Saints 0-1 Motherwell

By Stuart Gillespie
Last updated : 14 September 2013

Let's get one thing straight. Losing to Motherwell is not a disaster. They have finished high up the table in the past two seasons and will do again, so it's not the end of the world that they beat us. The problem is when the result is taken in context. There's no point trotting out the same stats as before, just add one to the games played and carry on.

Things were a bit more positive today. I didn't think Motherwell were that much better than us and we played reasonably well, but in the end we still lost, we're still second bottom and we're still in big trouble. Hibs at Easter Road next week is massive.

We needed changes to the team and changes were what we got. Gary Teale and Paul McGowan were brought back into the team, much to everyone's relief, although dropping Kenny McLean and John McGinn was perhaps not quite as popular a move. Darren McGregor replaced David van Zanten at the back as we changed to a back three. John Sutton has scored against a few times since he left six years ago and must have fancied doing the same for Motherwell, who also had James McFadden in the team to provide inspiration.

Sure enough, Sutton found the net early on - but thankfully it was with himself rather than the ball as he just failed to connect with Steven Hammell's dangerous cross. Teale provided one of his own moments later, which Steven Thompson headed wide, before Jim Goodwin smacked a free-kick into the wall. It was a bizarre decision that gave us the chance as Shaun Hutchison's tackle on Stephane Bahoken looked decent and certainly didn't merit a booking. The defender headed over from a corner before Goodwin was next to be dealt a ridiculous booking when the ball hit his hand and there was nothing he could do about it.

The refereeing fun and games continued when we won a penalty and then had it taken away from us. Conor Newton made what is becoming a characteristic charge forward and was brought down by Keith Lasley. It was a clear foul and I thought it was outside the box, so was somewhat surprised when ref Craig Thomson pointed to the spot. Sadly for us the Motherwell defenders convinced him to talk to his linesman - who'd also signalled for a penalty - who told him the foul had been outside the box. It was the correct outcome, just a frustrating one compounded by Danny Grainger's free-kick being atrocious. Newton made another run through moments later but the ball was plucked away by Lee Hollis at the last second.

Things took a turn for the worse less than 10 minutes from half-time. We'd been doing fairly well without being outstanding at both ends of the park, but when Zaine Francis-Angol put a cross into the box we seemed to completely switch off and Sutton stooped to head it through David Cornell and give Motherwell the lead. I'm not sure how it ended up being a goal as it seemed as if the header was straight at Cornell but he was unable to keep it out. It doesn't matter how they go in though as long as they cross the line, and sadly for one this one had, with both the defence and keeper culpable.

Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero" was a fine choice of music as the teams went off at half-time and McGowan almost delivered straight away, his shot being blocked after good play from Bahoken and Thompson. Despite us having a decent amount of possession we were struggling to do much with it and you wondered if a set piece was our best chance, Grainger's corner almost dipping under the bar before it decided to go behind. Our defence didn't seem to have learned from earlier and switched off at a corner, Hutchinson's header sailing through the air in slow motion before it smacked the bar and rebounded to safety.

You'd maybe have expected a reaction (to use a Gus-ism) after the break but there wasn't much sign of one and instead we almost went two down when Francis Angol skinned Teale and pulled the ball back for McFadden but he shot over before Cornell blocked Anier's shot after he'd been played in by Iain Vigurs. In between McGowan had tried his luck from the edge of the box but Hollis was always saving his shot. In a bid to change things Thomas Reilly came on for Bahoken, who had looked better in the second half, while Bob McHugh replaced Anier and almost scored with his first touch, his shot going just past the wrong side of the post.

Jake Caprice was give 20 minutes to try to do something when he replaced Grainger and former Saint Paul Lawson replaced McFadden. With the changes still not working Kenny McLean came on for Harkins, who had done little of note, before Francis-Angol came off for Adam Cummins. Vigurs should perhaps have done better than shoot over before Reilly was perhaps unlucky to be booked after a foul on Stephen McManus. His next contribution was rather better as he crossed to the back post but McLean just couldn't make contact and the chance was gone. There were a few scrambles in the last few seconds that just didn't fall for anyone, meaning it's now one point after five games instead of four.

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