’Well earn handy win over Saints

Stephen Anderson tries to keep out the Stephen McManus header that won the game
Stephen Anderson tries to keep out the Stephen McManus header that won the game

Motherwell rang the changes as they exorcised the demons of Tannadice with a battling win over in-form St Johnstone on Saturday.

Out went Gunnar Nielsen, Fraser Kerr, Henri Anier and Jack Leitch from the side who lost 5-1 to Dundee United with Lee Hollis, Lionel Ainsworth, James McFadden and Zaine Francis-Angol coming back into the side.

The home side were clearly in determined mood and laid siege to the Saints goal in the early stages.

Keith Lasley blasted over and McFadden shot weakly at Alan Mannus, however he looked to be in trouble as he could only flail an Ainsworth into the air, but luckily Dave MacKay was on hand to bail him out.

’Well took the lead in 20 minutes as McFadden touched the ball onto AINSWORTH on the right edge of the box, he looked up and curled a beauty over the head of Mannus and into the far corner.

However, the lead only lasted seven minutes as MacKAY got away from John Sutton to head in a David Wotherspoon corner.

Another seven minutes and ’Well regained the lead in somewhat controversial circumstances.

Wotherspoon clipped the heel of McFadden giving ’Well a free kick which Iain Vigurs duly delivered.

He found STEPHEN McMANUS all alone at the back post and his header bounced tantalising out of Mannus’s reach.

It didn’t however evade the reach of Saints defender Steven Anderson who elected to palm it away, but referee Kevin Clancy decided the ball had already crossed the line.

St Johnstone dominated the second half, but on a rare blank day in front of goal Stevie May found himself in the book for his theatrical performance in trying to win a penalty as Lasley moved in for a challenge.

’Well didn’t offer much going forward, but were much more solid than a week previous as the visitors were restricted to long range efforts.

Michael O’Halloran and Wotherspoon failed to test Hollis, but he was equal to the task of stretching every fibre of his body to reach a Gary Miller effort that looked to be just about sneaking into the corner.

Motherwell: Hollis, Reid, Hammell, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden (Anier 69), Sutton, Vigurs, Lasley, Francis-Angol (Kerr 75), Ainsworth. Subs not used: Nielsen, Moore, Murray, Leitch Thomas.

St Johnstone: Mannus, MacKay, Anderson, Millar, MacLean, Wotherspoon (Hasselbaink 80), Dunne (McDonald 85), May, Miller, Easton, O’Halloran (Croft 68).

Subs not used: Banks, Cregg, Clancy, Iwelumo.

Referee: Kevin Clancy.

Attendance: 7,201.