Dundee United 2 Motherwell 1: Steelmen suffer third straight defeat

Motherwell suffered a third straight defeat in the Premiership after a narrow defeat away to Dundee United.

Ryan Edwards’ first-half header put the hosts in front before a Tony Watt penalty in the second half looked like it would give the Steelmen a share of the spoils.

However, Charlie Mulgrew – who set up the opener with a terrific delivery – poked home the winner 13 minutes from time to extend United’s unbeaten run to six games and go joint-top of the Premiership. Motherwell stay sixth in the table.

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander

After a 2-1 win over Ross County at the end of last month had them eyeing up the top of the table, October has been a barren spell for Graham Alexander’s side so far with zero points from a possible nine after defeats to Hearts, Celtic and now United.

Motherwell made just one change from last week’s 2-0 defeat at home to Celtic, as Kevin van Veen was given the nod in the three-pronged attack alongside Tony Watt and Kaiyne Woolery, replacing Jordan Roberts.

United also went with a single alteration, with Declan Glass dropping out from the side which won 3-0 at Hibs last week. He was replaced by Dylan Levitt.

Tony Watt celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1

After just 50 seconds the Steelmen came close to the opening goal when Tony Watt’s deflected delivery fell kindly for Sean Goss, but his volley was turned round the post by Benjamin Siegrist.

The Tangerines’ first real opportunity arrived in the eighth minute when Scott McMann whipped the ball in from the left and Nicky Clark’s flick in the box drifted harmlessly wide of the target.

In 19 minutes Bevis Mugabi mis-controlled the ball some 40 yards from the Mothertwell goal and the impressive Illmari Niskanen pounced on the mistakes to hone in on goal, but Mugabi tracked back well to push him wide and block the shot.

More sports news from across Lanarkshire

Down the other end, a deflected Woolery strike on the angle after half an hour forced Siegrist to tip the ball wide.

The hosts were enjoying most of the possession but ‘Well goalkeeper Liam Kelly had little to do as United failed to register a shot on target in the first half.

However, in the 35th minute United took the lead with their first effort on target. Mulgreew’s free-kick didn’t beat the first man, but when the ball was worked back out to him on the wing, the former Celtic man showed great feet to beat Nathan McGinley with a cheeky stepover, before whipping a terrific ball to the back post for Edwards to get ahead of O’Donnell and nod home.

Ryan Edwards scores to make it 1-0 Dundee Utd

A few minutes later, Motherwell thought they had equalised when Juhani Ojala headed home, but it was ruled out for a push on McMann.

Siegrest then had to be alert to turn another Woolery strike round the post, as the Steelmen headed in at the break a goal down.

Seven minutes into the second half an effort from an acute angle by van Veen was turned behind for corner. From the set-piece, Liam Grimshaw caught a volley flush on the edge of the box but he couldn’t keep it on target.

Motherwell’s Kaiyne Woolerey, left, tested the United keeper

Niskanen curled an effort narrowly wide after some neat one-touch passing on the edge of the Motherwell box created space for a shot, after O’Donnell had been muscled off the ball in his own penalty area.

Motherwell came agonisingly close to an equaliser in 68 minutes when Siegrist pulled off a stunning save to deny Mugabi, after he had poked O’Donnell’s shot towards the far corner.

But two minutes later they were level. Referee Kevin Clancy pointed to the penalty spot after Siegrist came to clear and clattered into Watt. The striker then dusted himself down and sent his rival the wrong way from 12 yards to pull ‘Well level.

Motherwell’s Tony Watt scores from the spot to make it 1-1

There was more drama to come though as Dylan Levitt’s free-kick was turned back across goal by Edwards and Mulgrew improvised to poke home the winner at the back post.

Motherwell are back in action on Wednesday night when they host seventh-place St Mirren in the Premiership.

DUNDEE UTD: Siegrist, McMann, Freeman, Mulgrew, Edwards, Fuchs, Harkes, Pawlett, Niskanen, Levitt, Clark (Appere 80).

Scorers: Edwards 35, Mulgrew 77

Bookings: Fuchs, Edwards

Subs not used: Newman, Hoti, Biamou, Chalmers, Glass, Smith.

MOTHERWELL: Kelly, McGinley, Mugabi, Ojala, O’Donnell, Slattery (O’Hara 82), Goss, Grimshaw, Woolery (Roberts 86), van Veen (Shields 82), Watt.

Scorers: Watt 70 (pen)

Bookings: Slattery, Grimshaw, van Veen, Slattery, McGinley

Subs not used: Solholm Johansen, Maguire, Fox, Carroll.

HT: 1-0

Ref: Kevin Clancy

Att: 6,854

All the latest sport news in Lanarkshire

Follow Lanarkshire Live Sport onTwitter via@LanLiveSport, like us onFacebookor find us onInstagramfor the latest sports news, pictures and video.

Daily Record – Motherwell