Partick Thistle 1 - 0 Motherwell: Stoppage time goal seals win

The volunteers who turned up to help clear the Firhill pitch of excess water so that it could pass an inspection two-and-a-half hours before the kick-off must have wondered why they had bothered after taking their seats.
Motherwell's Louis Moult (left) battles for the ball against Christie Elliot. Picture: SNS GroupMotherwell's Louis Moult (left) battles for the ball against Christie Elliot. Picture: SNS Group
Motherwell's Louis Moult (left) battles for the ball against Christie Elliot. Picture: SNS Group

It would be an understatement to describe this encounter as tedious but, even allowing for the fact that the playing surface had more sand on it than the beach at North Berwick, the fare on offer was unimaginative.

However, they were rewarded for their selfless efforts during stoppage time when a shot from Steven Lawless took a wicked deflection off the hapless Stephen McManus and spun into the net for the decisive goal. The late, late winner allowed Thistle to move four points clear of second-bottom Kilmarnock, while Motherwell remain two points above them.

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The hosts ought to have drawn first blood in the seventh minute when Dan Seaborne found himself with a free header from Sean Welsh’s inswinging corner but the defender directed his effort straight at Connor Ripley, who saved at the second attempt.

Motherwell struggled to get behind the hosts but their cause was not helped by cynical challenges from Gary Miller, Stuart Bannigan and Seaborne, who were cautioned by referee Barry Cook for fouls on Marvin Johnson, Louis Moult and Keith Lasley respectively.

However, when Abdul Osman became the fourth Jags player cautioned by the inexperienced official, who had been subjected to derision for his harsh dismissal of Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday against Morton eight days earlier, the home support growled their displeasure.

In a first half with few goalmouth incidents, Mr Cook, taking charge of a top-tier match for the first time, was the most talked-about performer on view, with Motherwell midfielder Stephen Pearson becoming the fifth player to be shown a yellow card before the break.

Pearson saw a netbound drive deflected behind immediately after the restart as the visitors, without a victory from their four previous fixtures, attempted to break the deadlock.

At the other end, Callum Booth thought that he had opened the scoring with a controlled volley which beat the goalkeeper but could not get past the outstretched leg of McManus.

Morgaro Gomis, the playmaker who joined the Steelmen from Hearts the previous day, failed to inject any invention into proceedings, although Thistle’s French striker, Matthias Pogba, came close with a header from a Miller cross which arced over Ripley but landed on top of the net.