Motherwell’s battle for Premiership survival is alive and kicking after their 3-1 home victory over Kilmarnock on Friday night.
First half goals by Scott McDonald and Lee Erwin gave ’Well a 2-0 half-time advantage before Killie’s Josh Magennis scrambled home following a 53rd minute free-kick.
But sub Lionel Ainsworth sealed victory for the hosts by shooting home a McDonald pass in the final minute.
“I’m very, very pleased,” said ’Well manager Ian Baraclough. “I thought we dominated the game. We set out, competed, won second balls and did the horrible side of things.
“But when we had the chance to play we did as well.
“We got the ball down, moved it really well and created chances.”
Baraclough said he was delighted that his troops had “weathered the storm” after Killie had scored their goal.
He added: “I didn’t feel we were in danger at all, although they had a couple of chances where George (’keeper Long) had to be strong.”
Against the odds, second bottom ’Well will now avoid the Premiership play-off if they overhaul a three-point gap on Killie or Ross County in the last two games. So wins at St Mirren and at home to Partick in the next two weekends would give ’Well a great chance of automatic survival.
“No-one can be accused of not giving everything tonight,” Baraclough added.
It was Killie who dominated the opening stages on Friday, with Magennis looking impressive on the right and forcing Long to make a fine save.
The hosts went ahead five minutes later when Erwin’s run and shot was saved by Craig Samson but McDONALD netted the rebound.
ERWIN then turned the Killie defenders inside out before shooting home a stunning second goal on 39 minutes.
Killie started better in the second half and got back into it when MAGENNIS bundled the ball home.
Visiting captain Manuel Pascali was booked for a foul and was then lucky to stay on after another infringement soon afterwards.
Grant, Erwin and McDonald all missed chances before AINSWORTH’s late goal sealed a crucial three points and had the home fans singing and jumping about.
Motherwell: Long, Hammell (Straker 86), Ramsden, McManus, Lasley, O’Brien, Erwin (Sutton 90), Johnson, Grant (Ainsworth 86), Pearson, McDonald.
Kilmarnock: Samson, Barbour, Hamill, McKenzie (Obadeyi 45), Clingan (Kiltie 45), Miller, Cairney, Ashcroft, Westlake, Magennis, Pascali (Connolly 71).
Referee: Willie Collum.