An impressive Motherwell side romped to a crucial 3-1 home victory over Partick Thistle in Saturday’s Scottish Premiership clash.
Two goals from Louis Moult and one from Marvin Johnson earned ’Well their first home league win of 2016 and eased their relegation fears.
’Well – with centre half Louis Laing playing in an unfamilar right back role – created an early chance when Marvin Johnson’s brilliant run down the wing culminated in his cross being missed by Louis Moult.
The hosts then had a 26th minute ‘goal’ disallowed for offside when Moult tapped home a McDonald pass after Johnson’s initial shot had been pushed out by Tomas Cerny.
The impressive Laing’s fine run into the box was then stopped by Cerny right in front of the Thistle goal.
The crucial opening strike arrived for the Steelmen on 35 minutes when Moult calmly slotted home a penalty after Aidan Nesbitt’s foul on Keith Lasley.
McDonald then released Chris Cadden, who showed nifty footwork before his cross fizzed across goal with no takers.
Leading 1-0 at half-time, ’Well extended their lead just six minutes into the second half when Moult shot home in brilliant style after a precise McDonald pass.
McDonald headed wide from a 58th minute Hammell free-kick from the right, before Johnson made the points safe by rifling the ball home in wonderful style after a Stephen Pearson pass.
McDonald had a 70th minute shot turned round the post by Cerny and from Hammell’s resultant corner, Stephen McManus had a shot well saved.
Thistle pulled a goal back on 75 minutes when ’Well keeper Connor Ripley – who’d had little to do throughout – somehow let Callum Booth’s speculative effort from outside the box squirm past him and into the net.
The visitors almost made it even more nervy for Motherwell two minutes later, when substitute Mathias Pogba headed Bannigan’s corner from the right off target from a great position.
Pearson made a great burst into the box at the other end but his 88th minute effort was saved by Cerny.
’Well saw out the remaining minutes – something they’ve not done too often in recent weeks – to record a vital win.
In a tightly congested middle section of the Premiership table, ’Well are now just four points behind fourth placed St Johnstone but just four ahead of second bottom Kilmarnock in the relegation play-off spot.