claim a point.
Despite the last-minute loss at Ibrox last week, ‘Well boss Mark McGhee stood by the line-up which performed so well against Rangers.
That meant that Scott McDonald had a pressing midfield to support him with Lionel Ainsworth and Marvin Johnson swapping flanks. The latter set himself up for the first chance dragging the ball from the right wing, across the edge of the box before firing over the cross bar.
‘Well looked confident and solid in possession during the opening exchanges and following a steady build up, Scott McDonald’s cross into the six yard box found Joe Chalmers but he scooped the ball over.
Craig Clay, who was an influential figure in the ‘Well midfield, worked some space at the edge of the box before striking a ferocious drive which literally knocked Darren O’Dea to the ground.
Despite being hemmed into their own half for the first 20 minutes Dundee were first to test either ‘keeper. Craig Samson did well to block Faissal El Bakhtaoui’s angled drive and as the Dens’ striker latched onto the rebound but Ben Heneghan stretched to deflect the ball.
The remainder of the half, though, was played in the visitor’s half where ‘Well’s slick passing and movement had Dundee on the back foot.
For all their possession the Fir Park side failed to work Scott Bain, with long range efforts from Ainsworth and McDonald flying wide and narrowly over.
Just before half-time Chris Cadden’s strong running, twice got him in behind the visitor’s defence only to see Bain and then Kevin Gomis cut out his crosses as McDonald waited in the six yard box.
Not surprisingly, having been second best for most of the first forty-five, Dundee looked a different proposition in the second half with a couple of early strikes from Michael Duffy whizzing past Samson’s post.
Motherwell’s reply came from a McDonald shot which Bain punched away, only as far as Johnson, whose attempt to test the ‘keeper again was blocked.
With 20 minutes left and the game now finely balanced El Bakhtaoui’s quick turn and shot was palmed away by Samson.
Minutes later a quick exchange between Clay and Johnson set up Ainsworth but his low curling effort was gathered by Bain. Clay was again the provider when a neat one – two sent Johnson through but his finish lacked power to really test the ‘keeper.
Mark McGhee made a push for the winner with James McFadden replacing Ainsworth for the final 10 minutes. The assistant manager’s first contribution was to knock the ball down for McDonald but his 20 yard shot tamely bounced into Bain’s arms to sum up ‘Well’s efforts in front of goal.
It was a frustrating end to a frustrating afternoon for the hosts who will look back on not capitalising or scoring during a fairly dominant first-half with some regret.
[tab:As it happened]
Lewis Irons at Fir Park
FT | 0-0
It’s all over and it’s a frustrating day for the Steelmen who were the dominant side but couldn’t get that all important goal.
’90 | 0-0
Two minutes added on as Motherwell win a corner, but nobody gets on the end of it and it’s a goal-kick
’89 | 0-0
Clay tees up Lasley on the edge of the box but it is blocked
’86 | 0-0
Brief stoppage as O’Dea gets treatment
’85 | 0-0
Johnson plays in Chalmers who can’t quite get it under control before McDonald tries one from outside the box, but Bain saves.
’82 | 0-0
Heneghan goes in to book after Loy ran across his path.
’80 | 0-0
Johnson curls a dangerous ball in to the box, Cadden can’t quite get there with his head
’79 | 0-0
Motherwell sub: Here he comes, it’s James McFadden coming on for Lionel Ainsworth #COYW
’78 | 0-0
El Bakhtaoui is warned by referee Andrew Dallas after an exchange with Tait.
’75 | 0-0
McDonald side-foots it to Clay, who tries to slide in Ainsworth but it’s just over-hit.
’73 | 0-0
Johnson dribbles and works a one-two into the box, and from close range he couldn’t quite get enough on it and Bain gathers
’71 | 0-0
Tait fizzes a cross on the volley over everyone’s heads in the box before Ainsworth picks it up and curls it on goal – Bain saves
’69 | 0-0
El Bakhtaoui goes for goal but Samson jumps well to punch clear at his near post
’66 | 0-0
Dundee sub: Loy replaces Williams
’65 | 0-0
The corner drops to McGowan, but he strikes over
’65 | 0-0
Chalmers blocks Duffy in the box and it’s a corner for Dundee
’62 | 0-0
Brilliant move from Motherwell! Smart passing leaves Ainsworth in the box, he tries to square it but O’Dea clears
’60 | 0-0
Dundee go close from range. Michael Duffy tries one this time and it’s just wide.
’57 | 0-0
The ball drops kindly to El Bakhtaoui who runs forward, striking a low shot past the post from outside the box.
