Lewis Irons at Firhill Stadium
Despite being far from their best, Motherwell showed great character to earn a point against Partick Thistle at Firhill.
And it might have been all three but for a incorrect offside call by assistant Alan Mulvanny, who wrongly chalked off a Scott McDonald header, and a couple of good late saves from Ryan Scully.
In the end, it was another McDonald header that rescued a point after Chris Erskine had given the hosts a first-half lead.
‘Well boss Mark McGhee named an unchanged line-up as Motherwell made the short trip to Glasgow to take on Partick Thistle.
Last weekend’s four-goal hero Louis Moult started alongside Ryan Bowman and Scott McDonald in a front three, looking to extend his scintillating form of five goals in his last two matches.
Partick made a couple of changes, with suspended captain Abdul Osman replaced by Adam Barton and Christie Elliott coming in for Doolan.
During an uneventful opening ten minutes, it was the home side who had the first opportunity, winning a corner after seven minutes, but Erskine over-hit his cross and it swung out for a goal-kick.
After 25 minutes, Azeez broke through for Thistle but his cross had nothing on it and flew straight into the grateful arms of Craig Samson.
Louis Moult’s first spell on the ball came near the half hour mark, when he collected the ball into feet, spun to run at the Thistle defence and dinked past Devine, only to be tripped to the floor to earn the Steelmen a freekick. From the following set-play Hammell’s cross was headed back across goal towards McDonald, who couldn’t get enough on his header to trouble Scully.
A few minutes later and Ryan Bowman had a chance to open his goal-scoring account in Claret and Amber. With a ball over the top, the Englishman tried to lift the ball over Scully from a tight angle inside the box, but his attempt with the inside of his right boot was stopped by the Thistle keeper.
With ten minutes remaining in the half, the Fir Parkers fell behind after Chris Erskine was afforded a one-on-one opportunity with Samson, slotting it low beyond the keeper with his left foot.
Six minutes into the second half and the hosts should have doubled their lead.
Erskine and Azeez surged forward on the break, and in a two-on-two situation, Erskine played a neat ball into his team-mate who dragged his shot wide of Samson’s right post.
That let-off looked to kick McGhee’s side into gear, with some neat play from Motherwell immediately following that chance. Some good passing and movement settled the game down and on the 55th minute, Scott McDonald went close to equalising; the Aussie turned neatly inside the box but sent his strike narrowly over the bar.
But on the hour mark, Thistle created another opportunity and Azeez couldn’t convert it again. The striker was threaded through down the left side of the Motherwell box, but his low effort flashed wide of the opposite post and Motherwell remained just the one goal behind.
After 65 minutes, Motherwell had the ball in the back of the net, only to be wrongly chalked off by the linesman’s flag.
McDonald headed in from close range after Bowman headed a free kick back across the face of goal, but a poor decision from the official denied the Steelmen, despite McDonald being comfortably onside.
With just over 20 minutes to go, McGhee made his first change of the afternoon, bringing on James McFadden for Louis Moult.
Thistle went extremely close to taking a two goal lead, when Edwards fired a spectacular effort on goal from 25 yards, clipping the post and going behind for a goal kick.
Immediately up the other end, Motherwell had a great chance to equalise after Thistle failed to clear a corner. Clay teed up Bowman but the striker scuffed his shot and it was dealt with comfortably.
And with just over ten minutes left and his side on the ascendency, McGhee brought off Lasley in the hunt for a goal, replacing the skipper with Lionel Ainsworth.
And he was rewarded as, with just 7 minutes of the 90, the Steelmen drew level and it was a superb goal.
An inch perfect cross from Tait on his unfamiliar left foot was right on the head of McDonald who anticipated the cross and nodded it beyond Scully into the top corner.
In the dying minutes ‘Well so nearly took the lead, with Ryan Bowman rising highest at the back post to get on the end of a deep cross, but his low header was well saved by Scully who got down quickly to palm it away.
Motherwell kept getting closer and closer to a winner in stoppage time. Chris Cadden brought the ball down on his chest and played a neat one-two with McDonald, storming towards the Partick box and firing a low shot towards goal from the edge of the area. The deflected shot was met by a solid hand from Scully to keep his side level.
And it was the final bit of action of the afternoon, with Motherwell coming away with a hard-fought point at Firhill despite not hitting the form seen in recent weeks.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Firhill Stadium
FT: Partick Thistle 1 – 1 Motherwell #PTFCvMFC
90+2′ | 1-1
Cadden’s low shot is parried away for a throw-in. Good save!
