Motherwell end lingering relegation threat with win over Dundee

Ryan Bowman was on target for Motherwell against Dundee
Ryan Bowman was on target for Motherwell against Dundee

Motherwell secured top flight football with hard fought 2-1 win against still in-danger Dundee.

Goals from Ryan Bowman and Cedric Kipre gave Steve Robinson's Steelmen all three points, cancelling out Genseric Kusunga's opener.

Robinson made one change to his side that drew 0-0 in the Highlands with Ross County, with Carl McHugh coming for the injured Andy Rose. Neil McCann named an unchanged starting 11 from his side's 2-1 win at Dens against St. Johnstone.

Dundee started the brightest, almost scoring 20 seconds into the game as Craig Wighton headed just wide after a long ball from the kick-off, although Trevor Carson looked to have the 20-year-old's effort covered if it had snuck on target.

Dundee would be forced into to an early change with top scorer Soufien Moussa having to go off with a muscle injury after just three minutes to be replaced by A-jay Leitch-Smith, an injury that Dundee gaffer McCann stated he was trying to play through.

The Well managed to get in the game, with Ryan Bowman heading off the post from six yards out, with his follow-up header saved by the impressive Parish.

However, as the game progressed, Dundee put the pressure on the Motherwell backline, forcing chances through Hibs loanee Simon Murray and ex-Liverpool centre half Steven Caulker, both of which Carson saved well.

It would take Dundee 23 minutes to break the deadlock, with Kasunga converting from a corner. Caulker won a drilled in ball, rising above Charles Dunne, heading into the Well six yard box for Kasunga to stab in, injuring his chest in the process.

In an almost carbon copy of Kasunga's opener, Ryan Bowman equalled the tie on the 28th minute. Dunne rose highest in the box to nod on for Bowman to flick into the roof of the net, giving his side a deserved leveller.

The rest of the half passed by with a couple of half chances for both sides, with Murray having the pick of the bunch, drilling his shot from wide into Carson.

Just before half-time the goal scorer Bowman would have to come off, to a rapturous standing ovation from the Well faithful, to be replaced by youngster James Scott who did well for a 17-year-old who had played just one minute of professional football previously.

As the sides came out for the start of the second half Dundee scorer Kasunga went down in a worrying fashion, just as McHugh was ready to restart proceedings. The start of the second half was delayed five minutes while Kasunga was strectchered off, receiving oxygen, for the chest injury he suffered scoring the opener.

Motherwell started the second half really strongly, pressing the Dundee backline and forcing them into mistakes and aimless long balls. Curtis Main had a couple of unsuccessful tries from range in what was a frustrating 83 minutes for the forward.

The pressure paid off with Kipre converting from a well worked short free kick, expertly crafted by Chris Cadden. Cadden's beautifully weighted cross fell perfectly to the Frenchman who duly converted, pointing to his mum in the crowd as part of his celebrations.

After Kipre's goal the Well had a sustained period of possession but little to show for it until a sweeping counter attack from Dundee almost brought about a leveller, with Leitch-Smith panicking and over running the ball in a position he would've been expected to score from.

Dundee spent the last 25 minutes of the game dominating the ball but were stifled by the impressive Motherwell midfield, meaning chances were at a premium. Yet, Dundee did create a guilt edge chance from a wide position with Cammy Kerr's cross volleyed over from Mark O'Hara just inside the Well six yard box.

The Well defence, particularly Kipre, made sure the score stayed at 2-1 despite a late flurry of Dundee corners, meaning Motherwell can now no longer be relegated and securing their first win since February 24.

There was handbags on the full time whistle, with Paul McGowan the orchestrator of the trouble, having to be restrained by his team mates and his manager at various points during the brief scuffle.

The result means Motherwell sit in seventh, three clear of St. Johnstone in eighth with the Perth side set to travel to Fir Park next weekend. Dundee sit worryingly over the relegation play-off spot, just four ahead of Partick.