The opening exchanges made it clear that both teams were determined to keep the ball on the deck and to guard possession. There was little evidence in the first ten minutes of the incident packed afternoon which lay ahead.
A cold November day in Motherwell
United opened the scoring just before the quarter hour when a half clearance fell to Webster at the eighteen yard line. His accurate low drive beat Ruddy at his left post though the keeper may have been unsighted as the shot was struck. Before any gloom had time to settle in the home stands Sutton had the equaliser.
It seemed that Forbes would score but a desperate tackle cleared when he was about to shoot. Sutton grabbed the leveller from the corner that followed. There was more to come and we had the lead on the half hour. Jutkiewicz took a long ball from Hammell on his chest and his turn gave him space for a shot from the left side of the box. Weaver would be disappointed not to keep it out but there was little thought of him as the team celebrated in at the East Stand corner.
Ruddy was called into action either side of the break. Both saves were low at the post and his performance continues his run of good form. Gannon took the initiative in 56 minutes when he choose to make a double substitution. Lasley and O'Brien were introduced at the expense of Forbes and Murphy. It seemed like a strange decision as United were not threatening to equalise and we continued to have decent possession. Levein countered by introducing Goodwillie and Daly for Myrie-Williams and Cadamarteri.
Prince Bauben saw red for a second yellow with over twenty minutes remaining and Motherwell had yet another opportunity to finish off a team comprising ten opponents. It seemed that we had a plan. We held the ball, passed it from wing to wing and forced United to work hard. Unfortunately we lacked the cutting edge needed to turn possession into a decisive third goal.
The warning signs began to appear and when Lasley's careless loss of possession inside the last ten minutes caused a panic the team had its final warning. Ruddy saved our blushes at that stage but in 83 minutes Daly grabbed a fine equaliser when our defence was caught napping. Dixon's crossed ball was not cut out and Daly was unmarked for the easy tap in.
Swanson was given a straight red for a sliding challenge on Lasley right in from of the home dugout. Whether deserved or not we failed to take advantage. A frantic ending failed to provide a winner and a fine instinctive arm from Weaver earned a point for the visitors.
Our long unbeaten run has continued but the frustrations are building up that we do the hard work then fail to finish off weakened opposition.