Motherwell picked the perfect time to end their winless run at Fir Park with a hard fought victory over Inverness CT and hoist themselves seven points ahead of the bottom placed Highlanders.
And after being denied a couple of goals this season when the ball had crossed the line, ‘Well’s luck changed for the critical third goal when Owain Fon-Williams appeared to have prevented Scott McDonald’s header from crossing his goal-line.
That controversy should have been redundant as an early double from Chris Cadden and the returning Louis Moult should have had ‘Well comfortably on course for three crucial points.
However, an Alex Fisher double either side of half-time forced ‘Well to raise their game for the final half hour and McDonald’s goal and a first senior goal from Allan Campbell set up the Fir Park men for another ‘six pointer’ when Dundee visit in a fortnight’s time.
Moult returned from injury to lead a three pronged attack and in a perfect start, ’Well found themselves 2-0 up within the opening eight minutes.
With six minutes played Campbell fed the ball wide to Cadden who, instead of bolting down the wing, cut inside and after drifting across a couple of opponents the young midfielder curled a sumptuous left foot shot beyond the diving Owain Fon-Williams and inside the ‘keeper’s right post for a glorious goal and start.
Two minutes later it was 2-0. Moult whipped in an inswinging cross intended for Bowman but the ball curled narrowly over the striker and the ‘keeper to bounce over the line for a fortunate goal.
Motherwell should have been further ahead after 15 minutes when Moult’s low 30-yard drive was palmed out by Fon-Williams but, after latching onto the rebound, Bowman only rattled the ball against a relieved Caley ‘keeper.
From what should have been a commanding position ‘Well lost their way and after a few threats on the home goal the Highlander’s pulled one back in the 21st minute. Greg Tansey’s shot was down the middle of the goal until Fisher’s outstretched leg deflected the ball beyond Samson.
As the visitor’s began to boss the midfield, Samson became the busier ‘keeper and he smartly held a rising shot from Fisher.
However, it was the Thistle stopper who produced a stunning triple save after 32 minutes and prevented ‘Well from restoring their two goal advantage.
Frear’s cut back picked out Pearson and his shot was blocked by Fon-Williams. The ball found its way back to Bowman and from 8-yards his thumping effort forced a terrific reaction save from the ‘keeper before he recovered to push Moult’s follow up round the post.
Three minutes later Samson matched his opposite number with a couple of stunning stops of his own. Fisher evaded Carl McHugh’s challenge to head towards goal and his low angled drive looked destined for the far corner of the goal until Samson, at full stretch, got a firm hand to guide the ball narrowly past his post.
And from the resultant corner, Fisher was again denied when his bullet header was parried wide of his post by the ‘Well ‘keeper.
As half-time approached, the Steelmen regained some of the their composure and goal threat, as Cadden’s in swinging corner was punched off the line by Fon-Williams before the ‘keeper held Pearson’s effort.
Motherwell started the second half on the front foot with a series of crosses testing Caley at the back.
But against the run of play the visitors grabbed an equaliser after 54 minutes when a through ball through a flat footed home defence found Fisher who calmly chipped the advancing Samson to make it 2-2.
Four minutes later, Stephen Robinson reshaped his side – Lionel Ainsworth replaced a limping Bowman and from that stage‘Well took complete control.
After 65 minutes – Frear, who grows in confidence and influence with each passing game, made space on his right before delivering the ball to the back post where McDonald’s header was clawed off his line by Fon-Williams. But as play raged on the referee’s assistant indicated that the ball had crossed the line and ‘Well had regained the lead.
The Thistle ‘keeper protested that he had saved it but there was no doubting the next goal just five minutes later.
This time McDonald showed great determination after slipping at the egde of the box. He recovered to get to the bye-line and from a similar position to Frear, squeezed the ball across goal for the inrushing Campbell to power his header home.
That quick double knocked the fight out of Inverness and as they pushed for a goal, ‘Well might have added another but had only a Jacob Blyth’s turn and low shot straight at the ‘keeper for their efforts.
In injury time, Samson capped a fine afternoon with an impressive save high to his left to push away Iain Vigurs’ 30 yard drive, as ‘Well moved away from ICT and above Dundee at the foot of the table.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
91′ | 4-2
Great save from Samson! Dives high to his left to palm Vigurs’ shot away!!
90′ | 4-2
Three minutes added on.
88′ | 4-2
Really, really poor tackle on Ainsworth from Tansey. Booked.
87′ | 4-2
Motherwell sub, Hammell off for Jules
86′ | 4-2
Ainsworth picks out Blyth with a good forward ball. The striker takes it on his chest before firing at Fon-Williams
83′ | 4-2
Motherwell sub, Moult makes way for Blyth
76′ | 4-2
Campbell takes an elbow to the face and Collum lets play rage on for a good few minutes before he stops play for treatment.
74′ | 4-2
ICT sub, Anier on for King
69′ | 4-2
It’s ALLAN CAMPBELL!!!! McDonald clips in a great ball and the midfielder heads past Fon-Williams!!
65′ | 3-2
Great ball in from Frear, headed off the post by McDonald and clawed out by Fon-Williams but linesman said it was over the line!
62′ | 2-2
ICT sub, Vigurs off for Mulraney
61′ | 2-2
‘Wel break through Pearson who then threads in Ainsworth but his shot is deflected wide for a corner.
59′ | 2-2
Motherwell sub, Bowman off for Ainsworth
54′ | 2-2
Goal – Fisher gets his second, latched onto a nothing ball and clipped it over Samson’s head.
Both teams are back out, it’s time for the second 45….COYW!!!
Here are today’s 50/50 draw numbers
HT: Motherwell 2 – 1 Inverness CT #MFCvICTFC
Two minutes added on
43′ | 2-1
Corner to Motherwell….Cadden’s curling delivery is punched off the line by the ‘keeper
36′ | 2-1
Fisher goes clean through on goal but Samson produces a huge save, palming wide for a corner.
33′ | 2-1
What a save from Fon-Williams! Bowman collects it 7 yards out and on the spins fires powerfully at a goal but somehow its saved!
29′ | 2-1
Moult gets on the end of a flick-on but tries the early pot-shot on his left foot. Comfortable save for Fon-Williams
26′ | 2-1
Good chance for Fisher. Latches onto a ball into the box but fires straight at Samson.
21′ | 2-1
King advances forward and his shot from range flashes inches past the post.
21′ | 2-1
Goal – Caley pull one back. Tansey’s shot takes a wicked deflection off Fisher and ends up in the net.
15′ | 2-0
Moult’s shot is parried into the path of Bowman who follows it in with the ICT defence static but Fon-Williams saves his effort
13′ | 2-0
And there is that change, Tremarco off for McNaughton
12′ | 2-0
Pause in play as Tremarco and Cadden are down injured. The Inverness man is going to be subbed…
9′ | 2-0
It’s 2!! @louismoult ‘s cross is completely missed by Fon-Willams and it sneaks in!
7′ | 1-0
Great strike! @chrissycadds comes in off the left and produces a stunning left-footed strike past Fon-Williams!
4′ | 0-0
Moult runs the right channel and wins a corner. Frear delivers but Draper heads clear.
2′ | 0-0
Early chance for the visitors. Free-kick about 25 yards out, but Tansey blasts well over
McDonald gets the game underway. COYW!!!
Both teams are out at a sunny Fir Park. Kick-off moments away…
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
Inverness CT manager Richie Foran: