Motherwell lost to Dundee United despite an opener from Kevin van Veen. Two second half concessions delivered a 2-1 defeat.
An unchanged Motherwell side were unable to maintain the high standard established under Stuart Kettlewell’s command and the visitors took advantage. Van Veen scored one but he will regret the second half miss that might have tipped the contest his way.
It was evident from the opening spell that Motherwell were below recent standards. United bossed the first twenty minutes and but for an off the line clearance from a Fletcher header they might have taken the lead.
Motherwell took an unexpected lead midway through the half. Mikael Mandron passed to Max Johnston and the cross from the right found van Veen. The striker needed two chances but the goal quietened the 1,500 travelling fans and hinted that the form team might take control.
Blair Spittal might have doubled the lead as the break beckoned but his low drive was held by Birighitti.
It seemed that a second goal had been scored by van Veen but after a long VAR consultation it was decided that his run on goal was offside.
United picked up the pace and piled on pressure in front of the away support. Liam Kelly did well to block Harkes’ close range shot. The ‘keeper set up a chance when his long ball was headed forward by both Mandron and van Veen to provide Johnston with a clear shot but he missed the target.
The telling miss came after van Veen pounced on slack defending. He was able to run in on goal but the ‘keeper got a vital touch to send the ball for a corner.
The equaliser came after the hour. Harkes was able to cut back from the dead ball line and Niskanen slipped the ball into the net.
The final goal of the afternoon came from the spot. Kelly was judged to have fouled Fletcher despite touching the ball to safety. VAR confirmed the decision and McGrath scored.
Kettlewell threw on three substitutes but to no effect.
The visitors showed more appetite and can hardly be grudged their win.
Motherwell 1 Dundee United 2
Attendance 6,391 (1,473)
Team: Kelly, Johnston, Casey, Butcher, McGinn, Furlong (McKinstry 84), Spittall, Goss, Cornelius (Paton 72), Mandron (Aitchison 72), Van Veen
Saturday 15 April 2023