Motherwell dig out 1-0 win at Dundee thanks to Tanner goal

Motherwell players celebrate after the first half goal by Craig Tanner (1st right) at Dens Park on Saturday (Pic by Ian McFadyen)
Motherwell players celebrate after the first half goal by Craig Tanner (1st right) at Dens Park on Saturday (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Motherwell earned a vital three points with a backs to the wall display to earn a 1-0 victory at a sunkissed Dens Park on Saturday, writes Craig Goldthorp.

Craig Tanner scored the only goal of the match - his fourth strike against Dundee this season - in the first half to give the Steelmen a hard fought win.

Motherwell striker Nadir Ciftci was barracked by home fans before being substituted after 52 minutes (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Motherwell striker Nadir Ciftci was barracked by home fans before being substituted after 52 minutes (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

A slow start to the match was only enlivened by the home fans' stick for Motherwell striker Nadir Ciftci, a former Dundee United player.

Dundee were enjoying most of the early possession ahead of a 12th minute long throw by home defender Josh Meekings which was met by the head of 'Well defender Charles Dunne before keeper Trevor Carson made the save.

A period of dull fare followed before Chris Cadden's 28th minute centre was headed weakly by Curtis Main.

There then followed the most eventful 60 seconds of the first half by far as Dundee striker Sofien Moussa volleyed a great chance wide after Roarie Deacon's corner from the right.

The Steelmen were lucky to survive this scare and took full advantage to take the lead almost immediately when Main's ball to the back post passed Dundee keeper Elliott Parish and gave Tanner the easiest of finishes at the back post.

Even through claret and amber tinted spectacles, this was a fortunate lead for a Motherwell team who had created next to nothing up to that point.

'Well could have lost this lead on 39 minutes after a poor Ciftci pass put Cedric Kipre under pressure and Dundee's Paul McGowan took possession. But his final shot was relatively weak and comfortably stopped by Carson.

Leading 1-0 at the interval despite being far from their best, that pattern continued early in the second half as Dundee enjoyed most of the territorial advantage.

Centre back Genserix Kusunga wasted a great chance to equalise when he shot well over after Deacon's free-kick from the right had been partially cleared.

Ciftci - taunted by the home fans throughout - was then booked before being substituted and replaced by the mask wearing Ryan Bowman.

There was then another brilliant opportunity spurned for the Dark Blues as another Deacon setpiece delivery was nodded off target by Meekings.

A Kamara cross wasn't converted by Deacon as the hosts ramped up the pressure, which went up a further notch as Deacon's left footed effort from 20 yards flashed just wide of the far post.

Dundee had a late penalty shout turned down for handball against Kipre after a shot by substitute Faissal El Bakhtaoui,

Motherwell: Carson, Tait, Cadden, McHugh, Main (Newell 82), Dunne, Aldred, Kipré, Campbell, Çiftçi (Bowman), Tanner (Rose 63).

Referee: Alan Muir

Crowd: 5003