Crucial derby win lifts 'Well above Hamilton into 10th place

Goalscorer Louis Moult and Scott McDonald celebrate goal in 1-0 win at Hamilton (Pic by Alan Watson)
Goalscorer Louis Moult and Scott McDonald celebrate goal in 1-0 win at Hamilton (Pic by Alan Watson)

Motherwell made major strides towards Scottish Premiership survival with a gritty 1-0 derby success at local rivals Hamilton Accies on Saturday.

Louis Moult's looping 66th minute header into the far corner won it for the Steelmen in front of a large and boisterous travelling support at the Superseal Stadium.

The win moves Motherwell out of the second bottom relegation play-off spot and up to 10th with 35 points from 36 matches.

A first half littered with physical challenges and seven bookings illustrated the tension of the occasion during Saturday's hard fought clash, with referee Kevin Clancy perhaps guilty of an over fussy performance to add to the yellow card count.

Rare attacking moments saw Craig Clay - in for Lionel Ainsworth - shot wide for Motherwell after a 17th minute Louis Moult layoff, before Accies' Ali Crawford sent an effort well over at the other end.

Clay came much closer in 'Well's next attack when he sent a volley just past the left upright after a sweeping breakaway involving Scott McDonald and Louis Moult.

Danny Redmond then sent a volley well off target for Accies before Dougie Imrie's scissors kick from a Crawford cross went straight at 'Well keeper Russell Griffiths.

After a goalless opening 45 minutes, Griffiths made a fantastic point blank save from Alex D'Acol as the hosts went for the opener.

And the Steelmen then went ahead to create delirium in the away end when Elliott Frear's long free-kick from the right was met by top scorer Moult, whose headed effort evaded Accies keeper Remi Matthews.

Motherwell substitute Lionel Ainsworth - who had replaced Keith Lasley just seconds before the goal - shot just wide at the death and Motherwell saw out the remaining seconds to secure a win which means they can't be automatically relegated as they are seven points ahead of bottom club Inverness with two matches remaining.

It was dismay though for second bottom Accies, whose manager Martin Canning suffered abuse from irate fans after the final whistle.

Motherwell now have a vital home game against Kilmarnock on Tuesday before travelling to Inverness in their final league match of the season this Saturday.