Motherwell rescued a point with yet another goal in additional time as Bevis Mugabi’s own goal almost presented St Johnstone with all three points.
Despite repeatedly lamenting the loss of goals to set pieces, a cross into the box led to Bevis Mugabi deflecting the ball into his own net to give Saints the lead at the start of the second half.
However, in the first minute of added on time Mika Biereth leapt to head home his sixth goal of the season and grab the home side a point when his team seemed destined to finish empty handed.
Stuart Kettlewell, in an attempt to rediscover their winning form, was hindered in his selection by injury and suspension, particularly in front of Liam Kelly.
That forced a back three of Stephen O’Donnell, Bevis Mugabi and Shane Blaney, faced with the task of shoring up a defence which has conceded the most goals in the cinch Premiership. In front of them, Davor Zdravkovski and Georgie Gent were given their first starts of the season.
Craig Levein set up Saints with two up front clearly intent on testing the new look ‘Well defence from the start.
In a scrappy opening 20 minutes it reflected on two teams at the wrong end of the league table as both sets of players were guilty of misplaced passes and petty fouls.
Not for the last time, referee Euan Anderson ignored a challenge on Brodie Spencer at the edge of the box which ultimately allowed Graham Carey to test Kelly from 20 yards.
Almost immediately, Gent, revelling in a natural left wing role, earned ‘Well’s first corner as he powered towards the Saints’ byeline.
In the 27th minute the on-loan Blackburn defender latched on to a cross from Spencer and Gent’s powerful left foot volley took a deflection off James Brown before forcing Mitov to save low in front of his right post.
A couple of minutes later Jon Obika broke through the middle but with Biereth in support he elected to shoot from 18 yards, his weak effort posing no problems for the ‘keeper.
As the game continued to flow towards the Saints goal, Mirov got down to block Blair Spittal’s low drive after Callum Slattery had set him up at the edge of the box.
Although little had been seen of Biereth, his powerful run towards the six-yard box forced a last gasp tackle from Ryan McGowan as ‘Well ended the first half in control and only lacking a goal their first half performance possibly deserved.
Motherwell restarted on the front foot and after five minutes fine build up on the right ended with Mitov firmly holding Slattery’s curling shot from 20 yards.
Two minutes later, though, the Steelmen once again shot themselves in the foot from a set piece.
The ‘Well defence looked organised as Matt Smith floated a free kick into a packed box. But as Kelly raced out beyond his six-yard box to claim the ball it sped past him rebounding of the helpless Mugabi and into his own net to concede a horrible opening goal.
That knocked the wind and any confidence out of the home side as they pushed towards Saints’ goal more in hope than anything else.
With 20 minutes remaining Oli Shaw replaced Obika as ‘Well desperately searched for an equaliser.
However, it was the Perth side who almost found the net again when Carey’s curling free kick skipped off the top of the cross bar with Kelly stretching to tip it over.
As the clock moved toward the last ten minutes Theo Bair and Conor Wilkinson were given the chance to salvage something from the game.
Bair made an immediate impact collecting the ball on the right and dragging it across the box before his drive forced Mitov to save low to his right.
The ‘Well sub produced a second save from the ‘keeper when Biereth’s lob into the box gave Bair a free header from eight yards but once again Mitov denied him with a comfortable save.
Then in added time Bair turned provider. From wide left he fired the ball across goal to find Biereth rising high to bullet a stunning header high into the corner for a last gasp equaliser.