Saints 2-2 Motherwell
7th November 2023
Saints were held to a 2-2 draw by Motherwell in Perth this evening as the North Lanarkshire side came from two goals down to earn themselves a point to deny Craig Levein a winning start as Saints manager.
The Steelmen had the ball in the net on 11 minutes as Conor Wilkinson lobbed at fine finish into the far corner of the net however, the goal was ruled out following a VAR review as Wilkinson was deemed to have handled the ball in the build-up.
Saints took the lead on 17 minutes when Nicky Clark headed home a Matt Smith corner. They then doubled their lead 10 minutes later as Well failed to deal with a Saints corner and Andy Considine slotted home from close range.
Motherwell improved in the second half and they halved the deficit on 68 minutes when Shane Blaney headed the ball home from close range. The visitors then levelled the match six minutes later when Mika Biereth converted a Georgie Gent delivery into the Saints box to earn a point for the Fir Park side.
Saints are back in action this coming Saturday as they welcome Ross County to Perth, kick off 3pm.
Saints welcomed Motherwell to McDiarmid Park this evening for a rearranged cinch Premiership match. On Sunday evening Saints announced that Craig Levein had been appointed the new Saints manager and for his first game in-charge of Saints the former Scotland manager made one change to the Saints team which started last Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Kilmarnock as Dan Phillips came in to replace the suspended Dara Costelloe. Motherwell lost 1-0 at Kilmarnock on Saturday and manager Stuart Kettlewell made two changes to his starting eleven as Stephen O’Donnell and Callum Slattery came in to replace Theo Bair who dropped to the bench whilst Paul McGinn missed out completely.
Graham Carey got the match underway for Saints and it was an even opening to the match as neither keeper was seriously tested.
Then on 11 minutes The Steelmen thought they had taken the lead as Conor Wilkinson did well to get in-between Andy Considine and Dimitar Mitov to latch onto a long ball forward to slot the ball into the far corner of the net. However, following a VAR review the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up by the Irish forward.
On 16 minutes Graham Carey unleashed a strike from distance which was deflected behind for a corner by Callum Slattery. Matt Smith took the corner from the left and his delivery into the Motherwell box was perfect for Nicky Clark who planted a brilliant header past Liam Kelly to put Saints a goal up.
PHOTO: Nicky Clark scores Saints first goal
Saints came close to extending their lead on 20 minutes as Chris Kane brilliantly won the ball in midfield from Shane Blaney before breaking forward however, Brodie Spencer got back to clear the danger for the visitors.
Saints doubled their lead on 27 minutes as a Carey corner from the right bounced about the Well box before Andy Considine prodded the ball home from close range.
On 32 minutes Motherwell came close to pulling a goal back as a Blair Spittal corner from the right was met by Dan Casey however, the header from the Irish defender was blocked on the line by Luke Robinson before Mitov gathered the follow-up effort from Slattery.
PHOTO: Andy Considine celebrates his goal
Saints first booking of the game came on 43 minutes as Dan Phillips was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Wilkinson.
The final chance of the half fell to the visitors as they were awarded a free kick in a promising position in the first minute of added on time after Slattery was fouled by Sven Sprangler. Slattery took the free kick and the midfielder was unable to test Mitov as he put his effort high into the Ormand Stand.
PHOTO: Thumbs up from Saints manager Craig Levein
A good move by Motherwell 5 minutes into the second half saw Slattery play in Spittal who broke to the bye-line before sending over an inviting ball across the face of the Saints goal however, it was excellently cut out by Considine to clear the danger as Mika Biereth slid in to try and make connection with Spittal’s delivery.
The Steelmen continued to knock at the door and on 65 minutes Biereth’s ball across the face of goal was brilliantly cut out by Ryan McGowan as Theo Bair lurked at the back post looking to get on the end of the cross. However, the pressure from the visitors eventually told 3 minutes later as they pulled a goal back. Spittal sent over a dangerous cross from the left which was headed back across goal by Wilkinson and Shane Blaney rose to power home from close range.
Motherwell now had their tails up as they sensed they could get an equaliser and on 72 minutes Spittal’s in swinging corner from the left was met by Casey however, his header drifted narrowly wide of the far post.
PHOTO: Andy Considine and Mika Biereth
The North Lanarkshire side though levelled the match 2 minutes later as a cross from substitute Georgie Gent was perfect for Biereth who steered the ball beyond Mitov and into the net.
Before the match could restart Saints made their first change of the game as Max Kucheriavyi came on to replace Nicky Clark.
Despite letting a two goal lead slip Saints heads didn’t go down as they regrouped and went in search of a winner. With 10 minutes remaining Kane’s header from a Kucheriavyi cross was comfortably saved by Kelly. The Motherwell number one was called into action again on 88 minutes as he brilliantly tipped a fabulous acrobatic effort from Smith over the bar.
Craig Levein then brought on fresh legs for the final minutes of the match as Stevie May replaced Chris Kane.
PHOTO: Liam Gordon and Conor Wilkinson
As the match entered the final minute of the match Spittal saw his low effort comfortably gathered by Mitov.
There was 5 minutes added on at the end and Saints came agonisingly close to securing all 3 points in the second minute of added time as May got on the end of a Carey cross from the right however, the Saints forward saw his near post header sail narrowly over.
Saints then made their final change of the game as Graham Carey made way for Cammy MacPherson. Saints continued to push forward for a winner and Smith saw his effort from just outside the box blocked by the Motherwell defence before Luke Robinson saw his effort from 30 yards blocked by the visitor’s defence as both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Saints: Mitov, Considine, McGowan, Gordon, Kane (May 89’), Clark (Kucheriavyi 75’), Carey (MacPherson 90+2’), Robinson, Smith, Sprangler, Phillips
Unused Substitutes: Richards (GK), Brown, Gallacher, Jephcott, Olufunwa, Booth
Scorers: Clark (17’), Considine (27’)
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Spittal, Slattery (Gent 61’), Paton, Casey, Blaney, Spencer (Bair 45’), Biereth (Shaw 90+2’), Butcher, Wilkinson
Unused Substitute: Oxborough (GK), Mugabi, Zdravkovski, Wells, L. Ross, M. Ross
Booked: Slattery, Paton
Scorers: Blaney (68’), Biereth (74’)
Referee: Euan Anderson
VAR: Alan Muir
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Chris Kane is fouled by Callum Slattery