This being time of year when tradition is to the fore it was perhaps no surprise to see Motherwell take the lead and then be clawed back – it’s been a near metronomic occurrence in their meetings with St Johnstone in recent times.
However, for once it wasn’t to end in complete disappointment for the Lanarkshire side as they clung on to a point to which will be hugely welcome given the claustrophobic scramble in the bottom half of the Premiership.
The home side will feel frustrated that they didn’t turn it fully around after goalkeeper Zander Clark’s fumble gifted Motherwell an early lead. Saints piled on the pressure after Chris Kane restored parity after the break, but just couldn’t find the finishing touch when the chances came their way.
Saints started the game looking lively but fell behind in bizarre fashion after only 12 minutes. Lewis Moult sent full back Richard Tait clear and his low cross was decent enough but carried little threat as Clark dived to gather it, but in doing so he somehow contrived to deflect it into his own net.
This setback stunned the Perth men while Moult and Scott McDonald threatened to scavenge another goal for ’Well. It took until the stroke of half-time for the hosts to truly test Craig Samson as Steven MacLean’s powerful header from six yards out looked destined to level the scores only for the Motherwell keeper to brilliantly palm it to safety.
Motherwell had shown a bit of rearguard resilience in their previous 90 minutes against Kilmarnock but by inviting the hosts to come at them by dropping so deep after the interval they were perhaps taking too much of a gamble that they could hold on for another shutout. Indeed we almost witnessed another embarrassing goalkeeping faux pas as Samson nearly allowed Murray Davidson’s header to squirm from his grasp soon after the restart.
The equaliser was not long delayed however, with a lovely bit of interplay on the edge of the visitors’ box released Kane, and although Samson tried to clear the danger, he only succeeded in knocking the ball off the Saints striker and into the net.
This was the precursor to a period of sustained pressure from the home side and as the ball whizzed about the Motherwell box it seemed that the customary comeback win for the Saints in these encounters was on the cards.
Blair Alston went close as another incisive exchange of passes sent him through but the chance was snuffed out and Motherwell held on for a welcome point at a venue that has not been kind to them in recent seasons.