’Well slip five points behind Saints

Motherwell's Chris Cadden holds his head after missing a second half chance (Pic by Alan Watson)
Motherwell's Chris Cadden holds his head after missing a second half chance (Pic by Alan Watson)

Motherwell slipped five points behind fourth placed St Johnstone after crashing 2-1 to the Saints in their final home Scottish Premiership game of the season.

Yet the Steelmen took the lead after just three minutes of Saturday’s encounter when Scott McDonald headed into an empty net after Chris Cadden had challenged for the ball with Saints keeper Zander Clark.

St Johnstone replied with Graham Cummins’ 10th minute header being saved by ’Well custodian Connor Ripley.

There then followed two dazzling bits of skill down the left wing in quick succession by Marvin Johnson. His second cross was volleyed wide by Lionel Ainsworth.

In an end to end first half, St Johnstone’s Liam Craig sent a left footed shot against the base of Ripley’s left post on 15 minutes.

’Well went straight to the other end and Cadden volleyed tamely at Clark after Kieran Kennedy’s cross from the right had been headed down by Louis Moult.

Play was then delayed after the Steelmen’s skipper Keith Lasley hit the deck after being run into by Saints’ Danny Swanson.

A fine 24th minute pass by Stephen Pearson then sent Johnson clear on the left and his cross was put wide by McDonald.

And ’Well paid for this miss when Saints netted a 33rd minute leveller via Steven MacLean, who volleyed in after Brian Easton’s cross from the left.

After Saints’ Darnell Fisher had been yellow carded for a bad foul on Johnson, ’Well missed two chances to score in quick succession when firstly Cadden’s brilliant cross from the right had no takers and then Johnson shot just over from an Ainsworth pass.

And the visitors hit Motherwell with a classic sucker punch on 44 minutes when an unmarked Danny Swanson slotted home after David Wotherspoon’s cross from the right.

If the first half was end to end and exciting, the second half was the opposite.

One of the few openings saw McDonald volley just wide for the hosts before St Johnstone’s Joe Shaughnessy headed over Craig’s corner from the right.

Ripley saved from Wotherspoon on 55 minutes before Cadden blazed wildly over from Moult’s knockdown.

St Johnstone sub Chris Kane fired an 86th minute cross into the danger area but there were no takers.

’Well sub Jack Leitch was booked for a foul on Easton and McDonald sent a late volley wide to end a bad afternoon for Motherwell.