Lewis Irons at Global Energy Stadium
Louis Moult scored on his return to fitness as Motherwell drew 1-1 with Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium.
Liam Boyce gave the hosts the lead before last season’s top scorer Moult came off the bench for the Steelmen and coolly converted a penalty.
The home side were reduced to ten men after full-back Jay McEveley fouled Louis Moult to pick up a second yellow card, but with just 20 minutes left the ‘Well couldn’t find that second goal.
New signing Ryan Bowman started alongside Scott McDonald up front for the Fir Parkers, with Stevie Hammell returning to the line-up after a brief spell on the sidelines through injury.
Player of the month winner Chris Cadden started brightly for Mark McGhee’s side, driving forward at every opportunity and being hacked to the deck within the opening minute to win a free-kick.
There was little in the way of chances in the opening exchanges but one eventually came in the 19thminute.
McDonald, collecting the ball out on the left flank, swung a high, deep ball towards the back post where Cadden charged in to fire it across goal but it didn’t get that all important touch and Ross County cleared.
Lasley went in to the book after 22 minutes for a late challenge on Alex Schalk next to the Ross County technical area.
As the game became more heated, just a minute later and Craig Clay was clattered by a bad, late foul from McEveley resulting in a yellow card for the defender.
A quick flurry of chances for the hosts on 28 minutes forced a great save from Samson and moments later left the keeper watching as an ambitious volley flew wide of his goal.
Ross County started to look threatening going forward, with Gardyne again proving a thorn in the Fir Parkers side. The midfielder collected the ball out on the left-flank and cut inside on to his right foot curling a brilliant effort on goal and crashing back off the crossbar.
As it came back out it fell to Boyce who fired the ball across goal and from just a couple of yards out somehow Schalk headed wide.
Within the opening five minutes of the second half, Motherwell went close.
Chris Cadden was involved again down the right flank, outpacing McEveley and pulling it back from the by-line towards McDonald. The ball flicked up towards the head of Bowman who turned it goalward but County cleared.
After 50 minutes of play, Lasley came off after picking up a knock and he was replaced by Ainsworth.
Ten minutes in to the half, McDonald whipped in a brilliant delivery towards the back post, but Bowman couldn’t get there and Cikos scooped it behind for a corner to the ‘Well. Hammell swung a left-footed ball in to the box from the following set-play, and Bowman again was lurking but he couldn’t get his head to it.
Just before the hour mark, Bowman had another chance as Cadden burst down the right, slipped in Ainsworth who struck the ball across goal but the big Englishman couldn’t stretch and get there.
And that was the new signing’s final moment of the match, as he made way for Louis Moult. However, with the game’s next attack, County took the lead. Schalk managed to get the ball to Boyce who was afforded too much time in the box, and the Northern Irish striker slotted past Samson.
The Global Energy stadium erupted just minutes later when Schalk poked the ball past Samson, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.
And in dramatic fashion, straight up the other end of the pitch, Motherwell were awarded a penalty.
Scott McDonald was slipped in by Craig Clay, and the Aussie did well to knick it past Fox only for the keeper to swipe him down and Muir pointed straight to the spot.
Louis Moult stepped up and scored on his return to draw the Fir Parkers level.
Joe Chalmers made way for James McFadden shortly afterwards with Mark McGhee utilising his options to go for the three points.
In what was a bad few minutes for the home side, the situation got worse as McEveley picked up his second booking and was given his marching orders – reducing his side to ten men with more than 20 minutes remaining.
It forced Jim McIntyre to make a couple of changes bringing Van Der Weg on for Schalk and Curran on for Franks.
Despite his scintillating form, Boyce missed a sitter from about five yards, lashing the ball wide.
With just over ten minutes to go, Motherwell broke away through Scott McDonald and the forward played in Moult.
Looking to bag his second of the day, the Englishman struck a low left footed shot from the angle towards goal, taking a deflection off Cikos to wrong foot Fox but going wide of the front post.
From the resulting corner, the ball dropped to McManus in the box, and the centre-back blazed a shot towards goal, rising just inches over the bar.
