Motherwell’s Lionel Ainsworth came off the bench and scored a screamer to share the points with Dundee United in a thrilling match which ended 2-2.
Stuart McCall was disappointed not to win it in the end. He said: “I might feel different later; my first sense after the game is one of disappointment. I just felt at half time that we stopped their good players playing, we were relatively in control and we looked dangerous at times.”
The game started off tepid with Motherwell getting off to the best start as McManus’ header went narrowly wide of the post in the seventh minute.
With much of the game being played in United’s half it was no surprise that Motherwell went ahead at the half hour mark. Francis-Angol made a lovely run down the left hand side and skipped past Watson and played it into Anier who took it down onto his chest and powerfully volleyed it in the back of the net with his left foot.
United’s best chance of the game came at the end of the first half when Stuart Armstrong shot just wide of the post.
Dundee United manager, Jackie McNamara said: “It was a game of two halves. I thought Motherwell better in the first half. I was disappointed with the defending; just the simple ball in the air was causing us problems.”
McNamara must have done wonders in his team talk as United hit the ground running straight from the whistle in the second half. Ryan Gauld was providing great crosses from the corners but no one could get on the end of them.
Their persistence paid off though in the 54th minute with a great goal from Nadir Citfci showing why he is starting ahead of David Goodwillie. A superb pass from John Rankin to the left hand side slipped in Citfci who angled the ball underneath Lee Hollis.
There seemed to be no stopping United as just four minutes later 19-year-old full back Andrew Robertson dribbled the ball unchallenged from well inside his own half and unleashed a 25 yard strike into the corner of the goal.
Robertson seemed to have sealed what would have been United’s first win against Motherwell in the top flight since May 2011 until Ainsworth somehow managed to better Robertson’s goal. Ainsworth, who is on loan from Rotherham United, left the fans and goalkeeper Cierzniak shocked as his 25 yard powerful strike bent away from the keeper and into the top right hand corner to earn a draw for the visitors.
Stuart McCall reflected on Ainsworth’s goal after the game: “Overall, a point up at Tannadice in the form they’re in is acceptable. I have never seen him do that but he has got that in his locker and he gives us that outlet on the right with pace and crosses a good ball as well.”
The draw keeps both sides in the top six of the table and looking ahead to their crucial midweek fixtures in the third round of the Scottish Communities League Cup.
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Watson, Souttar, Dillon, Robertson, Paton, Rankin, Dow(Graham 81), Gauld(Goodwillie 81), Armstrong, Ciftci(Oyenuga 88).
Motherwell: Hollis, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, Sutton, Vigurs(Ainsworth 63), Lasley, Francis-Angol, Carswell, Anier(McFadden 76).
Referee: Kevin Clancy