90′ | 1-1
There will be three minutes added on
89′ | 1-1
Partick Thistle sub, Doolan on for Lawless
83′ | 1-1
Great ball whipped in by Tait onto the head of McDONALD who bullets it homE!!!
82′ | 1-0
Thistle look to make it 2 but Samson makes a good stop from Lawless’ shot
80′ | 1-0
Motherwell sub, Ainsworth on for Lasley
78′ | 1-0
Decent spell of pressure with chances for Heneghan and Bowman but neither can hit the target
76′ | 1-0
Spectacular effort from Edwards there. Struck the post with a powerful shot from 30 yards.
71′ | 1-0
Motherwell sub, McFadden on for Moult
69′ | 1-0
Thistle sub, Erskine off for Welsh
63′ | 1-0
McDonald has the ball in the net but the flag is up. Looked close on first viewing!
61′ | 1-0
Elliot booked for a foul on McDonald
61′ | 1-0
Azeez with a good chance again, this time he gets across Heneghan but can’t hit the target with his left foot.
57′ | 1-0
McDonald gets into the box, spins and gets a shot away but it dips just over the bar,
54′ | 1-0
Amoo drift in from the left but his low shot from just inside the box is easy for Samson.
51′ | 1-0
Should be 2-0 but Azeez somehow doesn’t even hit the target from 15 yards after going clean through on goal.
Both teams are back out and Thistle get the second 45 underway.
HT: Partick Thistle 1 – 0 Motherwell #PTFCvMFC
41′ | 1-0
Lasley curls in a deep ball towards Moult but Gordon does enough to put the striker off and its out for a goal kick.
31′ | 1-0
Goal – Erskine opens the scoring, capitalising on a loose pass. 1-0 to Thistle.
28′ | 0-0
First real good chance there for ‘Well. Bowman finds some space and tries to clip it over Scully but he stands up and saves.
24′ | 0-0
Moult skips away from Gordon and is then hauled down. Free-kick in a decent area, 30 yards out…Hammell’s delivery is cleared.
21′ | 0-0
First sniff of goal there for ‘Well and its Tait who got on the end of Cadden’s cross but can’t trouble Scully
16′ | 0-0
Half chance for Thistle! Barton nods it down to Azeez with his back to goal but McManus stands him up well and Tait sweeps clear.
13′ | 0-0
Devine is down receiving treatment after Scully wiped him out coming to collect Tait’s cross.
9′ | 0-0
Bit of a let-ff there as a pass back to Samson is a little short. Thankfully the keeper gets in ahead of Azeez to clear.
…Erskine’s delivery is too deep for Barton to receive at the back post area.
7′ | 0-0
Amoo’s cross is turned behind by McManus. Corner to Thistle….
Lasley gets the game underway. COYW!!!!
Teams have finally emerged from the tunnel, kick-off moments away. #PTFCvMFC
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
“We deserved a draw in the end. Our first-half performance was lethargic, I don’t know what went on there but we were disjointed, we didn’t have the same team performance as of late. That was a worry but at half-time I had a word and the second half was much better. It took us a while to get the goal, although we had one disallowed that was a goal, but given the poor first half we’ll settle for the draw.
“[The disallowed goal] was just a bad call, it happens. We make bad calls, referees make bad calls and you’ve got to forgive them, they do their best. Had it been given, it doesn’t mean we’d have got the second one, so we take it on the chin.
“There was a time in the past when we could have lost that game but we’ve grown up since then and learned to dig in and take it the distance. We kept going, we kept trying to change it. Louis Moult hadn’t trained all week, he’d hurt his hamstring, so we took him off. It worked out in the end.”
Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald:
“We created a number of very good chances and we’ve got to take them.
“At the moment, to win a game it looks as though we almost need two goals. We’ve conceded again late on and we don’t look like keeping a clean sheet. It’s frustrating because we were in charge in the first-half. If Ade takes his chance at the beginning of the second half, clean through, the game could have been dead and buried.
“[Ade] probably needs one to go in off his rear end or just bounce off him and go in. With his overall performance, it’s almost nearly there for him, he worked ever so hard and got us up the pitch. But he’s a striker and he’s paid to score goals. We’ll back him to the hilt. We need to start scoring.
“Apart from the first day of the season, we’ve not had a clean sheet and that’s frustrating because the defenders mostly did their job today. We didn’t deal with a decent delivery into the box and we have to deal with that.
“It’s out job to make sure the players [aren’t downbeat], because there are a lot of positives to take. We need to make sure we turn these draws into wins because we don’t want a gap to open up [at the bottom of the table]. We want to keep it as tight as we can. We’ll keep working hard and move on.”