IAN Baraclough watched his Motherwell team secure another win in his second game as manager and then set his sights on bringing excitement back to Fir Park.
Motherwell held on for a 1-0 victory over Partick Thistle to make it two John Sutton winners and two clean sheets in a row under the new manager.
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The home side showed signs of regaining their fluency after Sutton converted his 14th-minute penalty. Henrik Ojamaa twice drew good saves from Paul Gallacher and Lionel Ainsworth put over a series of dangerous crosses as he tormented stand-in left-back Stuart Bannigan, who was in an unfamiliar position amid the absence of Jake Carroll and Jordan McMillan.
But Motherwell were pegged back for the vast majority of the second half, although they defended well and came closest to a second goal when Ojamaa played Lee Erwin clean through, with the substitute shooting just wide after cutting in.
Baraclough said of his Fir Park debut: “It was good, especially first half, because you felt the players were performing to get the fans on their side.
“I said to them beforehand, ‘It’s up to us to try to get people off their seats so they will back you’. And they will, given time and given that sort of performance.
“Second half we just got away from that a little bit, which was frustrating because I wanted the first performance at home, where fans could go away thinking things really have changed for the better. But there are glimpses of it and that will come.”
Thistle started promisingly but they gifted Motherwell the lead when Bannigan pulled Ainsworth down in the box, and they did not get a grip on the game until he moved into his natural midfield position close to half-time and began to spray the ball around.
With Steven Lawless on just after the break to provide movement and creativity, Thistle dominated possession and stretched Motherwell but could not test Dan Twardzik and saw several penalty appeals rejected.
The defeat saw Motherwell close the gap on Thistle to three points and add to the frustration of the visitors after they lost a last-gasp equaliser against Dundee the previous week.
Defender Dan Seaborne said: “The first 20 minutes we weren’t at it, we were off the boil and didn’t do the right things. But for long periods after that we have dominated the game and we created enough chances to win.
“We picked the wrong options when we should have been putting the ball into the box or shooting. It’s disappointing. There are positives but we can’t keep saying that. We need to start improving in certain areas. We need to take things into our own hands and start getting back to basics and doing well.
“We have been dominant in games but not won recently, but I would rather not be dominant and win.”
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