Match ends, Motherwell 2, Inverness CT 1.
Motherwell survived a late Inverness onslaught to take the battle for second place to the final day of the season.
Ross Draper conceded a cheap penalty before Gary Warren headed into his own net to hand Motherwell a 2-0 lead.
The visitors were much improved after half-time and, after Graeme Shinnie pulled one back, they passed up a number of chances to draw level.
Billy McKay hit the post with the last kick of the ball as they bombarded the home goal, but Motherwell clung on.
The win sets up a winner-takes-all clash between the Steelemen and Aberdeen on Sunday, with second place up for grabs at Pittodrie.
John Hughes will feel hard done-by with more than enough chances created to at least earn a point, with two soft goals ultimately their downfall.
Motherwell were in the mood early, but even they did not envisage the early goal arriving so easily.
Ross Draper paused on the ball for too long inside the box, seemingly oblivious to the danger posed by Sutton.
He was robbed of possession before being tripped as the defender stuck out a leg in his lazy attempt to make amends for his error and Sutton was given the simple task of rolling the penalty into the net.
Zaine Francis-Angol cut inside and skimmed the bar minutes later as the game continued at a good pace with both sides moving the ball about well.
Steven Hammell was taken down late on the edge of the box by Greg Tansey and Iain Vigurs almost caught out Dean Brill with the free-kick; the goalkeeper just managing to get his finger tips to it to palm it away.
At the other end, Inverness were getting plenty of the ball, but Lee Hollis did not have a save to make in the opening 30 minutes.
Aaron Doran curled their best chance wide before Carl Tremarco appeared to put his own team-mate off as McKay failed to bury a header at the back post.
There wasn't much between the two, but Motherwell doubled their lead when the visitors again shot themselves in the foot.
A corner was whipped in to the danger area, where Warren met with a diving header, but unfortunately he was facing his own goal and nestled the ball into the net.
Amid the comical defending, Motherwell sensed a third goal was on the cards. Francis-Angol was being given the freedom of the park on the left hand side and he had all the time in the world to roll the ball along to Lionel Ainsworth, who side-footed the ball off the bar.
Inverness needed a bit of fortune to get themselves back into the game and it arrived when Shinnie's low shot took a slight nick off a defender that edged it away from the outstretched hand of Hollis and into the net.
That gave John Hughes' men the boost they needed and McKay, Tansey and Warren all went close as all of a sudden Motherwell's dreams of a second-place finish were in danger of collapsing.
The visitors continued their onslaught. David Raven slipped the ball through to McKay, who put his shot just to the other side of the post, while Warren again headed over as he attempted to make up for his earlier own-goal.
The Highlanders had done everything but score since the hour mark and Tansey cracked a free-kick against the legs of Hollis as they continued to pile the pressure on the hosts.
However, their luck was summed up with the last action of the game as McKay poked the ball off the inside of the post, with the ball somehow staying out as Motherwell moved back to within a point of Aberdeen.
- 25AinsworthSubstituted forAnierat 79'minutes
- 11VigursBooked at 76mins
- 7McFaddenSubstituted forKerrat 56'minutes
- 17Francis-AngolSubstituted forMooreat 80'minutes
- 15WatkinsSubstituted forChristieat 76'minutes
- 10DoranSubstituted forWilliamsat 66'minutes
- 16TanseyBooked at 23mins
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, Inverness CT 1.
Billy McKay (Inverness CT) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.
Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by David Raven (Inverness CT).
Foul by Steven Hammell (Motherwell).
Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Carl Tremarco.
Foul by Craig Moore (Motherwell).
Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).
Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).
Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.
Foul by Henri Anier (Motherwell).
Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Moore replaces Zaine Francis-Angol.
Substitution, Motherwell. Henri Anier replaces Lionel Ainsworth.