’Well suffer last minute heartache in Perth

Scott McDonald missed the St Johnstone match with a hamstring problem (Pic by Alan Watson)
Scott McDonald missed the St Johnstone match with a hamstring problem (Pic by Alan Watson)

For the seventh time in 2016, Motherwell suffered last minute heartache as they crashed 2-1 at St Johnstone in Saturday’s Scottish Premiership clash.

Although ’Well are eighth in the table, they are just one point ahead of second bottom Kilmarnock who occupy the relegation play-off position.

The game started in dramatic fashion when Scott McDonald – named in the original ’Well line-up – reported a tight hamstring in the warm-up and was replaced by Wes Fletcher.

The first effort of note came on 13 minutes when ’Well’s Stephen McManus flicked James McFadden’s low corner towards goal but the effort was saved by Saints keeper Alan Mannus.

But the visitors – adopting a 3-4-1-2 formation for the second time in five days – did go in front on 32 minutes when top scorer Louis Moult headed in McFadden’s right wing corner for a deserved lead.

David Wotherspoon’s 36th minute corner from the left at the other end was then pushed over by ’Well keeper Connor Ripley from right under his crossbar.

And Saints’ Liam Craig then shot over with his left foot after a Wotherspoon cross.

But the hosts did equalise on 42 minutes when Tam Scobbie’s thrown-in reached Craig and his cutback set up Wotherspoon to rifle home a swerving shot which beat Ripley at his near post.

’Well – who switched to an orthodox 4-4-2 formation at half-time after replacing McFadden with Stevie Hammell – wasted a chance to go ahead when Chris Cadden shot over after a 48th minute cross from the left by Marvin Johnson.

St Johnstone’s Darnell Fisher was then booked for a foul on Johnson and Hammell’s resultant free-kick was headed over by Moult.

Fletcher shot straight at Mannus on 64 minutes, but that was to be ’Well’s last chance of a disappointing second half.

Saints wasted three good chances to go ahead as sub Graham Cummins headed off target, Murray Davidson’s close range volley was unconvincingly saved by Ripley and Craig volleyed wide at the back post.

Scobbie was booked for an 83rd minute foul on Cadden before ’Well youngster Ben Hall was yellow carded in the final minute for kicking Saints sub John Sutton near the left touchline.

This infringement was to prove very costly for ’Well as sub Simon Lappin’s fine delivery from the left was headed home by Scobbie, who outjumped Hammell.