St Mirren overcame an early second-half deficit to earn a thoroughly deserved point against Motherwell at Fir Park, leaving Jim Goodwin’s side seventh, one point behind the Steelmen in the Premiership table.
Tony Watt would fire the hosts in front minutes into the second half, before coolly securing a brace from the penalty spot minutes later. Eamonn Brophy would pull one back with a well-placed effort, before equalising from the penalty spot soon after.
The saints would have the better of the chances in the opening period of the game and would come close to the opener early on. Kyle McAllister’s incisive pass left former Motherwell talisman Curtis Main in acres of space, but the strikers low-driven effort was comfortably taken by Liam Kelly.
St Mirren continued to look threatening in the early stages and were unfortunate not to break the deadlock minutes later. Scott Tanser’s floated delivery was superbly met by Main in the air, but the strikers headed effort failed to trouble Kelly from close range.
The visitors would come the closest to the opener on the stroke of half-time. Clever link up play between Brophy and McAllister on the right eventually found Connor Ronan at the edge of the box, but the forwards curling effort fell agonisingly wide of the top left corner.
With the first half coming to a close, the hosts left the field to a chorus of boos following a very disappointing display.
However, Motherwell would open the scoring early into the second half. Sean Goss’ perfectly weighted cross was superbly met by Watt who steered his header low into the ground past Jak Alnwick into the bottom left corner.
The Steelmen’ would double their advantage from the penalty spot minutes later. Watt powered his way through several St Mirren challenges before being impeded by the onrushing Alnwick, leaving referee Bobby Madden no option but to award a penalty. Watt stepped up and comfortably slotted his strike past the keeper into the bottom left corner.
The visitors would pull one back with 15 minutes remaining. A quick counter-attack left Brophy racing Kelly to the ball. The striker skilfully beat the keeper and calmly placed his shot into the empty net from a tight angle.
St Mirren would be awarded a penalty minutes later after Brophy was blocked by Sondre-Solholm Johansen. The contact looked minimal, but Madden made no hesitations and quickly pointed to the spot.
Brophy stepped up and fired his strike into the bottom corner, but Kelly reacted quickly and provided a strong hand to parry his effort wide. However, to the bewilderment of the St Mirren and Motherwell players, Madden ordered the penalty to be retaken. Brophy stepped up again and coolly placed his strike past Kelly to bring the Buddies level.
Jim Goodwin’s side almost took all three points in the dying stages of the game but would be denied by three point-blank saves from Kelly.
Here are the three things we learned as St Mirren struck twice earn a point in Lanarkshire:
Watt on form
Motherwell striker Tony Watt is certainly loving life in Lanarkshire. The 27-year-old netted twice to add to his seven league goals this season. The Scottish International is now the joint top goal scorer in the Premiership alongside Hibs ace Martin Boyle. With his contract up at Fir Park at the end of the season, manager Graham Alexander will have to do everything in his power to retain the fan favourite at Fir Park.
Jim Goodwin will be delighted with his sides quick response in the latter stages of the game after suffering an early two goal deficit in the second half. Despite the setback, St Mirren battled hard and did cause Motherwell a significant threat throughout. Perhaps fortunate with the initial penalty decision and the eventual retake, but the visitors were deserving of a point.
Graham Alexander will certainly be feeling aggrieved by the penalty decision late into the game. Brophy looked to have gone down lightly under Johansen’s challenge, but Kelly responded well and thought he had saved his side with a brilliant stop. However, the decision to retake the penalty was bewildering to both sides. Nevertheless, Brophy kept his nerve and calmly slotted home on his second attempt.
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