’55 | 0-0
Johnson follows in to get the rebound from McDonald’s shot, but it is blocked
’55 | 0-0
Great spell for the Steelmen on the edge of the Dundee box. Lasley works it to McDonald – his curled shot is punched by Bain.
’54 | 0-0
Nick Ross barges Lasley off the ball as the skipper looks to bring it down. Free-kick ‘Well at the half-way line
’52 | 0-0
Quieter start to the second period, as both sides work possession in the middle of the park
’48 | 0-0
Duffy tries one from the edge of the area, but it’s narrowly wide of Samson’s right post.
’48 | 0-0
Dundee try to work a short corner but Motherwell usher them away.
MATCHDAY | Today’s Half Time Draw numbers are: 1st Prize – £250 – 156929, 2nd Prize – £100 – 156924 & 3rd Prize – £50 – 156934
’46 | 0-0
Dundee win a couple of early second-half corners but the Fir Parkers defend well and clear.
’46 | 0-0
The ‘Well get us back underway! #COYW #MFCvDFC
HT | 0-0
Motherwell have been outstanding, but just haven’t managed to make that breakthrough.
’43 | 0-0
It’s all Motherwell! Cadden races down the right, hits a low cross and Gomis has to turn it behind.
’42 | 0-0
Close for the Steelmen! Cadden cuts back for McDonald but Kerr does well to block the Aussie’s shot from close range.
’41 | 0-0
Johnson beats three men but his cut-back is intercepted, so nearly from the winger.
’40 | 0-0
Motherwell combine with around 20 passes but Ainsworth’s cross is headed away. Some great stuff from McGhee’s men.
’37 | 0-0
El Bakhtaoui slips it to Williams who over-hits his pass and Samson gathers it with ease.
’35 | 0-0
Williams squares it to El Bakhtaoui but Heneghan puts in another wonderful sliding tackle to stop the threat.
’35 | 0-0
Another ‘Well corner is headed goal-ward by McManus, but Bain collects it.
’34 | 0-0
Motherwell corner falls to Johnson in the box, but his low strike crashes into bodies in front of the goal.
’33 | 0-0
Chris Cadden beats Nick Ross and yet again the youngster is fouled.
’31 | 0-0
Chalmers stands over the free-kick but curls it over the bar.
’30 | 0-0
McGowan goes in to the book for a tackle on Craig Clay.
’30 | 0-0
Half-an-hour gone and Motherwell firmly on top in terms of chances and possession, but yet to make the breakthrough
’28 | 0-0
McDonald goes close from range! Works the space, spins his man and strikes narrowly over from 25 yards.
’27 | 0-0
Ainsworth is incredibly ambitious, striking one from a full 30 yards, but it doesn’t trouble Bain.
’26 | 0-0
A shocking tackle from O’Hara, whose studs caught Johnson, somehow only receives a yellow.
’24 | 0-0
McDonald nutmegs O’Dea but the defender blocks his run in the box. Ainsworth then collects the ball, striking low and just wide
’22 | 0-0
Cadden does well to win another corner, but from the set-piece Ainsworth collects on the far side and dinks a cross over.
’20 | 0-0
El Bakhtaoui breaks free on goal, Samson saves his first low strike and Heneghan lunges brilliantly to block the second attempt.
’18 | 0-0
From the corner, the referee awards a Dundee free-kick after Cadden held his man.
’17 | 0-0
Clay threads a lovely pass to Ainsworth, whose cross is blocked and out for a corner.
’15 | 0-0
Craig Clay works himself a yard on the edge of the area with some neat footwork, but his strike is blocked by the face of O’Dea.
’12 | 0-0
McDonald is slipped in on the right side of the box, but the linesman flags – must have been tight!
’11 | 0-0
Tait bursts forward, attempts the cross but it is cleared by O’Dea.
’10 | 0-0
Cadden is swiped to the deck after turning to surge forward. Free-kick ‘Well.
‘8 | 0-0
Joe Chalmers drives forward this time, and as the ball drops to him just yards out, he hits it just over, so close! #COYW
‘7 | 0-0
Heneghan marauds through the middle of the park, slipping it wide to Cadden who whips in a great cross, but it’s over-hit
‘5 | 0-0
Ainsworth takes it towards the by-line and nearly beats his man, but it’s out for a goal-kick.
‘4 | 0-0
Tait battles well to thwart any danger and mops up nicely. Straight down the other end, Johnson strikes just over the bar.
‘1 | 0-0
Fast start for the ‘Well here as Clay tries one from outside the area, but it’s blocked.
Dundee get us underway at Fir Park! #COYW #MFCvDFC
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee: