St Mirren 1-1 Motherwell: Graham Alexander's managerial bow with Steelmen starts with draw

Motherwell manager Graham AlexanderMotherwell manager Graham Alexander
Motherwell manager Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander’s first game as Motherwell manager got off to a promising start as ’Well drew 1-1 against St Mirren in the sides’ Scottish Premiership clash in Paisley on Saturday.

Devante Cole struck in the first half to put Motherwell 1-0 up at half-time, but Jamie McGrath’s second half spot kick levelled for St Mirren.

Motherwell bossed possession in the first four minutes but were nearly hit by a sucker punch when an apparent foul on Stephen O'Donnell on the right flank wasn't given by referee Bobby Madden, St Mirren broke and Kyle McAllister's speculative left footed lob drifted not far wide.

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There was an excellent chance for St Mirren wasted on 11 minutes when Declan Gallagher's headed clearance under pressure went straight to Marcus Fraser who volleyed wide with the goal gaping.

From a St Mirren free-kick on the left, the ball was squared to Jamie McGrath who shot powerfully but wide.

Speculative efforts from home pair Lee Erwin and McAllister then went wide.

Motherwell almost took the lead on 22 minutes with Mugabi strutting forward impressively before feeding Polworth, whose cross was met at point blank range at the back post by Tony Watt's head but Jak Alnwick saved.

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The Steelmen again almost took the lead within two minutes as Cole expertly controlled a long ball forward to set up a chance but volleyed wide from the edge of the box.

But Cole did put the visitors ahead after 26 minutes when he finished sharply from six yards after a Polworth corner had been cleared initially before Watt won the ball aerially when it was played back in.

A Polworth corner was then flapped at by Alnwick and found Gallagher at the back post but he volleyed wide.

Motherwell nearly paid for giving away possession when Erwin advanced and had a shot deflected just off target.

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Erwin then played it through to Dylan Connolly with a good chance but O'Donnell blocked his effort for the concession of a corner.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Erwin headed over a half chance for St Mirren after Eamonn Brophy had come on for McAllister.

There was a let-off for the Steelmen when Erhahon missed a great chance by shooting off target after McGrath’s cross from the right.

Cole had a headed chance on 71 minutes but missed from a Watt cross, before Motherwell brought on Jordan White for Hastie.

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There was then disaster for ’Well when Mugabi committed a foul at the expense of a penalty which was converted by McGrath.

Debutant keeper Liam Kelly made a fine save from a free-kick by Saints sub Ilkay Durmus, before Cole was replaced by Barry Maguire.

Motherwell were almost celebrating a goal when Mark O’Hara’s wonderful dipping free-kick was saved by Alnwick in the top corner.

Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Gallagher, Mugabi, Carroll, Campbell, O’Hara, Polworth, Hastie (White 72), Cole (Maguire 83), Watt.

Referee: Bobby Madden