Stormy weather as ’Well lose out

Gunnar Nielsen
Gunnar Nielsen

Motherwell’s dismal performance was matched only by the weather as they were well beaten by St Johnstone on Sunday.

Goals from former Hamilton Accies strikers Stevie May and Nigel Hasselbaink were enough to give the Perth said a 2-0 home win, but in truth it could have been more.

Hasselbaink would prove a thorn in ’Well’s side all afternoon and demonstrated this in the early minutes as he got to the byeline on the right and cut the ball back to Paddy Cregg whose shot curled wide.

At the other end John Sutton should have given the visitors the lead as he got between the centre-halves to meet Simon Ramsden’s cross from deep but his diving header was put wide.

Right on half time a clever free kick by David Wotherspoon as he played the ball low to the feet of May almost caught ’Well out but Stephen McManus was alert to block.

Four minutes into the second half St Johnstone took the lead as Gary McDonald’s scissors kick was saved by Gunnar Nielsen, but MAY was on hand to knock the ball in.

’Well tried to hit back as Bob McHugh fired over and then Alan Mannus juggled the slippery ball from a Shaun Hutchinson header but held on.

On 64 minutes the home side doubled their advantage and it was a calamity for Nielsen as he slipped trying to clear a Ramsden back pass and HASSELBAINK was on hand to curl the ball into the empty net.

Zaine Francis-Angol and Craig Moore were sent on for Stuart Carswell and Iain Vigurs and unlike last week when he scored with his first touch it took Moore all of two minutes to get a chance.

Nice passing movement ended as Sutton laid off to him at the edge of the box, but although Moore’s shot was powerful Mannus got his body positioned to turn the ball away.

Hasselbaink should have made it 3-0 as he was put in by May but stumbled as he tried to control the ball and Nielsen cleared.

’Well had an appeal for a penalty turned down as Paul Lawson seemed convinced his volley had been blocked by McDonald’s arm, but referee Calum Murray said no and there wasn’t to be so much as a consolation of a day ’Well will rather forget.

St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Scobbie, Miller, Cregg (Davidson 71), Easton, Millar, McDonald, Wotherspoon (Edwards 86), May, Hasselbaink ()Caddis 78). Subs not used: Banks, Jahic, Brown, Fallon.

Motherwell: Nielsen, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, Vigurs (Moore 66), Carswell (Francis-Angol 64), Lasley, McHugh, Sutton. Subs not used: Stewart, Cummins, Kerr, Anier, Ainsworth.

Referee: Calum Murray.

Attendance: 2,449.