Scottish Premiership
Dundee Utd3Motherwell1

Scottish Premiership: Dundee United 3-1 Motherwell

Dundee United moved back into contention for second spot in the Premiership with victory over fellow Europa League contenders Motherwell.

Slack defending handed United a commanding half-time lead through Ryan Dow and Gavin Gunning.

United went three clear when Gunning doubled his tally with a free-kick straight after the break.

Motherwell responded through a John Sutton penalty, but a United win never looked in danger.

Victory saw them narrow the gap to third-placed Motherwell to six points, although United have played one game more.

With Stuart McCall's men threatening to race 12 points clear of their hosts in the race for a Europa League spot, defeat was not an option for the Tangerines.

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara

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Interview - Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara

As United rose to the occasion, Motherwell looked short of ideas and have conceded 11 goals in their last four games.

Sutton went close to opening the scoring early on when he met Keith Lasley's corner at the back post, but after that it was a dominant first half by the home side.

Andrew Robertson and Stuart Armstrong were denied by last-ditch defending after racing into the box, while John Rankin and Nadir Ciftci fired in efforts.

Motherwell's back-line were being asked plenty of questions, but the opening goal arrived all too easily for United when Dow pounced on Shaun Hutchison's poor back-pass and coolly slot the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

Sutton was still proving to be a danger whenever the visitors could bring him into the game and, when he stretched to nod the ball into the path of Iain Vigurs, the summer signing was denied by a fine Radoslaw Cierzniak save.

Back came United and Ciftci skilfully drifted past two black shirts and fired just over.

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall

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Interview - Motherwell manager Stuart McCall

Minutes later, a clever attacking move pulled Motherwell apart but Armstrong's low shot lacked any real weight and Ciftci could not finish the rebound.

The intense pressure eventually paid dividends when Gunning fired United 2-0 ahead. Ciftci was peeled away from his marker to head low into the path of the United defender, who celebrated his return from injury with an easy finish.

Only a minute into the second half Gunning found himself on a hat-trick, driving in a free-kick that took a favourable deflection off James McFadden beyond Gunnar Nielsen.

Motherwell responded, though, as Sutton's short free-kick found Lionel Ainsworth in space and his low shot tested Cierzniak.

That was followed by a needless Ciftci handball, the Turk leaping in the air and punching McFadden's free-kick - and allowing Sutton to score from the spot.

The hosts lacked the same inventiveness after that, but Gunning and Ciftci wasted opportunities inside the area before Nielson was forced into a double save to thwart Gary Mackay-Steven and Armstrong.

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 12Watson
  • 26Robertson
  • 8Rankin
  • 5Gunning
  • 3Good
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 6Paton
  • 21CiftciBooked at 57mins
  • 10ArmstrongSubstituted forConnollyat 88'minutes
  • 18DowSubstituted forEl Alaguiat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Dillon
  • 9Graham
  • 16Wilson
  • 25McCallum
  • 27Gomis
  • 29El Alagui
  • 39Connolly

Motherwell

  • 12Nielsen
  • 3Hammell
  • 17Francis-Angol
  • 14Lasley
  • 5Hutchinson
  • 6McManus
  • 25AinsworthSubstituted forReidat 67'minutes
  • 18Carswell
  • 9Sutton
  • 7McFadden
  • 11VigursSubstituted forAnierat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Hollis
  • 2Reid
  • 23Murray
  • 24Anier
  • 26Leitch
  • 29Shirkie
  • 30Thomas
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
7,029

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home19
Away8
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home13
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Dundee United 3, Motherwell 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Dundee United 3, Motherwell 1.

Foul by Farid El Alagui (Dundee United).

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

Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Steven Hammell.

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Aidan Connolly replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Attempt missed. Henri Anier (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

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

Attempt saved. Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Steven Hammell (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Steven Hammell.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by John Rankin.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Farid El Alagui replaces Ryan Dow.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Henri Anier replaces Iain Vigurs.

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Stephen McManus.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by John Rankin.

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).

Andrew Robertson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James McFadden (Motherwell).

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Reid replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

Steven Hammell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).

Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

Goal!

Goal! Dundee United 3, Motherwell 1. John Sutton (Motherwell) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Booking

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

Penalty conceded by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

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

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.

Attempt saved. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic2522304869
2Aberdeen2515371448
3Motherwell251528347
4Dundee Utd2611871541
5Inverness CT231157838
6St Johnstone249510232
7Hibernian258710-531
8Kilmarnock267514-1226
9St Mirren266614-1824
10Ross County256415-1522
11Partick Thistle2641012-1822
12Hearts265615-226
View full Scottish Premiership table

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