Motherwell leapt from fifth to second in the Premiership with a narrow win over Aberdeen.

Lionel Ainsworth scored the only goal on the counter-attack after a good run by Henri Anier.

The Dons best chance fell to Jonny Hayes who inexplicably sent a free header wide from just outside the six yard box.

And the visitors withstood a late bombardment to secure a third win on the bounce.

Despite losing the two previous meetings this season, Motherwell had not lost at Pittodrie since 2008.

Both teams had defensive problems to patch up for the match, with the hosts seeing Mark Reynolds joining Clark Robertson and Andrew Considine on the sidelines after the facial gash suffered against Caley Thistle.

Motherwell lost Stephen McManus to an ankle injury, with Fraser Kerr deputising for the former Celtic captain and Paul Lawson lining up against brother-in-law Russell Anderson for the visitors at the expense of the benched Iain Vigurs.

Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes missed a great chance to give the Dons the lead

Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes missed a great chance to give the Dons the lead

The Dons started the brighter, pinning Motherwell back with the best early chance being spurned by Hayes who replaced Reynolds in the starting 11 and at left-back.

Niall McGinn's tempting cross from the right found an unmarked Hayes who headed wide from eight yards in what was a glorious opportunity.

Motherwell striker John Sutton and Dons defender Joe Shaughnessy clashed heads and both had spells back in the dressing room.

On Sutton's return to the action he found himself goal-side of Anderson after riding a desperate lunge, but his tame effort was held by Jamie Langfield.

A McGinn free kick went just wide before Lawson's long-range effort went straight at Langfield.

Aberdeen pressed for an opener before the interval and almost found it when Willo Flood weighted a pass into the path of McGinn who went round goalkeeper Dan Twardzik but his effort at the angle was saved by the former Dons squad man.

Just as they had done in the Highlands on Saturday, the Dons conceded early in the second half.

Flood's header in midfield bounced off Ryan Jack and into the path of Anier who ran from his own half before putting it on a plate for Ainsworth, who side-footed past Langfield from six yards.

The game continued down its previous path as Aberdeen continued to take the game to their stuffy visitors.

Shaughnessy, Peter Pawlett and McGinn all went close for the Dons whose appeals for a penalty after Pawlett was upended in the box, were ignored by referee Kevin Clancy.

Anier was denied up the other end by a Shaughnessy block as Motherwell tried to hit on the counter as Pawlett blazed over Twardzik's bar.

McGinn had one last chance from a free-kick that flashed just wide in stoppage time.

But it was Motherwell who made it three wins out of three to move second and gain some revenge on the side that knocked them out of the League Cup.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Aberdeen

  • 01 Langfield
  • 02 Shaughnessy (Magennis - 70' )
  • 22 Jack
  • 08 Flood
  • 04 Anderson Booked
  • 27 Hector
  • 15 Robson (Murray - 85' )
  • 16 Pawlett
  • 10 McGinn
  • 09 Vernon (Zola - 86' )
  • 11 Hayes Booked

Substitutes

  • 07 Zola
  • 14 Smith
  • 17 Wylde
  • 18 Low
  • 20 Weaver
  • 21 Magennis
  • 35 Murray

Motherwell

  • 51 Twardzik
  • 20 Kerr
  • 03 Hammell
  • 18 Carswell
  • 05 Hutchinson Booked
  • 04 Ramsden
  • 25 Ainsworth (Francis-Angol - 71' )
  • 14 Lasley
  • 24 Anier (Moore - 66' Booked )
  • 09 Sutton
  • 08 Lawson Booked

Substitutes

  • 07 McFadden
  • 11 Vigurs
  • 12 Nielsen
  • 15 Cummins
  • 16 McHugh
  • 17 Francis-Angol
  • 22 Moore
Ref: Kevin Clancy
Att: 12,494

Match Stats

Shots

10 2

On target

3 2

Corners

8 2

Fouls

7 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1.

90:00 +4:22 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1.

90:00 +3:24

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

90:00 +3:00

Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +2:58

Foul by Craig Moore (Motherwell).

90:00 +2:30

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by John Sutton.

90:00 +1:50 Booking

Booking Craig Moore (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +1:45

Craig Moore (Motherwell) has gone down, but that's a dive.

89:23

Attempt missed. Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

85:01 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Calvin Zola-Makongo replaces Scott Vernon.

84:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Craig Murray replaces Barry Robson.

83:48 Booking

Booking Paul Lawson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

82:32

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Keith Lasley.

79:21 Booking

Booking Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

79:18

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

78:41

Delay in match Paul Lawson (Motherwell) because of an injury.

76:10

Russell Anderson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

76:10

Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).

74:28

Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

74:28

Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).

73:24

Foul by Scott Vernon (Aberdeen).

73:24

Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

70:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Zaine Francis-Angol replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

69:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Josh Magennis replaces Joe Shaughnessy.

67:32

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:32

Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).

66:25

Foul by Michael Hector (Aberdeen).

66:25

Craig Moore (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

65:01 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Moore replaces Henri Anier.

63:46

Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

60:23

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.

58:28

Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box.

56:48

Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

56:48

Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).

56:08

Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

56:08

Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).

55:12 Booking

Booking Russell Anderson (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

54:28

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.

48:39 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Henri Anier following a fast break.

47:30

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Steven Hammell.

45:00

Second Half begins Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 0.

45:00 +1:16 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 0.

45:00 +0:53

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by John Sutton.

45:00 +0:42

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.

45:00 +0:27

Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

43:47 Booking

Booking Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

43:15

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Michael Hector.

41:33

Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

41:33

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

38:48

Attempt missed. Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

38:00

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

38:00

Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).

37:05

Attempt saved. Paul Lawson (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

35:33

Foul by Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).

35:33

Simon Ramsden (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.

34:01

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

33:19

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:19

Foul by Steven Hammell (Motherwell).

31:06

Hand ball by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

30:30

Foul by Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).

30:30

Paul Lawson (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

26:40

Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

24:00

Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

24:00

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

22:16

Attempt missed. Barry Robson (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

18:10

Foul by Barry Robson (Aberdeen).

18:10

Stuart Carswell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:14

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Ryan Jack.

13:27

Attempt missed. Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

10:54

Hand ball by Willo Flood (Aberdeen).

7:27

Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen).

7:27

John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:26

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Paul Lawson.

2:31

Barry Robson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

2:31

Foul by Paul Lawson (Motherwell).

1:16

Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

1:16

Foul by Steven Hammell (Motherwell).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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