Motherwell have Sol Johansen to thank for a 1-0 win at Tannadice to send Dundee United to the bottom of the table.
The big defender’s first half header and a VAR decision that dismissed Tony Watt delivered three points to Lanarkshire. It was nowhere near Motherwell’s best showing of the season but the win ended a run of losses and increases the gap from the foot of the league.
Shields returned to the starting line-up as Ross Tierney was dropped to the bench. United got the game underway and had the better of the opening spell. After four corners inside the first ten minutes Fletcher pounced on a poor defensive clearance and blasted off target.
Motherwell began to push forward with Matt Penney’s runs up the left wing offering encouragement. On the other flank Kevin Van Veen collected a ball over the top and ran into the right side of the penalty area. Shields was presented with the ball at his feet dead centre and 9 yards from goal but his effort flew over the bar.
The winning goal arrived when Blair Spittal chipped a cross into the middle of the area. Solholm met it with a powerful header. Birighitti got an upstretched hand to it but it did not clear the bar and dropped over the goal line.
Another decisive moment arrived just before the break. Tony Watt clashed with Sean Goss on the halfway line. It looked like his foot was high and John Beaton let play run on. With Goss still on the deck the VAR official called the referee to review his decision and a red card was awarded. The cheer from the 500 Motherwell fans matched that for the goal.
A tense and nervous second half followed. Motherwell seemed to concentrate more on defending than attacking despite holding the numerical advantage. There was no urgency to move forward and the home side grabbed the initiative. Liam Kelly had more than a few harsh words with his colleagues. He produced a fine save to thwart United’s substitute Ian Hartes.
The final whistle arrived to calm the nerves and allow the players and fans to enjoy the result
Dundee United 0 Motherwell 1
Attendance 7,581 (508)
Team: Kelly, McGinn, Solholm (Mugabi 60), Lamie, Penney, Goss, Slattery (Maguire 74), McKinstry, Spittal (Morris 74), Shields (Cornelius 60), Van Veen
Saturday 29 October 2022