Liam Donnelly had put Motherwell ahead from the penalty spot but the Buddies showed great determination in the second 45 to get a win. Jon Obika struck early in the half before Durmus’ late effort sealed three points.
This was to be the end of a February trilogy that has already brought an eight-goal thriller, a Buddies penalty shootout victory and two draws within 90 minutes. A win in their latest meeting would be brilliant for either side with Motherwell having the chance to open a four-point gap in third whilst St Mirren could move four points clear of the relegation places.
There was an extra buzz around Fir Park too before kick off with news that David Turnbull was on the bench. The exciting prospect scored 16 goals with 7 assists last term but has missed all of this term through a knee injury.
It was to be the 20-year-old’s side who started on the front foot. Jermaine Hylton and Rolando Aarons both saw chances go a-begging inside the opening seven minutes. The latter would work his magic to earn his side a penalty.
Aarons was driving the box and Saints defender Akin Famewo brought him down, leaving Donnelly with the chance to put Motherwell after 12 minutes. He did so in assured fashion, placing his 11th goal of the season into the bottom corner from 12 yards out.
Durmus’ close effort a minute later though showed that Saints have dangerous qualities in attack. They used them in devastating fashion during the first half last week so Stephen Robinson’s side were well aware of how threatening their visitors could be.
Vaclav Hladky had to make sure St Mirren stayed in the game a few minutes after the opener, making a good double save from a Declan Gallagher header then a Tony Watt strike. After this scare the Buddies composed themselves and started some decent passing movements.
But it was Watt again causing trouble. He started his own counter-attack from a St Mirren corner, running all of 80 yards before forcing Hladky into another save. The former Celtic striker glanced another shot by the post two minutes later.
Allan Campbell missed a decent Well chance with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. He blazed a snapshot form 12 yards over the bar as Motherwell started to gain the attacking impetus again.
Corners were flowing and small chances were being carved out in and around the Saints box. Aarons’ effort was perhaps the most audacious, his free kick from an obscure angle forcing Hladky to pluck the ball out the top corner.
It was only 1-0 heading into the second half and whilst Motherwell were on top, they needed a goal to solidify their lead. Jon Obika made them pay for not capitalising on that advantage.
Lee Hodson showed some brilliant movement to beat Richard Tait as Obika was teed up for a simple 49th minute finish. Saints were right back in this and Durmus made Gillespie stop his effort hitting the net three minutes after Obika’s leveller.
It became a sluggish affair after the initial adrenalin rush of St Mirren’s leveller died down. Time was ticking down and Robinson opted to throw Turnbull back into the fold with 20 minutes to go.
His introduction seemed to give Fir Park a lift and the Well had their first meaningful attack of the half just moments into his return. This attack eventually came to nothing though with Polworth skewing a shot high and wide.
Cammy MacPherson’s long-range effort eight minutes from time showed how few chances both been afforded in this half. It looked set for another draw between these two foes.
But what do we know? Four minutes from the end and Durmus had a Saints winner. Tony Andreu played in the creative Turkish threat and he beat Gillespie with a fine high effort.
It was enough to seal the game as St Mirren earned a massive victory in their mission to achieve Premiership safety. For Motherwell, it’s a big missed opportunity to extend the gap on their European-chasing rivals. Here are three things we learned.
Turnbull a welcome Well sight
Robinson opted for Turnbull on the bench , a huge boost for the Well. Whilst the exciting talent is still a bit away from 90 minutes of football every week, he’s still a real spark to bring on.
He’ll be like a new signing when he gets motoring again, a lethal one at that going off last season’s scintillating form. Turnbull was met with rapturous applause from the home support upon his introduction.
Obika makes Steelmen pay again
That’s three goals in two games for St Mirren striker Obika against Motherwell. He scored in the penalty shootout last week too, proving to be a thorn in the Steelmen’s side over the last week.
Motherwell dominated the first half but couldn’t take their chances. Obika made sure that they were left to rue those misses at full time as a defeat was inflicted upon them after another busy shift from the striker.
Saints have breathing space
There’s Fir Park joy again for St Mirren. A win on penalties last week in the Scottish Cup was brilliant but this win in the league might just top that in terms of their season overall.
Now Goodwin’s side sit four clear of Hamilton in 11th and six of Hearts who are bottom. With another game in hand to come against the Jambos, victory in that could be another huge step to Buddies survival. This in itself is a big stride in the right direction.