Controversial goal helps Motherwell to big win
Scott McDonald's controversial goal helped Motherwell to a 4-2 victory which left Inverness rooted to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Motherwell were two up inside nine minutes at Fir Park thanks to goals from Chris Cadden and Louis Moult but Alex Fisher's double brought Inverness level.
However, the home side got back on top and McDonald's header was ruled to have crossed the line despite protests from the visitors, before Allan Campbell produced a more emphatic headed finish.
Motherwell's first victory in nine home matches moved them seven points above the basement club and took them out of the bottom two ahead of the split.
Teenager Campbell helped set the tone for Motherwell's busy start, feeding Cadden, who turned inside Carl Tremarco and took advantage of the space that opened up by curling a left-footed shot into the far corner from 18 yards in the seventh minute.
The hosts doubled their lead within two minutes after quickly turning defence into attack through Elliott Frear's long ball. Ryan Bowman helped the ball out to Moult and attacked the resulting cross, but the ball appeared to go straight in as Owain Fon Williams misjudged the flight in a swirling wind.
Caley Thistle's afternoon soon went from bad to worse when Tremarco hobbled off after coming off worse in Cadden's strong tackle. Inverness had already been forced into three changes thanks to injury to Billy McKay and suspensions for Gary Warren and Larnell Cole.
Fon Williams had another poor moment when he failed to hold Moult's speculative effort but the Welshman recovered to make a good stop from Bowman's follow-up.
The game changed in the 21st minute when Fisher got a deft touch on Liam Polworth's strike and diverted the ball past Craig Samson after substitute Kevin McNaughton had made a positive run up the left.
Polworth soon came close from 25 yards and Caley Thistle began to dominate possession with their midfield players playing around their opponents.
Greg Tansey and Fisher had efforts saved but Motherwell had a better chance only for Fon Williams to pull off a brilliant double stop from Bowman and Frear.
Samson also pulled off two good saves in quick succession, both from Fisher, and the game was finely poised at the interval.
There appeared to be little danger at the start of the second half for Motherwell, but Tansey's ball through the middle of their defence caught them out in the 54th minute and Fisher chipped a stranded Samson.
Lionel Ainsworth came on for Bowman and Motherwell took the initiative as they moved to a 4-4-2, but their third goal came doused in controversy in the 65th minute. Frear showed a good turn of pace and sent over an inviting cross from the right and McDonald headed off the inside of the post from close range, but assistant referee David McGeachie flagged for Willie Collum to give the goal after Fon Williams scooped the ball away.
The hosts remained on top and some persistent play from McDonald allowed him to cross for Campbell to make a forceful late run and head home from close range with 20 minutes left.