Dons loss just ’Well’s third defeat in 10

Jonny Hayes was a thorn in Motherwell's side at Pittodrie
Jonny Hayes was a thorn in Motherwell's side at Pittodrie

Motherwell lost only their third league game in the last 10 with Saturday’s heavy 4-1 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen took the lead via a penalty within the first five minutes when Kenny McLean comfortably shot past Connor Ripley from a spot kick awarded for Louis Laing’s challenge on Jonny Hayes.

After Stevie Hammell’s ninth minute corner had been cleared at the other end, Lionel Ainsworth’s speculative shot went straight at Aberdeen keeper Adam Collin.

Dons left back Graeme Shinnie was then booked for a bad challenge on Marvin Johnson after 22 minutes.

And the hosts went two up just four minutes later when Niall McGinn volleyed home Shay Logan’s cross from the right after a fine one-two.

On 36 minutes, Dons star man Jonny Hayes left four ‘Well players in his wake before chipping just over Ripley’s bar.

Aberdeen striker Simon Church limped off with an injury before half-time and was replaced by Adam Rooney.

The final action of the first half saw McGinn’s dangerous cross from the right just evade Ripley’s far post.

Rooney sent a looping header from Logan’s cross just wide on 56 minutes but the Dons did go three up just a minute later.

McGinn’s pinpoint free-kick from the left saw Andrew Considine’s header brilliantly saved by Ripley, but Rooney shot home the rebound.

‘Well’s response was to throw on youth cup final winning skipper Chris Cadden for Lionel Ainsworth and the move paid almost immediate dividends when Cadden scored with a deflected shot after Johnson’s cross from the right.

Louis Moult wasted a great chance to pull it back to 3-2 on 73 minutes when he shot just wide of the far post with his left foot after being put through by Scott McDonald.

And the Steelmen paid for this on 82 minutes when Hayes beat Stephen Pearson and Hall on the left and shot past Ripley.

The game ended dramatically when ‘Well skipper Keith Lasley was sent off after fouling McLean.

Referee Bobby Madden originally had a yellow card in his hand but dismissed Lasley after a discussion with his nearside assistant Alan Mulvanny.

After a melee involving players from both sides, Madden sent Motherwell assistant gaffer Steve Robinson – who recently signed a contract extension to summer 2017 – to the stand for his reaction to Lasley’s dismissal.