This game had a frightening familiarity about it. We conceded one of our trademark early goals and finished by losing one deep into injury time. Just to add salt to the wound we managed to collect seven yellow cards in a game without a bad tackle.
Smith produced a great save at this free kick.
Paul Quinn was embarrassed in three minutes when the speedy Sproule flew by him to reach the dead ball line. His cut back found Fletcher and Smith was beaten. To our credit the players buckled down to the task and soon had a couple of corners as pressure was applied to the Hibs goal.
McDonald scrambled the equaliser in sixteen minutes and the rest of the half was evenly balanced. We made little of our spells of possession and wayward passing by both sides restricted the goalmouth action.
Smith produced the first of a series of high class saves on the half hour mark when he threw himself to his right and with a desperate lunge with his right arm the goal-bound ball was tipped away.
The second half was one way traffic. Almost all the play took place in our last third. Quinn seemed to have the measure of Sproule and we dug in to hold try to secure a point. The referee eventually earned a police escort from the pitch but not before he managed to brandish seven yellow cards to Motherwell players.
Smith produced another goal saving effort with twenty minutes left. The clock continued to run down and, much against the run of play, McDonald almost sneaked a goal. He raced in on a short pass back and got a touch but the lob was too high. That was our only effort in the second spell.
O’Donnell replaced McBride as our defence grew more frantic but it looked like we could escape with a point. The fourth official declared that three additional minutes were to be played and the clocked ticked on. Riordan made space in the right side of the box and his low effort beat the keeper.
It was a tough blow but we can hardly claim that the home team did not deserve the win.