Phil McGhee at Fir Park
In what was just the second home match in nine games for Motherwell, the hosts had to settle for a share of the points against Dundee.
But unlike the late equaliser from Celtic which cruelly denied ‘Well a win in their last home appearance, it took some resolute defending to earn the Steelmen a share of the points.
It took both sides some time to tame the strong swirling wind, but after a wonderful goal from Paul McGowan gave Dundee the lead within a minute of the restart it set the scene for a cracking second forty-five. And when Craig Tanner levelled from the penalty spot on the hour mark, Motherwell looked on course for a much needed win.
However, recurring injuries to three players who had raced to be fit almost cost ‘Well, as both Chris Cadden and Elliot Frear tweaked their hamstrings forcing the sides to finish the match with only 10 men for the final 15 minutes. And it could have been worse when Trevor Carson aggravated his injured shoulder in the last 10 minutes but bravely played on to produce a couple of stunning saves.
Incredibly, Motherwell were back at Fir Park for only the second time in nine gruelling fixtures. And it was also welcome back to a host of key players with ‘Well almost back to full strength, with the obvious omission of Louis Moult.
Despite the wind, both sides made a positive opening. Within two minutes Sofien Moussa headed over Trevor Carson’s goal before Peter Hartley did likewise at the other end.
The Dundee striker came much closer after eight minutes when, from Jon Aurtenetxe’s corner, Moussa’s header smacked off the face of the bar, forcing the grounded Carson to turn the loose ball behind.
Six minutes later, Chris Cadden floated a free kick into the six yard box but Elliot Parish firmly held on to the ball despite the aerial presence of Charles Dunne.
As the action moved from end to end, a brave sliding stop from Gael Bigirimana blocked A-jay Leitch-Smith’s angled drive.
As the the half progressed though, the play was generally towards the Dundee goal and Cadden’s deep cross picked out Cedric Kipre at the back of the six yard box but his header back across goal was just beyond Ryan Bowman.
Then six minutes from the break a swift move down the right opened up the Dens defence. But after Bigirimana laid off Richard Tait’s cross, Liam Grimshaw screwed his side foot effort off target from 12 yards.
In the last attack of the first half, Tanner ,who looked lively on both flanks, sent Cadden down the right and his cross flew narrowly past the ‘keeper’s left hand post.
It was assumed that with the wind behind them ‘Well would dominate the second half, but inside 60 seconds Dundee dented those thoughts.
There seemed little danger when Paul McGowan gathered the ball 40-yards out, but after a couple of strides forward the Dundee midfielder unleashed a terrific drive which sailed past Carson and into the top corner to set the tone for the second half.
Two minutes later and the visitors were almost two ahead when a delicate chip from McGowan rebounded from the crossbar.
Grimshaw then survived two tackles before firing in a drive towards Parish, which the keeper parried. That was the last action for the former Man United youth player as Stephen Robinson made a double substitution in the 50th minute, bringing on Elliot Frear and George Newell.
Two minutes later, Cadden’s hamstring injury resurfaced and his replacement Andy Rose was no sooner on the pitch when controversially he was booked for diving after being tripped at the edge of the box.
Referee Don Robertson had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot in the 59th minute when Kipre cleverly got between Mark O’Hara and the ball, forcing a rash challenge from the Dundee man.
From the resultant penalty, Tanner confidently sent Parish the wrong way to level the scores. And three minutes later Tanner had the chance to put ‘Well in front when he was fouled 25 yards from goal. But although he curled his free kick over the defensive wall under the bar, Parish stretched to palm the ball away.
With 15 minutes left, Frear limped off to leave the Steelmen down to 10 men and force them on to the back foot for the remainder of the game.
Ten minutes from time, the home goal was lucky to survive intact when Jack Hendry’s header bounced past Carson and rebounded from the inside of the post before the ball was booted clear of a packed six yard box.
Further drama arrived a couple of minutes later when Carson stretched to hold a low cross and then immediately went to ground holding his left shoulder. As ‘Well contemplated finishing with only nine players, Carson responded to treatment and continued to play a heroic role.
