Partick Thistle remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table after an afternoon of missed opportunities, principally from lone striker Ade Azeez.
They could have been three goals to the good before Scott McDonald snatched a point and, indeed, had to rely on an errant offside flag to prevent Motherwell from leaving with all three points.
The visitors came close to shooting themselves in the foot in the 12th minute when Richard Tait was woefully short with a passback and Craig Samson had to sprint from his line to nick the ball away from the inrushing Azeez.
Motherwell squandered an opening of their own just before the half hour when Liam Lindsay failed to clear Steven Hammell’s chipped pass, leaving Ryan Bowman one on one with Ryan Scully. The goalkeeper found himself in no man’s land but Bowman’s chip lacked sufficient height to clear his outstretched hands and he gathered it at the second attempt.
Motherwell were to pay for their profligacy when Thistle took the lead in their next attack. It was a self-inflicted wound, with Hammell attempting to play the ball back to Samson. Unfortunately for the long-serving full-back, his pass was lacking in power and accuracy and served only to tee up Chris Erskine, who did not have to break stride as he ran in to score with a low drive from 15 yards.
This was a ponderous, plodding performance from Mark McGhee’s side and mere competence from Thistle enough to give them the upper hand. Azeez ought to have made it 2-0 six minutes after the restart when he won an aerial challenge in the centre circle, supplied Erskine and then raced on to the return. He had plenty of the goal to aim at as Samson attempted to reduce the angle but his shot lacked conviction and drifted wide of the far post.
McDonald could have equalised when a free-kick, quickly taken by Keith Lasley, found the Australian unmarked but his rising drive on the turn cleared Scully’s crossbar.
Azeez missed another chance in the 61st minute, once again failing to hit the target after Adam Barton’s through ball had left him with only Scully to beat.
McDonald did have the ball in the net, heading home from point-blank range after Ben Heneghan had nodded a Keith Lasley free-kick across the face of the goal but an offside flag curtailed his celebrations.
Unfortunately for Azeez, he made it a hat-trick of sitters when he shrugged off Stephen McManus only to shoot straight at the advancing Samson. “It’s a question of confidence,” said his manager, Alan Archibald. “He needs one to go in off his knee.”
Even the introduction of James McFadden for the tiring Louis Moult failed to shake Motherwell out of their torpor and Ryan Edwards was inches away with a swerving effort from 35 yards.
However, the Steelmen conjured an unlikely equaliser out of nothing seven minutes from the end.
McDonald, who had been deployed wide on the left of a four-man midfield, switched to a central striking role following Moult’s withdrawal and, when Richard Tait delivered an inviting cross, he stole in front of Scully to power home a header from six yards.
Bowman might even have claimed a larcenous winner at the death when his header from Lionel Ainsworth’s cross was turned behind by Scully, who also denied Chris Cadden in stoppage time.
“We dug in and we scored two goals,” said McGhee. “We got the goal I think we deserved.”