Devante Cole handed the visitors a half-time lead with an effort from close range. The Buddies had chances throughout the match but weren’t hitting the target, until Jamie McGrath scored a penalty with 11 minutes to go to share the spoils.
Jim Goodwin’s team were coming into this one looking up, buoyed by the pre-match arrivals of two well-known strikers in Eamonn Brophy and Collin Quaner. Motherwell meanwhile had a new era to kickstart, ex-Salford City boss Alexander taking his first game in charge after appointment as Well gaffer on Thursday night.
The Buddies would have the early chances as the new Well man’s team were almost instantly under pressure, McGrath and Fir Park academy product Lee Erwin going close inside the first 15 minutes but not troubling debutant keeper Liam Kelly.
Tony Watt and Cole would then miss two big chances for Alexander, first Watt directing an effort from six yards out straight at Jak Alnwick before his forward partner passed up a 1 v 1 opportunity. They would combine to make amends for this 26 minutes in.
A Liam Polworth corner was met by Watt, who headed the ball down for Cole, who swept it into the net, his first goal since October 24. St Mirren pressed for a response before half-time but QPR loanee Kelly wasn’t being tested.
That had to change in the second half and Brophy was thrown on before the hour-mark to try and make that happen. An unlikely source should have made it 1-1 on 61 minutes, Ethan Erhahon flashing a great chance past the post.
It was a scrappy affair for most of the second half, Saints unable to penetrate the visiting defence while Motherwell looked for their chances to pounce. Saints would get their chance, Erwin brought down in the box with McGrath given a penalty.
He easily dispatched past Kelly to get his side back into things and Ilkay Durmus almost made it 2-1 minutes later, his free-kick saved well by the new Well stopper. Alnwick had to be equal to Mark O’Hara’s at the other end, diving high to make a great stop. It would the last of the chances as a point each was had. Here are three things we learned.
There were bows on both sides in Paisley. Motherwell fielded their fourth keeper of the season in QPR loanee Kelly after his arrival earlier this week, and while not tested too much, was a much-needed vocal presence between the sticks and this aided the defence.
Brophy’s anticipated debut was had from the bench, replacing Kyle McAllister after 56 minutes. He got little in the way of service though and will likely benefit from a week of getting to know his new teammates before facing St Johnstone next weekend.
After last week’s dismal derby defeat to Accies, Motherwell need a response, new boss or not. With some clarity on who would be managing them announced, those in claret and amber seemed more settled.
Alexander won’t have been able to get too much across having only been in Scotland 48 hours, but his team played with an intensity that has been missing in previous matches, an organised display turned in. Of course there is still much to improve but this was a fairly positive start, although the winless run stretches to 11.
The final Saints piece
Goodwin has his defence well-drilled in defence, in midfield they have a nice balance between Jake Doyle-Hayes, Ethan Erhahon and McGrath and Dylan Connolly is pacey on the flanks.
A leading marksman has been an issue for Goodwin this term, goals coming in fits and starts for his forwards. It’s clear to see why he was so keen to bring in two good names like Brophy and Quaner as if they hit form, Saints could really kick on.
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