Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1.
Aberdeen 0-1 Motherwell
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.
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.
- 2ShaughnessySubstituted forMagennisat 70'minutes
- 4AndersonBooked at 56mins
- 15RobsonSubstituted forMurrayat 85'minutes
- 9VernonSubstituted forZola-Makongoat 86'minutes
- 11HayesBooked at 80mins
- 5HutchinsonBooked at 44mins
- 25AinsworthSubstituted forFrancis-Angolat 71'minutes
- 24AnierSubstituted forMooreat 66'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 8LawsonBooked at 84mins
- Kevin Clancy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Motherwell 1.
Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.
Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Moore (Motherwell).
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by John Sutton.
Craig Moore (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.
Craig Moore (Motherwell) has gone down, but that's a dive.
Attempt missed. Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Calvin Zola-Makongo replaces Scott Vernon.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Craig Murray replaces Barry Robson.
Paul Lawson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Keith Lasley.
Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Paul Lawson (Motherwell) because of an injury.
Russell Anderson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by John Sutton (Motherwell).
Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).
Foul by Scott Vernon (Aberdeen).
Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Motherwell. Zaine Francis-Angol replaces Lionel Ainsworth.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Josh Magennis replaces Joe Shaughnessy.
Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).
Foul by Michael Hector (Aberdeen).
Craig Moore (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Moore replaces Henri Anier.
Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.
Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box.
Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).
Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).
Russell Anderson (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.
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.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Steven Hammell.