With ‘Well defending deep into injury time, Carson’s sliding tackle blocked Moussa at the edge of the six yard area. From the resultant corner, Josh Meeking’s header back across goal looked to net Dundee the winner, until Carson reacted superbly to claw the ball away with his right hand and reward ‘Well with a hard-earned point.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FT: Motherwell 1 – 1 Dundee
90+3′ | 1-1
What a save that is from Carson. O’Hara looked certain to score with a point-blank header but the ‘keeper gets a huge hand onto it!
89′ | 1-1
Dundee go close as Allan clips a ball over the top and it’s knocked just past the post by McGowan. Four minutes added on.
81′ | 1-1
A let-off there as Hendry’s header comes back off the post and thankfully McHugh is there to sweep it clear.
77′ | 1-1
Motherwell will have to finish the game with ten men as Frear has now limped off with all three subs made.
76′ | 1-1
Tanner clips in free-kick from deep which Rose diverts goalwards but it lacks the power to trouble Parish.
67′ | 1-1
Incredible bit of footwork there from Tanner to get past three and setup McHugh but his shot curls wide of the post.
66′ | 1-1
Dundee sub, Allan on for El Bakhtaoui
…what a strike from Tanner but Parish gets across his line and beats it away to safety.
62′ | 1-1
Tanner wins a free-kick in a great position…
61′ | 1-1
TANNER steps up and sends Parish the wrong way!
Kipré fouled inside the box. Stonewaller….Tanner to take….
58′ | 0-1
Controversial decision there as Rose is booked for simulation. Certainly looked like contact.
56′ | 0-1
Tait, switched to the right-hand side, swings in a great ball with his left foot but Tanner can’t get on the end of Newell’s flick-on
55′ | 0-1
Bigirimana booked for pulling back Kamara
53′ | 0-1
Motherwell sub, Cadden limps off and is replaced by Rose.
51′ | 0-1
Double Motherwell change, Newell and Frear on for Bowman and Grimshaw
51′ | 0-1
Chance! Grimshaw gets into the box but his powerful shot is beaten away by Parish!
49′ | 0-1
McGowan almost makes it two with a delicate chip over Carson but the ball comes crashing back off the bar.
47′ | 0-1
Goal – McGowan opens the scoring with a great long-range strike past Carson.
Dundee gets the second 45 underway. COYW!!
HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 DundeeTranslate from German
44′ | 0-0
Close! Cadden is played in down the right and his cross/shot flies inches wide of the post! Moussa then booked for a late tackle on Hartley
39′ | 0-0
Chance! Tait’s cross in falls for Grimshaw on the edge of the box but he can’t place his shot on target and the chance goes.
35′ | 0-0
Tanner attempts a deep ball in but it’d knocked out for a corner…Dundee clear but it’s fired back into the box and Kipré can’t quite get his header goalwards.
30′ | 0-0
Tait curls in a ball from the left but in the swirling wind, it just evades the head of Tanner.
20′ | 0-0
Ball breaks for Leitch-Smith inside the box but Bigirimana makes a great sliding block. Still goalless!
18′ | 0-0
Hartley feeds the ball in to Tanner who peels off his man, turns and gets a shot away from 20 yards but it’s comfortably saved by Parish
13′ | 0-0
Free-kick for Motherwell as Bowman is bowled over about 30 yards from goal, just to the left of the box….curled in by Tait but gathered by Parish
8′ | 0-0
Chance for Dundee has Moussa’s header looped onto the top of the bar then is knocked out for a corner. From that, ref blows for a foul on Dunne
….drilled in by Tanner, headed over the bar by Hartley.
3′ | 0-0
Tait gets past Kerr but his cross is deflected wide for the first corner of the game…
1′ | 0-0
Early chance for Dundee, with Moussa heading over the bar from Kerr’s cross.
Grimshaw gets the game underway. COYW!!
Out come both sides from the tunnel. Pretty windy here at Fir Park, usual colours for both.