Ian Baraclough enjoyed victory in his first game as Motherwell manager against 10-man St Mirren in a game mired in controversy.
Baraclough made two changes for the visit to Paisley with Lionel Ainsworth and Craig Reid replacing Iain Vigurs and Zaine Francis-Angol.
Ainsworth and Reid almost got ’Well off to a flyer as the former scampered down the left and his cross fell for Reid, but his shot was blocked and Keith Lasley on the follow up saw his effort go wide.
John Sutton then sent a hanging ball towards the edge of the box for the onrushing Josh Law who headed off target.
At the other end a ball forward by Jeroen Tesselaar looked harmless but Jason Naismith got in on the blind side and sliced his shot wide.
On 18 minutes St Mirren were reduced to 10 men as Stephen Thompson caught Mark O’Brien on the knee with his studs as they contested a 50/50 and referee Alan Muir flashed a red card.
However, the home side didn’t look overly handicapped and Dan Twardzik was called into action to save from Jim Goodwin and Reid headed away a goalbound Marc McAusland header.
At the other end Mark Ridgers was called into action to save a Law shot as the half ended goalless.
Two minutes into the second half Kenny McLean thought he had given the Buddies the lead from a Stephen Mallan corner, but his downward header twice bounced up and hit and underside of the crossbar and the officials determined the ball hadn’t cross the line.
Tesselaar then got clear to lob the ball into the net, but was wrongly flagged offside.
It looked liked it wouldn’t be bottom of the table St Mirren’s day and so it proved on 72 minutes.
Henrik Ojamaa cut in from the left and played a one-two with Ainsworth before sliding in Law and his low cross was tucked away by SUTTON.
Baraclough gave young midfielder Dom Thomas his debut in the closing stages in place of Ainsworth.
Four minutes into stoppage time Twardzik made a hash of gathering McLean’s soft free kick, but managed to recover just in time before a horde of St Mirren players could claim an equaliser.
St Mirren: Ridgers, Naismith, Goodwin, Tesselaar, McAusland, Mallan, Osbourne (Reilly 83), McLear (Wylde 78), McLean, McGinn (Ball 83), Thompson. Subs not used: Kello, Marwood, Kelly, Drury.
Motherwell: Twardzik, Reid, Carswell, McManus, Ainsworth (Thomas 85), Sutton, Lasley, O’Brien (Kerr 46), Law, Ojamaa, Ferguson (Erwin 46). Subs not used: Nielsen, Neill, Cadden, MacLean.
Referee: Alan Muir.