New on-loan signing Brian Graham marked his St Johnstone debut with a superbly headed goal to give his side their third league win of the season.

Graham came on as a second-half substitute and scored the only goal of the game four minutes from time.

John Sutton had threatened to give the hosts the lead on several occasions.

But there was to be no goal for the Steelmen as they sustained a fourth consecutive league defeat, a run not repeated since December 2009.

St Johnstone had the better of the early play and David Wotherspoon met Gary McDonald's cross on the volley only for Craig Reid to block.

Interview - Saint Johnstone boss Tommy Wright

McDonald then set up a chance for Chris Millar with a neat back heel and the midfielder's left-foot strike from 20 yards was parried away by Dan Twardzik.

Having created the early opportunities, McDonald had an effort himself with a header from of a Lee Croft cross, which Twardzik did well to hold.

Motherwell looked short of confidence, and were less than productive in an attacking sense.

An effort from Henrik Ojamaa which lacked power was easily gathered by Alan Mannus in the Saints goal.

At the other end Scott Brown drilled in a low 25-yard strike which Twardzik got right behind.

Four minutes from the break Sutton got the merest of touches to a Lionel Ainsworth cross but the big Well striker was unable to find the target.

Interested spectators included two members of the Celtic management team, assistant boss John Collins and coach John Kennedy. They were obviously doing their homework for future fixtures but the first 45 minutes would not have provided anything definitive of what these two sides are capable.

Motherwell players Stephen McManus and Keith Lasley

Motherwell had their chances but still have only three points this season

Last season the four fixtures between the Steelmen and Saints provided an average of three goals per game.

Sutton scored one of the 12 in those four encounters and he should have opened his account for this season just after the interval.

He superbly turned Tam Scobbie as a high ball was played up to him but after setting himself up for the shot on his left foot he could only deliver an effort which was more akin to a pass-back.

A few minutes later Sutton had a header from Ainsworth's corner cleared off the line by a posse of Saints bodies.

Josh Law was next to have an effort at the Saints' goal with a curling left-foot shot which flew wide.

Both managers tried to freshen up their attack to try and produce a winner and it paid off for Saints.

McDonald swung in an inviting cross from the right and Steven MacLean's replacement Graham duly accepted with a terrific header to secure victory.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Motherwell

  • 12 Twardzik
  • 15 O'Brien
  • 17 Francis-Angol (Ramsden - 81' )
  • 06 McManus
  • 02 Reid Booked
  • 08 Lawson
  • 07 Ainsworth
  • 18 Law (Erwin - 68' )
  • 14 Lasley
  • 09 Sutton
  • 24 Ojamaa (McHugh - 76' )

Substitutes

  • 05 Ramsden
  • 13 Nielsen
  • 16 McHugh
  • 19 Erwin
  • 21 Leitch
  • 28 Neill
  • 29 Cadden

St Johnstone

  • 01 Mannus
  • 24 Easton
  • 06 Anderson
  • 03 Scobbie Booked
  • 02 Mackay
  • 10 Wotherspoon
  • 22 Croft (O'Halloran - 62' )
  • 20 Brown (Lappin - 69' )
  • 07 Millar
  • 08 McDonald
  • 09 MacLean (Graham - 75' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 04 Lappin
  • 05 Wright
  • 11 Morgan
  • 14 Graham
  • 15 Banks
  • 19 Miller
  • 29 O'Halloran
Ref: Alan Muir
Att: 3,700

Match Stats

Shots

8 10

On target

3 6

Corners

3 1

Fouls

10 8

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Motherwell 0, St. Johnstone 1.

90:00 +3:17 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Motherwell 0, St. Johnstone 1.

90:00 +3:02

Attempt blocked. Lee Erwin (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

89:45

Foul by Lee Erwin (Motherwell).

89:45

Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

87:41

Attempt missed. Lee Erwin (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

87:20

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

87:20

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

85:47 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 0, St. Johnstone 1. Brian Graham (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Gary McDonald.

83:00

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

82:59

Foul by Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone).

82:09

Foul by Simon Ramsden (Motherwell).

82:09

David Mackay (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

81:33

Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

81:02

Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone) header from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

80:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Simon Ramsden replaces Zaine Francis-Angol.

79:06

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

78:05

Delay in match Mark O'Brien (Motherwell) because of an injury.

76:55

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

76:55

Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

76:36

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Brian Easton.

75:32 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Robert McHugh replaces Henrik Ojamaa.

74:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, St. Johnstone. Brian Graham replaces Steven MacLean.

74:06

Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

71:40

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Zaine Francis-Angol.

69:39

Foul by Lee Erwin (Motherwell).

69:39

Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

68:46 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, St. Johnstone. Simon Lappin replaces Scott Brown.

68:22

Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) hits the right post with a right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right.

67:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Lee Erwin replaces Josh Law.

66:45

Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

66:45

Foul by Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone).

64:48

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

64:48

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

61:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, St. Johnstone. Michael O'Halloran replaces Lee Croft.

61:16

Attempt blocked. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

58:55

Attempt missed. Josh Law (Motherwell) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.

56:06

Attempt saved. John Sutton (Motherwell) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal.

55:42

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Lee Croft.

54:00

Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

53:52

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

52:03

Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

52:03

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

51:26 Booking

Booking Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

51:12

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

51:12

Foul by Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone).

48:50

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

48:50

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

48:28

Attempt saved. John Sutton (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

45:00

Second Half begins Motherwell 0, St. Johnstone 0.

45:00 +0:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Motherwell 0, St. Johnstone 0.

43:10

Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:10

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

41:12

Attempt missed. Paul Lawson (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

30:17

Attempt saved. Scott Brown (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

26:56

Foul by Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone).

26:56

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

26:28

Attempt missed. Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

22:24

Attempt saved. Josh Law (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

21:59

Attempt saved. Gary McDonald (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

19:16 Booking

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

13:48

Foul by Paul Lawson (Motherwell).

13:48

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:00

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Brian Easton.

8:10

Attempt saved. Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

7:26

Attempt blocked. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked.

6:58

Hand ball by Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell).

5:00

Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

4:57

Foul by Mark O'Brien (Motherwell).

2:40

Foul by Scott Brown (St. Johnstone).

2:40

Keith Lasley (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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