Motherwell 2 – 2 St Mirren

Eamonn Brophy scored two quick-fire goals as St Mirren fought back from two down to draw 2-2 at Motherwell in the cinch Premiership.

Tony Watt’s brace early in the second half appeared to be sending the hosts towards a much-needed victory after a run of three straight defeats.

But their winless run went on as Brophy pulled one back with 16 minutes left before equalising from a retaken 78th-minute spot-kick.

The game survived a pre-match pitch inspection after heavy rainfall, with referee Bobby Madden giving it the go-ahead an hour before kick-off.

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A minute’s silence was held across all six matches in the Scottish Premiership, as clubs and fans paid tribute to Walter Smith who passed away at the age of 73

It was a cagey opening to the match, although Motherwell goalkeeper had to be alert to gather a deflected Curtis Main shot in the 18th minute.

At the other end, Juhani Ojala headed a set-piece wide of Jak Alnwick’s right post, and that would prove to be Ojala’s last involvement as he hobbled off with an injury soon after to be replaced by Bevis Mugabi.

Chances were in short supply at both ends, with neither team managing to create any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.

Brophy attempted to light up Fir Park with a venomous strike from 30-yards before half-time, but his effort fizzed narrowly wide of the target.

Motherwell came out all guns blazing in the second half and took the lead in the 48th minute.

Sean Goss’ floated delivery from the left found Watt free at the back post and he directed his header back across Alnwick’s goal and into the net.

Tony Watt's double had Motherwell on course for victory
Tony Watt’s double had Motherwell on course for victory

The home side doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute from the penalty spot as Watt sent Alnwick the wrong way from 12 yards to score his seventh goal of the season.

St Mirren nearly pulled one back through Brophy as his dinked effort over goalkeeper Liam Kelly was heading for the back of the net before being thumped away from danger from Sondre Solholm Johansen.

The Buddies reduced the deficit after 74 minutes when Brophy timed his run perfectly and latched on to a tremendous ball down the line by Joe Shaughnessy before firing beyond Kelly from a narrow angle.

Brophy then earned his side a spot-kick when he was fouled by Johansen. His first penalty was saved but the referee ordered it to be retaken and he made no mistake the second time around as he rifled an unstoppable penalty into the top corner.

St Mirren would have completed an incredible turnaround had Kelly not made two fine stoppage-time saves. He palmed a header away from close-range before tipping Brophy’s goal-bound effort round the post.

What the managers said

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: “I genuinely don’t know what to say about the penalty decision because I want to do my job and I want to be honest, but I also want to work next week with my team so I can’t say exactly how I feel as we are powerless. I think it was blatant for everyone to see and we’ve been punished tonight.

“Penalty decisions like that don’t even come around every year never mind every week and I can’t explain these decisions. Unfortunately, we can’t control these decisions, so we will focus on our efforts and what we can do better.

“We had a 2-0 lead in a game that we weren’t in control of as I thought St Mirren were the better team in the first half.”

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: “I felt as if it was a one-sided 45 minutes and we were in complete control. Unfortunately, we lost two goals in a five-minute spell.

“It’s the reaction of the players I am satisfied with, as you can begin to think that it’s not going to be your night, but huge credit to the boys who kept passing and probing and the opportunities eventually came.

“I’m delighted for Eamonn Brophy. It was an incredible finish from such a tight angle for the first goal before showing a lot of bottle to take the second penalty and dispatch it in the way that he did.

“I should be happy with a point away from home against a team who are fighting for their lives but I can’t believe that we have not won that game as we absolutely dominated it.”

What’s next?

Motherwell host Rangers at Fir Park on Sunday in the Scottish Premiership, live on Sky Sports Football; coverage starts at 11am with kick-off at 12pm. Dundee host St Mirren on Saturday at 3pm.

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