Marvin Johnson late strike gives Motherwell victory over Inverness.
Marvin Johnson’s stoppage-time winner made it five-in-a-row for Motherwell and plunged Inverness closer to the relegation dog-fight.
Keeper Owain Fon Williams thought he had avoided the embarrassment of gifting Motherwell a fifth straight Premiership win when Iain Vigurs cancelled out super-sub Lionel Ainsworth’s opener with a penalty-kick equaliser.
But with only one win in their last nine games, Inverness are not entirely safe after Johnson broke clear to chase a long ball out of defence after Stephen McManus had cleared under pressure from Carl Tremarco in the 93rd minute and produced an ice-cool finish.
There was plenty of commitment and free-flowing football in the early stages but no end product until the 18th minute when Liam Polworth headed a half-chance over.
Liam Hughes had an even clearer chance six minutes later but his header from close range after Tremarco had delivered a cross from the left was held fairly comfortably by Connor Ripley.
Hughes was also involved when Inverness carved out a third opening in the 32nd minute, but the striker was unable to make clean contact with Miles Storey’s cross from the left and Ripley managed to gather the ball under pressure after an initial fumble.
It was not until a minute later that Motherwell bared their teeth for the first time, but it was the closest either side had come to a goal when Louis Moult’s header from Steven Hammell’s free-kick flashed just past the far post.
Motherwell were given impetus and Johnson’s cross-cum-shot a short time later was on target until Fon Williams plucked the ball out of the air.
However, Inverness reasserted their authority on the stroke of half-time, Storey’s front post header from Andrea Mutombo’s cross from the left sneaking inches past.
Inverness began the second half with purpose and Motherwell were very nearly caught out by Mutombo in the 48th minute.
The attacking midfielder conjured up a chance out of nothing when he looked up and, spotting an opening, tried a speculative shot from 22 yards that curled just past the far post.
The match desperately needed a goal to raise it above the ordinary but both teams lacked the necessary cutting edge to grab the initiative.
Even when Josh Meekings headed just over after 59 minutes there was a lack of conviction about his finish from Mutombo’s corner kick.
Perhaps not surprisingly, when they deadlock was broken in the 62nd minute it was the scrappiest of goals.
Fon Williams failed to deal with Johnson’s cross from the left and succeeded only in palming the ball out to Moult who laid if off to Ainsworth in turn.
Even then Inverness should have retrieved the situation, but Fon Williams again flapped when Ainsworth, who had replaced Cadden nine minutes earlier, tried a speculative lob from just inside the 18 yard box and his miss-hit effort eluded the goalkeeper’s feeble attempt to push the ball over the bar with skipper Gary Warren positioned on the goal-line.
Justice looked to have been done when Inverness equalised in the 70th minute after Keith Lasley upended Ross Draper in the box to concede a spot kick which was duly despatched powerfully into the net by Vigurs, but there was a nasty sting in the tail for the home side.