Grant Russell at Tynecastle Park
Motherwell demonstrated their never-say-die attitude as they earned a deserved point at the death away to Hearts.
The hosts had been on an eight-game run without conceding a goal and looked like they had kept it going until Curtis Main scrambled the ball over the line with the last action of the match.
Manager Stephen Robinson made one change to the side that defeated Ross County in midweek. Richard Tait returning from suspension, replacing Craig Tanner in a rejigged lineup.
Hearts could have had the lead after just 10 minutes but for the heroics of Trevor Carson. A low cross from Ross Callachan into the box took a deflection at the front post but the Northern Irishman’s reflexes saw him leap to turn away a certain goal.
In windy conditions, Hearts continued to apply pressure. McDonald was next to try his luck, beating Tait down the right before his attempt at a placed finish on his left foot sailed over.
Carson was then called upon to make a big double save. Naismith’s shot from distance was well blocked and then the resulting rebound from Callachan was also well beaten away by the ‘keeper.
With 28 minutes gone, the visitors had the ball in the net. Cadden’s free kick eventually found its way to Campbell to swing into the box.
Aldred met the delivery on the bounce. His shot towards goal was into the path of Main who, with his back to to goal, flicked it into the net from close range. But he was ruled offside by the linesman.
Every home fan was then on their feet protesting for a penalty as the clock hit the half hour mark.
Tom Aldred made a late diving challenge to stop the advances of a Hearts forward but, to the disagreement of the Tynecastle support, was ruled to have got his foot on the ball.
Five minutes from the break, the Steelmen were inches away from taking the lead.
Kipre’s surge down the right led to a pass to Ciftci. The forward held the ball up well before swinging a cross towards the penalty spot.
On the end of it was Main who, under pressure, beat his man to the ball with the header. But his bouncing effort found its way just wide of the right hand post at the Gorgie end.
Right on the stroke of half time, Hearts were denied by the width of the post.
Mitchell’s surge inside on the right led to a low, curling effort to the back post that had Carson beaten, but it clipped the sticks and bounced out wide.
The second half started at frantic pace, with both sides eager to get a foothold in the game.
The first big chance fell to Mitchell for the hosts. Cutting inside against from the left, his dipping shot towards the far right corner was inches over the crossbar.
Straight up the other end, Motherwell had a similarly big chance. Main was played in down the right by Campbell, with his cross into the box just too high for substitute Tanner to turn goalwards.
Straight away, Tanner found himself in again behind the defence. His surging run momentarily had him one on one with McLaughlin, before he was caught up and seemingly bundled over in the box. Referee Collum waved away the shouts for a penalty.
Motherwell found themselves pinned and restricted to chances on the counter as the hosts continued to press and press, only to consistently be resisted by a resolute visiting defence.
The chance to grab a goal on the counter almost came with 15 minutes to play. Campbell held the ball well as he surged forward down the inside left channel.
Main got the better of the defender as the ball was played into the box and steered a shot past the onrushing McLaughlin, but it failed to make it the full distance to the line before it was cleared away.
Motherwell’s resistance was finally broken with 10 minutes to play. A free kick into the box caused havoc, with the ball eventually bouncing out to the onrushing Milinkovic, who steered the ball into the bottom left corner.
Five minutes were added on as Robinson’s men battled to give the 562 travelling fans something to go home with and it looked like they had been given it deep into injury time.
Tanner’s free kick from the left into a packed box found the head of substitute Petravicius but his effort bounced wide of the right post.
Remarkably, they did it with just seconds left on the clock to end Hearts’ long run without conceding.
Tanner’s delivery deep from 40 yards was headed back across the goal by Rose. After that, a stramash ensued before the ball was eventually prodded over the line by Main.