It was St Johnstone who left Fir Park victorious via a 2-1 scoreline after a spirited performance from Callum Davidson’s men had them take advantage of missed Motherwell chances to progress to the last eight of the League Cup.
The match started off lively with both sides showing attacking intent. It was the two backlines who showed resilience though in denying most goal-scoring opportunities.
Motherwell were holding onto more possession and looked the more likely to open the scoring out of the two sides. However, St Johnstone were continuously catching the Steelmen on the break and finding their best play through a fast counter-attack.
The Saints were finding most of their rhythm through Callum Hendry, who continuously posed a threat to his opposition. He found both Stevie May and Michael O’Halloran on separate occasions but May failed to connect with his shot and O’Halloran opted for a cross which narrowly missed a teammate in the middle.
Motherwell’s best passage of play in the first half came from their three men in attack. Callum Lang took the ball down the right side, played the ball to Devante Cole who then laid off Tony Watt for a one-on-one with Zander Clark. It was a moment the striker will want to forget as he passed it straight into the stopper’s hands.
St Johnstone had momentum in the second half and started the stronger side going forward. David Wotherspoon had his first proper involvement when he picked the ball up in the left flank and took several Well defenders on before having an effort at goal. Aaron Chapman could only parry the shot out for a corner.
Motherwell found their breakthrough on the 61st minute after a lofted ball from Liam Polworth met the head of Ricki Lamie, who nodded onto Watt, the striker able to make up for his howler in the first half with a calm finish.
St Johnstone found their equaliser eight minutes later after a poor pass from Lamie was picked up by O’Halloran in the final third. Chapman saved the original shot from the winger, but the ball fell straight to Callum Hendry, who was not missing from six yards out.
The Saints continued to drive forward but failed to create any real chances. It was O’Halloran who provided the bit of magic that was needed for his side on the 76th minute. He bombed down the right flank and got past Lamie to drill a ball towards the back post, which was tapped in by Wotherspoon, continuing his lightning form in the League Cup, scoring his 3rd goal of the competition.
Stephen Robinson’s men kept trying for a way back in but St Johnstone stuck to their task and grinded a result out to take a brilliant result up the road to Perth. Here are three things we learned.
Not much to separate Motherwell and St Johnstone
This was the second game in the double header between Motherwell and St Johnstone in the last week. Just like the first game, there was little between the two sides and this match could have easily ended a draw as well.
Perth Saints boss Davidson will be delighted that it was his team who grabbed the winner this weekend.
A tale of two halves
The two halves were extremely different. Motherwell looked the team who were going to get a foothold of the match in the first 45, having several half chances in front of goal. In the second half though, it was St Johnstone who capitalised instead of Motherwell building momentum from their goal.
All credit must go to the visitors, who had the determination to overcome the odds and fight back to gain passage to the last eight.
Motherwell missing key players again
Motherwell were again without star players such as Allan Campbell and Barry Maguire after they were involved in the COVID-19 fiasco with the Scotland U21s squad.
Robinson said it himself in his press conference after the game that he had no player that could fill the gap in midfield without Campbell in particular. He claimed that no other player had any “bite” and will be counting down the days until he has his star man back in action.