Motherwell and Livingston earned a point apiece after a 1-1 draw in West Lothian. The game was big on effort and short in quality and few will argue that a draw was undeserved.
Sondre Solholm returned to centre back and Kevin van Veen was restored to the starting eleven. Stephen O’Donnell and Stuart McKinstry dropped to the bench.
Motherwell got the scrappy contest underway on the freezing Almondvale plastic and ball flew high from end to end as both teams launch long. With fifteen minutes gone a bizarre VAR saga unfolded.
An awkward bounce caused a handball penalty to be awarded to Livingston. Lamie was unfortunate as he had his back to the action. Nicky Devlin fired to the left corner but Liam Kelly anticipated and made the save. The loose ball disappeared in a ruck at the post and it ended up in the net. After a five minute adjudication the penalty was retaken. Apparently Kelly was off his line and a subsequent hand forced the ball over the line. The crowd waited in bemusement as the shenanigans unfolded. Kelly then repeated his save as Devlin fired for a second time at the same corner.
Van Veen had a couple of chances before the goal action just ahead of the break. A Sean Goss free kick was headed back across the box by Rick Lamie and KVV was able to place a shot on target. Next, a careless piece of defending allowed Blair Spittal to step into the penalty area and set the big striker up for another opportunity. This time George had to produce a fine save from a powerful shot.
Livingstone took the lead from a set piece on the left wing. The deep crossed ball was met by the head of Morgan Boyes and Motherwell were a goal down.
The equaliser arrived three minutes later when van Veen reacted to George’s parry to hook the ball into the net.
Motherwell probably had the better of the second period and the best chance again fell to van Veen. Connor Shields tested the ‘keeper and the ball fell nicely for the striker in the centre of the area. The goal was gaping but he had too much height on his effort and it rattled the bar. It was a bad miss.
There were a few half chances at either end and Motherwell finished the more aggressive but after three additional minutes the game ended all square.
Only a better goal difference keeps Motherwell above the play-off spot and the need for a few good additions to the squad is clear for all to see. Apart from van Veen at one end and Kelly at the other there is very little in between.
Livingston 1 Motherwell 1
Team: Kelly, Solholm, McGinn, Lamie, Penney, Goss, Slattery, Spittal, Cornelius, van Veen, Shields (McKinstry 77)
Monday 2 January 2023