Motherwell missed the chance to create a three point gap over St Johnstone and had to settle for a point after a 1-1 draw.
It was the third stalemate of the season between the Lanarkshire and Perthshire teams but on this occasion it was the Saints that were forced into time wasting tactics as the game drew to a close. Motherwell fell behind to an early goal but patient play produced an equaliser before the break. The second half should have produced a winning goal for the ‘Well.
Andy Halliday replaced the crocked Adam Montgomery as Stuart Kettlewell’s thin squad took to the field. They were behind inside the first five minutes. A free kick from wide on the right flew into the packed six yard box and after a moment’s bagatelle Ryan McGowan prodded the ball over the line. A long VAR chack followed but the goal stood.
The visitors stuck to their own rhythm and resisted the temptation of upfield charges. At times there were many square passes as St Johnstone set up defence at the halfway line. The way forward came down the left as Georgie Gent delivered a few tempting balls across the face of goal.
The equaliser came from the same wing but it was Blair Spittal the provider. Theo Bair rose to glance a header in off the far post. Earlier the striker had fired point blank at Mitov.
The home side came close when the speedy Kimpioka ran clear but his lob of Kelly was off target.
Motherwell were by far the better side in the second period. Confidence grew as the half wore on and chances appeared. Harry Paton had a couple of golden chances. First came a fifteen yard shot with the goal gaping. His shot was wide of the post. Next was a great through ball by Sam Nicholson that released Paton into the left of the penalty area. He was forced wide when an early shot might have won the game.
Spittal forced the ‘keeper into a save with a 20 yard free kick.
The point extends the unbeaten run to four and delivers another poindvantage over the bottom pair. Still, three points would have been deserved.
St Johnstone 1 Motherwell 1
Team: Kelly, Halliday (Lennon 60), O’Donnell, McGinn, Mugabi, Gent, Spittal, Zdravkovski (Nicholson 80), Butcher, Paton, Bair
Saturday 27 January 2024