Scottish Premiership
Motherwell2St Johnstone1

Motherwell 2-1 St Johnstone

Stephen McManus's fourth goal of the season secured a win for Motherwell to virtually ensure they will be playing European football again next season.

Lionel Ainsworth's cross evaded goalkeeper Alan Mannus to put the Steelmen in front but Dave Mackay headed Saints level.

But McManus's headed goal 11 minutes before the interval ensured three points for the Fir Park side.

And victory puts Well one point behind second-place Aberdeen.

The result also brings to an end Saints' unbeaten run with the Perth side suffering their first defeat in eight matches.

The first early chance fell the way of the home side with their skipper Keith Lasley firing a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.

It was a positive start from Motherwell and with their next effort James McFadden should have done better than shoot weakly at Mannus following a fine passing move.

St Johnstone were on the back foot but they did look dangerous on the counter attack and when David Wotherspoon sent Stevie May away he made a poor connection to send his shot wide.

Ainsworth was next to threaten the Saints' goal with a powerful strike and goalkeeper Alan Mannus was relieved to push the ball to safety.

Ainsworth's cross found its way into the net

However, Mannus was soon a frustrated man when Ainsworth's cross from the right curled over the keeper before nestling in the net.

The lead was short-lived though, Mackay equalising with a free header from Wotherspoon's corner.

Freedom in the opposition penalty box was evident again when Motherwell took advantage to regain the lead.

McManus was the unmarked man on this occasion with the defender directing a header goalward from a Vigurs free-kick.

Steven Anderson tried to stop it with his hand but the ball crossed the line. After a short delay, referee Kevin Clancy awarded the goal and booked Anderson to further upset the visitors.

St Johnstone enjoyed more of the possession early in the second half but were slightly over elaborate in the build-up around the edge of the Motherwell penalty area.

May turned inside Lasley as the Motherwell skipper looked to challenge and the striker went down looking for a penalty. The referee went to his pocket for the yellow card and it was the Saints player who was booked for simulation.

Wotherspoon fired an effort narrowly wide before Well came close to adding a third through substitute Henri Anier, whose strike took the slightest of deflections to steer it wide of the post.

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 1Hollis
  • 2Reid
  • 3Hammell
  • 14Lasley
  • 5HutchinsonBooked at 64mins
  • 6McManus
  • 25Ainsworth
  • 11Vigurs
  • 7McFaddenSubstituted forAnierat 70'minutes
  • 9Sutton
  • 17Francis-AngolSubstituted forKerrat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12Nielsen
  • 20Kerr
  • 22Moore
  • 23Murray
  • 24Anier
  • 26Leitch
  • 30Thomas

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 19Miller
  • 24B EastonBooked at 43mins
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forHasselbainkat 81'minutes
  • 2MackayBooked at 36mins
  • 6Anderson
  • 7Millar
  • 12DunneSubstituted forMcDonaldat 86'minutes
  • 9MacLean
  • 17MayBooked at 60mins
  • 29O'HalloranSubstituted forCroftat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Cregg
  • 8McDonald
  • 11Hasselbaink
  • 15Banks
  • 22Croft
  • 23Clancy
  • 25Iwelumo
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
7,201

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home8
Away6
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home19
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 2, St Johnstone 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, St Johnstone 1.
Corner, St Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Reid.
Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).
Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hand ball by Steve May (St Johnstone).
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
Gary Miller (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt saved. Gary Miller (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Chris Millar (St Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Gary McDonald replaces James Dunne.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Steven Anderson.
Attempt blocked. Henri Anier (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).
David Mackay (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Nigel Hasselbaink replaces David Wotherspoon.
Attempt missed. Steve May (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Fraser Kerr replaces Zaine Francis-Angol.
Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).
David Mackay (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).
Brian Easton (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Henri Anier replaces James McFadden.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
Steven Anderson (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, St Johnstone. Lee Croft replaces Michael O'Halloran.
Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).
David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).
Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell).
David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Craig Reid (Motherwell).

Booking

Steve May (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.
Steve May (St Johnstone) has gone down, but that's a dive.
Foul by Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell).
Michael O'Halloran (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
David Mackay (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by David Wotherspoon (St Johnstone).
Attempt missed. Michael O'Halloran (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Second Half

Second Half begins Motherwell 2, St Johnstone 1.

Half Time

First Half ends, Motherwell 2, St Johnstone 1.
Steven Hammell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Steven MacLean (St Johnstone).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match John Sutton (Motherwell) because of an injury.

Booking

Brian Easton (St Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.
John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Brian Easton (St Johnstone).
Foul by Craig Reid (Motherwell).
Steve May (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Stephen McManus (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Steve May (St Johnstone).
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic3630517595
2Aberdeen3619891465
3Motherwell3620412264
4Dundee Utd361610101958
5Inverness CT3615912-154
6St Johnstone3615714852
7St Mirren3610818-1838
8Hibernian3681117-1835
9Partick Thistle3671415-2035
10Ross County369720-2034
11Kilmarnock359620-1833
12Hearts359719-2319
View full Scottish Premiership table

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