Scottish Premiership
Motherwell4Partick Thistle3

Motherwell 4-3 Partick Thistle

Late headers from John Sutton and Stephen McManus earned a thrilling win for Motherwell against a Kallum Higginbotham-inspired Partick Thistle.

Higginbotham set up Chris Erskine for the opening goal and later converted a penalty and shot the visitors ahead with a sublime finish.

Keith Lasley levelled for 'Well before the break and Lionel Ainsworth cracked the home side into a 2-1 lead.

And, having slipped behind again, the home side rallied in a rousing finale.

Entering the 85th minute Motherwell were staring at defeat and their first dropped points against a team from the bottom half of the Premiership.

It was far from their best performance but Sutton and McManus embodied the sheer determination running through Stuart McCall's side, who remain within one point of second place, with a game in hand over Aberdeen.

Thistle, who stay in the relegation play-off spot, must have thought they were on course for a fifth league win of the season after Higginbotham had dragged them in front almost single-handedly but the visitors now find the gap to bottom team Hearts reduced to 16 points.

The Fir Park pitch was a bit worse for wear in patches after the heavy overnight rain that led to a lunchtime pitch inspection but Motherwell were moving the ball around confidently, if a little slowly, as Iain Vigurs swiped an early shot too high.

Zaine Francis-Angol was prominent throughout and good work from the left-back set up a shooting chance for James McFadden, which was blocked, with Lasley's deflected strike on the follow-up rippling against the side-netting.

The last time these teams met, Motherwell tore Thistle apart with a series of swift counter-attacks to score five, aided and abetted by some woeful defending.

Alan Archibald's men were understandably more cautious in the first half, packing men behind the ball.

It was therefore something of a surprise when the Jags went ahead thanks to a bustling run from Higginbotham.

The ball broke kindly for Erskine to tuck away despite keeper Gunnar Nielsen getting hands on the shot.

Shortly after, another enterprising break from Higginbotham teed up Prince Buaben only for Shaun Hutchinson to make a vital block.

Stung from their previous lethargy, Motherwell were level just before the interval when a Lasley strike looped off Higginbotham and spun into the far corner.

The Steelmen were much brighter in the opening minutes of the second half and the home fans were soon celebrating another goal as Ainsworth slammed in a precise shot after good work from McFadden.

Partick Thistle players celebrating
Higginbotham (far right) led Thistle's second-half revival but ultimately ended on the losing side

There were loud Thistle protests when an Aaron Taylor-Sinclair shot appeared to strike the arm of Stevie Hammell and a Buaben effort nearly squirmed under Nielsen at the home keeper's near post.

The visitors kept coming and Ainsworth's afternoon took a turn for the worse when he upended Taylor-Sinclair, with Higginbotham hammering the resultant spot-kick down the middle against his former club.

Higginbotham was suddenly unstoppable and drew a fine low save from Nielsen before driving into the box to set up Lyle Taylor, who was crowded out after taking an unnecessary touch.

The midfielder then decided to go it alone and finished off another direct run by planting a wonderful shot into the far corner of the net.

McFadden's deflected shot on the turn squeezed wide and Hutchinson's volley was tipped over by Paul Gallacher as Motherwell responded to going behind.

The late drama began in earnest when Sutton powered in a header from Ainsworth's delivery.

And three of the Fir Park stands erupted in joy as defender McManus joined the cavalry going forward and was in the right place to nod in a deep cross from Hammell.

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 12Nielsen
  • 18CarswellBooked at 57mins
  • 3Hammell
  • 14LasleyBooked at 90mins
  • 5Hutchinson
  • 6McManus
  • 17Francis-Angol
  • 11VigursSubstituted forAnierat 77'minutes
  • 7McFadden
  • 9Sutton
  • 25AinsworthBooked at 65minsSubstituted forLawsonat 90'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Lawson
  • 21Stewart
  • 23Murray
  • 24Anier
  • 26Leitch
  • 29Shirkie
  • 30Thomas

Partick Thistle

  • 12Gallacher
  • 16McMillan
  • 3Taylor-Sinclair
  • 8BanniganBooked at 82mins
  • 15Mair
  • 6BalatoniBooked at 56mins
  • 28ErskineSubstituted forElliottat 81'minutes
  • 10Buaben
  • 21TaylorSubstituted forDoolanat 78'minutes
  • 23HigginbothamSubstituted forCraigenat 84'minutes
  • 22Fraser

Substitutes

  • 1Fox
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 5Muirhead
  • 7Craigen
  • 9Doolan
  • 11Lawless
  • 14Elliott
Referee:
Stephen Finnie
Attendance:
5,048

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamPartick Thistle
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home14
Away12
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 4, Partick Thistle 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 4, Partick Thistle 3.

Attempt missed. Conrad Balatoni (Partick Thistle) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Booking

Keith Lasley (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Christie Elliott (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

James McFadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christie Elliott (Partick Thistle).

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Paul Lawson replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 4, Partick Thistle 3. Stephen McManus (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Steven Hammell with a cross.

John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Partick Thistle).

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 3, Partick Thistle 3. John Sutton (Motherwell) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lionel Ainsworth.

Substitution

Substitution, Partick Thistle. James Craigen replaces Kallum Higginbotham.

Booking

Stuart Bannigan (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

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

Foul by Stuart Bannigan (Partick Thistle).

Substitution

Substitution, Partick Thistle. Christie Elliott replaces Chris Erskine.

Substitution

Substitution, Partick Thistle. Kris Doolan replaces Lyle Taylor.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Henri Anier replaces Iain Vigurs.

Attempt missed. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

Attempt blocked. Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Paul Gallacher.

Attempt saved. Stephen McManus (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

Attempt blocked. James McFadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 2, Partick Thistle 3. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the bottom right corner.

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Stephen McManus.

Attempt blocked. Lyle Taylor (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Stuart Bannigan.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 2, Partick Thistle 2. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

Booking

Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Penalty conceded by Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Partick Thistle. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair draws a foul in the penalty area.

Foul by Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell).

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic2421304566
2Aberdeen2515371448
3Motherwell241527547
4Dundee Utd2510871338
5Inverness CT231157838
6St Johnstone23959532
7Hibernian258710-531
8Kilmarnock267514-1226
9St Mirren266614-1824
10Ross County256415-1522
11Partick Thistle2641012-1822
12Hearts265615-226
View full Scottish Premiership table

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