Motherwell 2-1 Kilmarnock: Motherwell up to third place thanks to Donnelly and Cole goals

Liam Donnelly is congratulated by Jake Carroll after firing Motherwell 1-0 ahead against Kilmarnock (Pic by Ian McFadyen)
Liam Donnelly is congratulated by Jake Carroll after firing Motherwell 1-0 ahead against Kilmarnock (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Motherwell leapfrogged Kilmarnock into third place in the Scottish Premiership by beating the 10-man Ayrshire side 2-1 at a chilly Fir Park on Wednesday night.

Goals by Liam Donnelly and Devante Cole won it for the Steelmen against a Killie side who lost defender Alex Bruce to a straight red card early on.

Killie keeper Laurentiu Branescu looked suspect at Motherwell's opener from a low Donnelly free-kick (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Killie keeper Laurentiu Branescu looked suspect at Motherwell's opener from a low Donnelly free-kick (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

The first chance arrived for the hosts - playing in their smart white away kit - on six minutes when Liam Donnelly took a Liam Polworth pass, advanced forward and struck a right footed shot from 20 yards which went just too high.

There was drama on 12 minutes when Killie defender Bruce was shown a red card for bringing down Chris Long.

Things got worse for the Ayrshire side when Donnelly cracked home the resultant free-kick low into the left corner, with keeper Laurentiu Branescu getting a touch on the ball on its way into the net.

Motherwell were now bossing the game and Jermaine Hylton had a 22nd minute shot blocked after Long's cross from the right.

Kilmarnock levelled on 31 minutes in hugely fortuitous style when ex-Motherwell player Dom Thomas's left footed cross flew in at the back post past keeper Mark Gillespie.

The goal was totally against the run of play and stunned Fir Park.

Jake Carroll's 50th minute free-kick from 20 yards for the hosts was just too high.

Motherwell regained the lead on 53 minutes when Hylton released Carroll on the left and his wonderful cross into the centre was headed in by Cole.

The Steelmen survived a scare within three minutes after Liam Grimshaw had been booked for a foul on the edge of the box.

Although Rory McKenzie's initial free-kick was blocked, Alan Power's rasping drive from the follow-up flashed not too far wide.

The home side's Allan Campbell had a chance with a snap shot when a Liam Polworth corner was cleared to him at the edge of the box but he shot well wide.

Polworth sent Long through on 68 minutes and the striker showed a great burst of speed before shooting well wide.

There was then nearly a disastrous moment for home defender Declan Gallagher as he met Killie sub Eamonn Brophy's fizzed cross from the right and sent the ball just over his own crossbar.

Motherwell sub James Scott headed a Polworth corner over the bar from close range after 83 minutes.

The Steelmen came so close to a third goal when Long burst clear of the defence and cut the ball back for Campbell who looked certain to score but his effort was deflected off target by Killie defender Nicholas Hamalainen.

Brophy had a 20-yard shot turned round the post by Gillespie in the second minute of injury time before Motherwell broke swiftly to the other end from the resultant corner and Scott had a powerful shot saved.

Motherwell: Gillespie, Carroll, Grimshaw, Hartley, Campbell, Long, Hylton (Seedorf 74), Polworth, Donnelly, Gallagher, Cole (Scott 76).

Referee: Don Robertson

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