Saturday 30th March
A 3-0 defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park this afternoon ended any chance of Tommy Wright’s men finishing in the top six this season.
Saints did get an early chance to break the deadlock when they were awarded a penalty after Chris Kane was bundled over in the box by Alex Rodriguez-Gorrín. However, Liam Craig saw his effort saved by Mark Gillespie.
The match was a tight affair and the deadlock was finally broken on 70 minutes by ‘Well substitute Elliot Frear with a strike from 20 yards.
Saints almost got an instant response on 72 minutes however, Chris Kane couldn’t get his overhead kick on target.
The hosts doubled their advantage 10 minutes later as David Turnbull was played into space before producing a good finish past the wrong-footed Clark. Then deep into added time Motherwell got a third as courtesy of a Richard Tait strike.
After Wednesday’s hard fought 1-0 win against St Mirren, Saints returned to action this afternoon as they took on Motherwell at Fir Park with both sides still having a chance of achieving a top six finish. Tommy Wright made two changes to the team that started at McDiarmid Park in midweek as Liam Gordon and Ross Callachan dropped to the bench and were replaced by Sean Goss and Michael O’Halloran. Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson went with the same team that lost 2-0 at Hibernian a fortnight ago.
Motherwell got the game underway and they were awarded a free kick out wide on the left after 2 minutes following a foul by Michael O’Halloran on Gboly Ariyibi. The free kick was whipped in by David Turnbull but Joe Shaughnessy headed it behind for a corner which came to nothing.
Saints first sight of goal came a couple of minutes later as Richard Foster, who was making his 100th appearance for the club this afternoon, collected the ball 30 yards out and it looking an inviting shot for the right back however, his effort didn’t trouble Mark Gillespie in the home goal.
A Turnbull corner on 10 minutes picked out Tom Aldred in the centre of the Saints box who volleyed over under pressure from Shaughnessy.
3 minutes later Saints were awarded a penalty after Chris Kane was brought down in the box by Rodriguez-Gorrín. Liam Craig stepped up to take the penalty however, his effort was well saved by Gillespie who got down well to his left to palm the ball away.
Both sides were creating chances during the early stages of the match and it was the Steelmen who created the next opportunity to break the deadlock on 16 minutes. Another Turnbull corner, this time from the right, picked out Aldred but the big defender put his header over.
On 32 minutes Motherwell were awarded a free kick out wide on the left after Ariyibi had been fouled by Jason Kerr. It was taken by Turnbull but his delivery into the box was punched clear by Zander Clark.
Saints next chance came on 38 minutes as Sean Goss saw his delivery into the Motherwell box from a free kick pick out Jason Kerr, whose header was well gathered by Gillespie.
A slack pass on 42 minutes was pounced on by Kane and the Saints striker broke forward and got a shot away which took a deflection before being gathered by Gillespie. The Saints number 9 did well to get a shot at goal as he was surrounded by three Well players.
Saints started the second half brightly and they came very close to taking the lead on 52 minutes as a Goss free kick was headed back across goal by Murray Davidson. It looked like Kerr got a touch on the ball, before it eventually fell to Kane who volleyed over from 8 yards out.
Motherwell made a double change on 64 minutes as Chris Cadden and Elliot Frear were introduced into the action and the former was almost the architect of Motherwell’s opener. Good vision by the midfielder saw him find Allan Campbell unmarked on the edge of the Saints box but he was quickly crowded out by the Saints defence before seeing his effort deflected into the hands of Clark.
However, Motherwell were ahead on 70 minutes. Charles Dunne slipped the ball to Curtis Main and he flicked it on to substitute Frear who curled a low shot past Clark from 20 yards.
Saints almost got an instant response on 72 minutes as a corner from Goss picked out Kane but his overhead kick went over Gillespie’s bar. Then a minute later Saints made their final change as Tony Watt came on for Liam Craig as Tommy Wright looked to get his team back into the match. However, they were almost two down on 76 minutes as a long range shot from ‘Well captain Richard Tait clipped Clark’s crossbar.
The hosts though did get a second goal with 10 minutes of match remaining. Allan Campbell did well to pick out Turnbull who did some neat footwork in the box before producing a good finish which wrong-footed Clark.
Saints continued to push to try and get back into the match however, they were almost hit on the counter attack on 85 minutes as Campbell set Frear free who was in on goal but the put his effort wide of the target.
It got even worse for Saints as the match entered 2 minutes of additional time as Carl McHugh played in Tait who cut in from the left before calmly slotted it past Clark to make it 3-0 for the hosts.
Motherwell: Gillespie, Tait, Aldred, Campbell, Main, Ariyibi (Frear 63), Grimshaw, Dunne, Gorrín (McHugh 77), Turnbull, Hastie (Cadden 64)
Unused Substitutes: Ferguson (GK), Hartley, Donnelly, Johnson
Scorers: Frear (70), Turnbull (80), Tait (90)
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson, Kane, Kerr, O’Halloran (Swanson 68), Foster, Craig (Watt 73), Goss (Callachan 68), Kennedy
Unused Substitutes: Bell (GK), Comrie, Gordon, Northcott
Referee: Euan Anderson
Attendance: 4,083 (255 Saints fans)
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Liam Craig takes the first half penalty that is saved by Mark Gillespie
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