A second half penalty from Louis Moult earned Motherwell a point in Dingwall in a match that was full of effort but little silky football. Not a bad result on a lovely day in the Highlands.
Motherwell kicked off on a perfect surface and under bright sunlight with new signing Bowman pairing McDonald in attack. Chalmers moved up a slot to make space for the returning Hammell.
Our first chance came in 20 minutes when McDonald delivered a deep cross from the left wing. Cadden, just beyond the far post and on the bye line returned it across the face of the goal but Bowman was unable to get the touch needed to cross the line.
Tait makes the clearance
There were two rash challenges in the space of as many minutes that had the referee showing yellows to Lasley and McEveley. The game continued at a high tempo with players given no time on the ball.
Woods whipped in a free kick that had Samson scrambling to clear before Tait joined the list in the book for a foul on Gardyne. County enjoyed a spell of pressure on our goal but a few saves from Samson and the thickness of the bar after a rocket from Gardyne took saw us to the break all square.
A rare sight unfolded with the second period. McManus stepped forward havng won the ball n the centre circle and soon found himself deliverng a cross only 10 yards from the opposition dead ball line. But it was Ross County that made the better start. Lasley hobbled off in 50 minutes to be replaced by Ainsworth as the home side continued to create chances.
The winger sent across a tempting low cross but it was inches from Bowman's outstreched leg. He left the fied as Moult made his return. However, we conceded two minutes later. Schalk got his head to a cross and served it to the unmarked Boyce who then had time to place the ball beyond Samson.
We were fortunate not to concede an immediate second after fierce shot and stop from Samson but the assistant's flag popped up. A the other end McDonald chased what seemed a lost cause into the County box but Fox caught him and a penalty was awarded. Moult with his first touch stroked the spot kick home to equalise.
McFadden came off the bench with 20 minutes to go as Chalmers was replaced. Skippy was then dragged down by the County centre back McEveley and his second yellow followed.
We pushed forward trying to make the best of the advantage but County reacted with the introduction of fresh legged substitutes. Moult was unlucky to see a decent effort deflected.
A wonderful opportunity fell to Ainsworth when a McDonald delivery into the box geve him a header from close range but it was directed at the 'keeper.
The game could have gone either way but the teams had to settle for a point apiece.
Ross County 1 Motherwell 1
Attendance 3,019 (199)
Team: Samson, Tait, Hammell, Heneghan, McManus, Bowman (Moult 65), Cadden, Lasley (Ainsworth 50), Chalmers, (McFadden 68), Clay, McDonald