After claiming a late winner last week, David Turnbull was denied another winning goal for ‘Well when St Mirren grabbed an equaliser late into injury time.
As Motherwell were ready to celebrate an incredible seventh home win from eight games, Saints pushed everyone forward in the final attack of the game.
When the ball came to Kyle Magennis, he lashed the ball through a packed box and high beyond Gillespie to give Saints a valuable point in their bid to avoid relegation.
Keen to claim seventh place and the extra cash it would earn, ‘Well made one change from last week’s win over Dundee. Carl McHugh returned at the expense of the suspended Alex Gorrin to produce a commanding role.
It was almost the perfect start for the Fir Park men when, inside the opening three minutes, Allan Campbell watched his shot blocked by the ‘keeper. From 12 yards Gboly Ariyibi drilled the loose ball towards a begging goal, only to see Mateo Musek race back and clear the ball off the line.
A few minutes later, Mark Gillespie made his first save of the afternoon getting down to smother a low curling free kick from Kyle McAllister.
At the other end Vaclav Hladky was equally lively diving to his right to push James Scott’s 20 yard drive round his post.
A sweeping move towards the Saints’ goal midway through the half looked to have ended when came out to Liam Grimshaw but from 35 yards and few options the full back let fly with a shot which screamed narrowly past.
The ‘Well players were content to keep possession and probe for an opening in the visitor’s packed defence. That being the case though, Hladky or Gillespie for that matter, were rarely involved in a stalemate of a first half.
After a rather pedestrian paced first 45, the Paisley side started the second a bit more adventurous and subsequently play became a bit more open if a little untidy with both sides guilty of careless passing.
Fittingly the first action after 56 minutes was a result of a scramble at the edge of the box, which gave Danny Mullen sight of goal but his low shot was comfortably held by Gillespie.
A couple of minutes later uncertainty at the other end gave Scott possession with the Saint’s ‘keeper outside his box, but Hladky recovered the situation to concede a corner. David Turnbull then found some space and from 25 yards sent a drive narrowly over the bar.
With 62 minutes on the clock and in a bid to get in behind the Buddies stuffy defence Stephen Robinson made a positive change bringing on Elliot Frear for Grimshaw.
While Elliot was deployed on the right the next chance came from the opposite side when Turnbull’s free kick picked out Scott who four yards from goal could only steer his header over the cross bar.
Another free kick from Turnbull followed by a low cross from Chris Cadden eventually put pressure on Hladky as the Saints’ was stretched.
The change in ‘Well’s play was rewarded after 73 minutes. Cadden’s high ball into box was nodded down by Scott and Turnbull needed no encouragement to smash a left foot shot low past the ‘keeper for his 13th goal of the season.
That took the sting out of the travelling fans behind Gillespie’s goal. Although they were on their feet in the 79th minute when McAllister tried to catch out ‘Well with another low free kick but Gillespie got down to block before the loose ball was booted clear.
Turnbull then tried something similar at the other end with the Hladky easily holding the midfielder’s curling free kick.
The Motherwell goal hero then made way for Jamie Semple allowing the 17 year old another 10 minutes first team action. When Adam Livingston came on a few minutes later it left Motherwell with five academy graduates on the pitch.
As three minutes added time was announced, ‘Well had a great chance on the break to make certain of the points when Tom Aldred sent Elliot clear. However, with the Saints’ defence trailing and three team mates in support the ‘Well sub tamely side footed the ball to Hladky.
That was to prove a costly miss when Saints grabbed the equaliser.
A long throw into the box forced the ball as far the edge of the box where Magennis struck it sweetly high into the net and send 1,600 Buddies behind that goal crazy as they celebrated taking a precious point in their bid to avoid the drop.