’Well late show in Fir Park thriller

Stephen McManus
Stephen McManus

Motherwell were in action for the first time this month as they edged out Partick Thistle in a seven-goal thriller on Saturday.

The away side took the lead on 37 minutes as former ’Well winger moved forward with the ball and the entire home defence elected to charge out and meet him.

Higginbotham deftly flicked the ball through to CHRIS ERSKINE who found himself alone in the box and beat Gunnar Nielsen despite the goalkeeper getting both hands on the ball.

Two minutes from the break ’Well were level as KEITH LASLEY’S shot from the edge of the box deflected off Higginbotham and looped over Paul Gallagher.

Seven minutes into the second half they were then ahead as LIONEL AINSWORTH strode forward and shipped the ball off to James McFadden.

He then stood unmarked on the edge of the box as he took the return to fire ’Well in front.

On 66 minutes Ainsworth turned from hero to villain as he brought down Aaron Taylor-Sinclair in the box and HIGGINBOTHAM confidently stepped up to send Nielsen the wrong way from the penalty spot.

HIGGINBOTHAM then further haunted his old club in 72 minutes as Thistle too the lead for the second time in the match.

The former Falkirk player broke free of a midfield scrum and skipped past a sliding challenge from Stevie Hammell before squeezing the ball in from a tight angle.

Henri Anier was sent on to reignite ’Well’s hopes of taking something from the game, but were perhaps more inspired by events on the other bench as the dangerous duo of Higginbotham and Erskine were withdrawn.

With less to worry about at their own end the home side pushed forward and five minutes from time Ainsworth swung a high cross in from the right and JOHN SUTTON headed down past Gallagher to level.

Then three minutes later it got even better as Hammell threw the ball into the box from deep and STEPHEN McMANUS stole in round the back to bullet a brilliant header into the back of the net for the winner.

Motherwell: Nielsen, Hammell, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden, Sutton, Vigurs (Anier 77), Lasley, Francis-Angol, Carswell, Ainsworth (Lawson 90). Subs not used: Stewart, Murray, Leitch, Shirkie, Thomas.

Partick Thistle: Gallagher, Taylor-Sinclair, Balantoni, Bannigan, Bauben, Mair, McMillan, Taylor (Doolan 78), Fraser, Higginbotham (Craigen 84), Erskine (Elliot 80). Subs not used: Fox, O’Donnell, Muirhead, Lawless.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.

Attendance: 5,048.