Motherwell guaranteed safety and moved up to seventh with a 2-0 win against St Johnstone.
An excellent afternoon’s work in Perth ended with Kevin van Veen scoring from the spot to extend his remarkable scoring streak. An added time first league goal from Mikael Mandron sealed the victory. It was hardly a footballing classic but the journey back home will be a happy one.
There was a return to the starting eleven for Steven O’Donnell in place of Max Johnston as the game got underway in the glorious Perthshire sunshine.
The home side dominated the early proceedings although they faced a resilient Motherwell defence that prevented any real threat on Liam Kelly’s goal. The visitors had to resort to balls released over the top to fashion any attacks and the first of those came midway through the half. Predictably the ball fell to Kevin van Veen and he choose to let fly from 20 yards but his effort was high.
The striker got the ball in the net ten minutes later but the offside flag was justified following a VAR check.
The breakthrough came five minutes after the restart. Stephen O’Donnell was fouled by Considine as he collected a pass from van Veen and the referee immediately awarded a penalty. Matthews saved van Veen’s shot but the ‘keeper was off his line. There was no mistake at the second attempt.
The pattern of the game hardly changed as St Johnstone pushed into the ‘Well half without creating much.
Mandron might have scored five minutes before the end but he was inches short of converting a ball across the goal face. The Frenchman got his reward in added time. Dean Cornelius and Blair Spittal combined to set up the chance and the strike in front of the away fans sparked the winning celebrations.
With three games remaining recovery from the awful first half of the season is complete. Stuart Kettlewell has had a fantastic start to his Motherwell career.
St Johnstone 0 Motherwell 2
Team: Kelly, O’Donnell (Mugabi 89), Casey, Butcher, McGinn, Furlong, Spittall (Paton 68, Goss, Slattery, Mandron, Van Veen(Cornelius 89)
Saturday 13 May 2023