A dramatic encounter at Rugby Park resulted in a hugely important three points for Motherwell in the Ladbrokes Premiership this afternoon.
Carl McHugh and Zak Jules scored their first goals for the Steelmen, who rallied from behind to win 2-1.
The meeting was an important one for two sides led by two interim managers.
Stephen Robinson named three changes for the ‘Well to the side that lost heavily to Dundee by recalling skipper Keith Lasley and the more experienced full-back duo of Stevie Hammell and Richard Tait in place of Joe Chalmers and Jack McMillan.
Kilmarnock were unchanged from their 2-0 victory away to St Johnstone last weekend as Lee McCulloch’s men looked to continue their strong run of form.
The travelling Steelmen started positively when Richard Tait won a freekick in a dangerous area. The fullback swung in the set piece but Killie managed to clear the danger only as far as Lasley, who struck a sweet strike narrowly over the crossbar.
Killie grew in to the match, which became an exciting encounter for the on looking supporters, but neither side could find a breakthrough in the match in the opening 30 minutes.
The home side looked increasingly dangerous from set pieces as their unorthodox approaches proved quite difficult to pick up.
It was a free kick in the 29th minute which was perhaps the hosts biggest chance, when an unmarked Kris Boyd headed wide of the mark from eight yards.
However, the forward did find the back of the net when he got in behind the ‘Well defence in the 34th minute and turned the ball neatly beyond Samson and in to the back of the net.
Scott McDonald forced a very good reaction save from Freddie Woodman just minutes before the break, getting on the end of a Hammell cross to turn the ball on goal, but the stopper did well to get down and palm it away from danger.
Robinson acted swiftly at the break and made two changes – replacing Lasley with Ryan Bowman and Hammell for Elliott Frear.
Carl McHugh drew the Steelmen level just five minutes in to the second half when Killie failed to clear from a ‘Well corner. Moult got his head to the initial cross but it was blocked to McHugh eight yards out and the Irishman made no mistake as he thundered home his first goal in claret and amber.
Jordan Jones, who had been a threat down the left for most of the afternoon, nearly put Killie back in front when he side-footed towards goal from a cross from the right, but it was wide of the far post.
Gary Dicker went closer when he powered an unstoppable strike from 25 yards beyond Samson, but the keeper was let off by the crossbar as the ball thundered off the woodwork.
A terrific Motherwell move nearly led to the games third goal as the encounter at Rugby Park surged in to the final 15 minutes.
Zak Jules drove forward from the back before laying the ball off for Tait. The fullback played the ball forward and it was knocked down for Cadden, who played in Moult just outside the box. The forward cleverly let the ball run through his legs for Scott McDonald to step on to and curl a low shot towards goal, but Woodman saved low to his left.
Robinson removed Tait after the defender had a recent lay off through injury and replaced him with David Ferguson.
The Fir Parkers did find the lead though and it was courtesy of yet another player bagging his first goal for the club.
Jules got on the end of Elliott Frear’s freekick and headed past Woodman at the back post to send the travelling ‘Well fans into wild celebration.
Killie won a freekick in a dangerous position with just minutes left on the clock. From 20 yards, but substitute Callum Roberts curled his effort well over the bar.
Just as it seemed the Steelmen would hold on for all three points, Killie won a penalty in the dying seconds of the game when Roberts fell in the box after a clearly fair challenge by Frear.
Boyd stepped up, looking to fire in his 101st goal for Killie, but he smashed it off the post to see the Steelmen leave with all three points!
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Rugby Park
FT: Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell
‘Well come from behind to take all three points, surviving a last minute penalty miss by Boyd!!
90+1′ | 1-2
OFF THE POST!!!!
91′ | 1-2
Penalty to Killie! ‘Well players not happy about that!
88′ | 1-2
Moult brings down Roberts on the edge of the box. Chance here for Killie……..well over the bar!
87′ | 1-2
Now Killie have a corner………headed away by Bowman!
85′ | 1-2
Bowman does excellently to win a free-kick on the byline….Moult tries to run down the clock with it…
77′ | 1-2
Kilmarnock sub, Roberts on for Longstaff
76′ | 1-2
Free-kick is whipped in superbly to the head of JULES who nods past Woodman!!!
75′ | 1-1
Motherwell sub, Tait makes way for Ferguson
74′ | 1-1
McDonald forces a good save from Woodman after Moult dummied Cadden’s square ball. Unlucky!
72′ | 1-1
Dicker shoots from distance and clips the top of the bar. Ref gives the corner, unsure who got the touch on it.
68′ | 1-1
Heneghan booked for taking down Jones as he broke away just inside the ‘Well half.
63′ | 1-1
Tait recovers superbly to dispossess Boyd as he was about to pull the trigger
53′ | 1-1
‘Well have came out the traps flying here. Another corner…….this time Killie clear it. COYW!!
50′ | 1-1
It’s 1-1!!!! Moult wins the header and it falls nicely for McHugh who powers it past Woodman!!!!
50′ | 1-0
Frear does well down the left and wins a corner….GGGOOOAAAALLL!!!!
Two changes at half-time, Lasley off for Bowman, Frear on for Hammell
HT: Kilmarnock 1 – 0 Motherwell #KFCvMFC
42′ | 1-0
Chance! Hammell chases a lost cause and crosses to the front post where McDonald’s prodded effort is well saved by Woodman.
32′ | 1-0
Goal – Boyd has been threatening all afternoon and finally breaks the deadlock, getting on the end of a long ball and poking in.
28′ | 0-0
McDonald wins a corner off Ajer…..Woodman gathers Hammell’s delivery
28′ | 0-0
Good chance for Boyd as he comes from deep to meet Taylor’s cross but thankfully its inches wide of the post.
26′ | 0-0
Chance! Moult clips in a ball from the right towards Cadden but he can’t get over it to keep it down, flashes inches over!
23′ | 0-0
Sammon’s cross is headed out for a corner by Heneghan….Boyd’s shot comes crashing back off the bar!
21′ | 0-0
Longstaff breaks away avoiding tackles from Lasley and Pearson, eventually tripped by McHugh. Lasley gets booked.
19′ | 0-0
Ball pings around the Motherwell box and eventually falls to the head of Longstaff 6 yards out but McHugh is on hand to clear.
10′ | 0-0
Taylor whips in a great ball across goal which Jules does well to deal with an knock out for a corner, which comes to nothing
1′ | Tait wins a free-kick in a decent area wide on the right…..ball falls to Lasley on the edge of the box but he fires over the bar.
Lasley gets the game underway at a now sunny Rugby Park. COYW!!!
Motherwell caretaker manager Stephen Robinson:
Kilmarnock caretaker manager Lee McCulloch: