Motherwell end St Johnstone run with victory at McDiarmid Park

Danny Johnson got Motherwell's second goal at Perth (pic by Craig Black Photography)
Danny Johnson got Motherwell's second goal at Perth (pic by Craig Black Photography)

Two goals in the opening 20 minutes finally saw Motherwell banish their Perth hoodoo at rain-lashed McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

Well hadn’t won at McDiarmid since a 3-1 victory in November 2012, but claimed the points thanks to early strikes from Tom Aldred and Danny Johnson, before St Johnstone’s Jason Kerr grabbed a late consolation.

A hardy band of travelling fans had defied Storm Deirdre to head up the A9 and they were barely in their seats when they were rewarded with the opening goal inside two minutes.

David Turnbull’s delicious inswinging corner made its way to the back post, where centre-back Aldred was on hand to slide home from a couple of yards out.

And the home side – unbeaten in eight ahead of the game - were soon hit with a killer second goal on 17 minutes.

Liam Grimshaw’s right-wing cross found its way to Turnbull, whose scuffed finish found its way to Johnson, who stabbed the ball high into the net from close range.

St Johnstone were then given the perfect chance to get back into the game just eight minutes later when Charles Dunne handled in the box following a Saints cross from the left.

However Matty Kennedy’s low effort was brilliantly saved by Well keeper Mark Gillespie down to his left-hand side.

The home side continued to have the bulk of the possession into the second half, but the Steelmen still created some good openings, with Johnson forcing home keeper Zander Clark into a good save from a volleyed effort from the edge of the area.

David McMillan then blazed over a great chance to reduce the home side’s arrears following a Kennedy cross.

But they were to set up a difficult finish when Kerr – the match winner when the sides met in October – headed home another Kennedy delivery following a corner.

Well’s defenders were forced to withstand a late barrage from Saints, who had a late penalty claim turned down when sub Danny Swanson went down under Dunne’s challenge.

But they held out for a crucial three points ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Celtic Park.