Motherwell survived a late onslaught from Ross County to remain hot on the heels of Aberdeen in the race for second place in the Premiership.

James McFadden followed up a powerful strike from Iain Vigurs to knock the Steelmen in front on 48 minutes.

And the home side doubled their lead in similar fashion when John Sutton was first to the loose ball as Mark Brown kept out Craig Moore's swerving shot.

A volley from Yann Songo'o ensured a tense finish but 'Well held on.

With the league's top six all winning this weekend, Stuart McCall's side remain level on points with Aberdeen, although they have played one more game than their rivals.

It was a sixth win in their last seven league matches at Fir Park but it was a nervous finish for the home fans as Richie Brittain hit the post and Songo'o went close to a second goal.

With both starting line-ups unchanged, Motherwell enjoyed the larger share of early possession, with the movement of McFadden and Sutton troubling the visitors.

However, the first good opening fell to County as defender Stephen McManus misjudged Brown's long kick-out and glanced the ball towards his own goal. The alert Jordan Slew ran on and cracked a shot with power but it flew the wrong side of the post.

Motherwell responded with two chances in two minutes. Shaun Hutchinson failed to get a full connection on Lionel Ainsworth's cross and sent his header wide while Brown had to be at his best to stretch out and claw the ball away from McFadden's deft flick.

The first half closed with Motherwell in the ascendancy and Lasley shot wide following good work from Ainsworth.

The home side took only three minutes of the second half to break the stalemate as Sutton fed the ball back to Vigurs to strike from 25 yards.

The former County midfielder's stinging shot was saved by Brown diving across to his left but the keeper could do nothing as McFadden pounced quickly to find the net.

The lead was extended on the hour as Moore, on for McFadden, conjured up a swerving effort that Brown could only push away and Sutton was on hand to apply the finish - although he lifted the ball higher into the net than he may have intended.

It has been a fixture that Sutton has flourished in this season - netting in all three games, scoring five goals in the process.

Motherwell looked comfortable but County stuck to their task and Brittain almost pulled a goal back after 78 minutes when he sent a shot across Gunnar Neilson, beating the goalkeeper, but striking the foot of the post.

The Staggies did get on the scoresheet with nine minutes to play when Songo'o knocked in a Graham Carey corner for his third goal of the season, sparking a frantic push for an equaliser from the visitors.

And it was Songo'o who came closest when he skilfully brought down a ball into the penalty box and hit a shot on the turn but it was just off target.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Motherwell

  • 12 Nielsen
  • 02 Reid
  • 03 Hammell
  • 18 Carswell
  • 05 Hutchinson
  • 06 McManus Booked
  • 25 Ainsworth (Francis-Angol - 76' )
  • 14 Lasley
  • 09 Sutton
  • 07 McFadden (Moore - 56' Booked )
  • 11 Vigurs

Substitutes

  • 17 Francis-Angol
  • 21 Stewart
  • 22 Moore
  • 23 Murray
  • 24 Anier
  • 26 Leitch
  • 30 Thomas

Ross County

  • 01 Brown
  • 02 Cikos (Saunders - 78' )
  • 26 Oikonomou
  • 08 Brittain
  • 05 Boyd
  • 28 Songo'o
  • 07 Kiss (Carey - 50' )
  • 12 Tidser
  • 27 Arquin
  • 11 De Leeuw Booked (Glen - 71' )
  • 25 Slew

Substitutes

  • 03 Gordon
  • 10 Quinn
  • 15 Glen
  • 21 McLean
  • 22 Saunders
  • 23 Carey
  • 42 McCarthy
Ref: Iain Brines
Att: 4,080

Match Stats

Shots

9 3

On target

6 1

Corners

5 4

Fouls

4 5

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Motherwell 2, Ross County 1.

90:00 +2:51 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, Ross County 1.

90:00 +1:33

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Boyd.

81:21 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 2, Ross County 1. Yann Songo'o (Ross County) right footed shot from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Graham Carey.

81:05

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Zaine Francis-Angol.

79:26

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Evangelos Oikonomou.

77:33 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Steven Saunders replaces Erik Cikos.

77:06

Richard Brittain (Ross County) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box.

75:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Zaine Francis-Angol replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

75:07 Booking

Booking Stephen McManus (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

75:00

Michael Tidser (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

74:43

Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

70:42 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Gary Glen replaces Melvin De Leeuw.

66:29 Booking

Booking Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.

66:24

(Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

66:24

Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County).

65:22

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Steven Hammell.

62:27 Booking

Booking Craig Moore (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

62:22

Foul by Craig Moore (Motherwell).

62:22

Erik Cikos (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

59:53 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 2, Ross County 0. John Sutton (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Craig Moore.

56:25

Hand ball by Yoann Arquin (Ross County).

55:59 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Moore replaces James McFadden because of an injury.

54:16

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Erik Cikos.

53:45

Attempt saved. James McFadden (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

53:00

Stuart Carswell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:53

Foul by Michael Tidser (Ross County).

51:39

Attempt saved. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

49:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Graham Carey replaces Filip Kiss because of an injury.

47:13 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 1, Ross County 0. James McFadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

45:00

Second Half begins Motherwell 0, Ross County 0.

45:00 +0:45 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Motherwell 0, Ross County 0.

38:14

Attempt saved. James McFadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

35:53

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Craig Reid.

33:23

Attempt missed. Stuart Carswell (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

30:46

Attempt saved. James McFadden (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

28:43

Attempt missed. Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

28:11

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Yann Songo'o.

27:36

Attempt missed. Jordan Slew (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

26:30

Foul by Jordan Slew (Ross County).

26:30

Stephen McManus (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

24:09

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Craig Reid.

21:30

Foul by Craig Reid (Motherwell).

21:30

Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16:43

Attempt missed. James McFadden (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

11:19

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

11:19

Jordan Slew (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:56

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Evangelos Oikonomou.

7:34

Foul by Yoann Arquin (Ross County).

7:34

Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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