Motherwell slip to second bottom after Thistle defeat

Lionel Ainsworth came on as a second half substitute for Motherwell at Partick Thistle (Pic by Ian McFadyen)
Lionel Ainsworth came on as a second half substitute for Motherwell at Partick Thistle (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Motherwell dropped into the second bottom relegation play-off position after a frustrating 1-0 defeat at Partick Thistle on Saturday.

Kris Doolan did the damage for Thistle with a first half strike and in truth it was the Steelmen’s poor first half display which ultimately led to their downfall.

Zak Jules tries to make inroads for Motherwell down the left wing (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Zak Jules tries to make inroads for Motherwell down the left wing (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

The first goal attempt at Firhill came after just two minutes when ’Well youngster Shea Gordon’s cross from the right was met by a Scott McDonald header at the back post which was deflected wide.

After 10 minutes of largely scrappy play following this, Thistle scored when Chris Erskine skinned Ben Heneghan on the left wing and crossed for top scorer Doolan to slot low past Craig Samson.

That was the prelude to a period of almost total Thistle dominance for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes at a sunkissed stadium.

Adam Barton’s powerful 25th minute free-kick from outside the box only just missed the top left corner, before a fine Steven Lawless run ended with a shot blocked.

Barton headed a Doolan corner well wide and the Steelmen then had a very lucky escape when Doolan’s left footed shot was deflected off Carl McHugh and onto the bar with Samson beaten.

Doolan was then put clean through on Samson but shot off target with his left foot.

Motherwell’s woeful first half display saw manager Stephen Robinson replace Craig Clay and Elliott Frear at the interval, with Keith Lasley and Lionel Ainsworth coming on.

Motherwell did improve in the second half and went close on the hour when Gordon’s cross from the left narrowly evaded McDonald.

There was a very close call on 68 minutes when Thistle keeper Tomas Cerny did brilliantly to claw away Ryan Bowman’s powerful header from Keith Lasley’s free-kick.

Lawless shot wide for Thistle before ’Well produced a period of pressure which culminated in Lasley shooting powerfully over.

McHugh headed wide as ’Well pushed for a leveller, following a short corner routine between Ainsworth and Lasley.

The visitors kept plugging away but were unable to score in the dying minutes and crashed to a damaging defeat.

Eleventh placed Motherwell are now level on points with Hamilton but below the Accies on goal difference.

The result places even more importance on Motherwell’s home game against bottom club Inverness Caledonian Thistle this Saturday.