The game became increasingly scrappy with just minutes left to play, and then an incredible chance came Lionel Ainsworth’s way, as McDonald’s cross right to the wingers head didn’t need much to put it beyond Fox, but the Englishman’s header was straight at the County stopper.
In the dying minutes, Cadden teed up McDonald just outside the area with the Aussie striker test Fox – who saved dramatically.
But it finished level with the Steelmen picking up a well-earned point.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Global Energy Stadium
FT: Ross County 1 – 1 Motherwell #RCFCvMFC
Three minutes added on.
88′ | 1-1
So close! McDonald whips in a great ball which Ainsworth gets on the end of but it’s an awkward height and he heads at Fox.
80′ | 1-1
County with their final sub, Gardyne off for Chow
79′ | 1-1
From that corner, the ball lands at the feet of McManus but he blasts over the bar.
78′ | 1-1
Ainsworth breaks and threads in Moult whose shot is almost put into his own net by Cikos. Corner.
Big thank you to the 199 ‘Well fans who have made the journey up North. Always appreciated!
74′ | 1-1
Boyce should burst the net but misses the target from 6 yards. A let-off!
72′ | 1-1
County sub, Curran on for Franks
70′ | 1-1
County sub, Van der Weg on for Schalk.
69′ | 1-1
Red card!! McEveley is shown a second yellow for puling down McDonald. County down to 10 men!
66′ | 1-1
Motherwell sub, McFadden on for Chalmers
61′ | 1-1
McDonald is hauled down in the box and @louismoult steps up to slot the spot-kick home! 1-1!!
Penalty to Motherwell!!!
64′ | 1-0
Schalk has the ball in the net but the linesman has his flag up and its chopped off.
64′ | 1-0
Woods fires inches over the bar with a good effort from 20 yards
61′ | 1-0
Goal – Boyce opens the scoring. Schalk with the nod down, Boyce with plenty of time and space to pick a spot past Samson.
59′ | 0-0
Motherwell sub, @louismoult makes his return, replacing Bowman.
59′ | 0-0
Ainsworth fires a ball across goal which Quinn does well to get in ahead of Bowman and put it wide.
56′ | 0-0
Franks whips in a ball to the back post which Boyce gets his head but can’t quite get enough on it to test Samson.
53′ | 0-0
Franks drifts in off the right and attempt a left footed shot from 20 yards but it goes safely past the post.
49′ | 0-0
Motherwell sub, Lasley limps off for Ainsworth
48′ | 0-0
Great work by Cadden to get past McEveley and cut it back across goal. Fox palms it out to Bowman but his header is turned away
County get the second 45 underway….
HT: Ross County 0 – 0 Motherwell #RCFCvMFC
38′ | 0-0
County strike the bar! Gardyne cuts on off the left and curls in a great effort which crashes back off the woodwork.
34′ | 0-0
Boyce with one of the few attempts on target so far but its a routine save for Samson.
31′ | 0-0
Tait takes a booking after bringing down Gardyne wide on the right.
29′ | 0-0
From the corner, Routis almost scores goal of he season but his first time volley flashes just past the top corner.
28′ | 0-0
Close for County! Great free-kick is curled above the defence but thankfully Samson reads it and puts it out for a corner.
24′ | 0-0
Shocking challenge by McEveley on Clay earns him a booking.
22′ | 0-0
Lasley booked for a rash challenge on Schalk just in front of the Ross County technical area
19′ | 0-0
So close! McDonald clips in a great ball to Cadden who volleys across goal which Bowman is inches away from getting on the end of!
14′ | 0-0
Cikos with a clumsy looking challenge on Hammell. Escapes a booking.
9′ | 0-0
Fox has to be quick off his line as he gets in ahead of Bowman to put it out for a throw in.
6′ | 0-0
Quite a positive start from the Steelmen. Couple of breaks through Chalmers and Cadden but no real openings as yet.
Motherwell win the toss and Lasley gets the game underway. COYW!!!!
Out come the two sides, usual colours for both. Kick-off just moments away.
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre: