Match ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Motherwell 1.
Motherwell secured a vital Premiership victory over Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton Academical, their first at New Douglas Park since May 2009.
Louis Laing blasted in the only goal of the game shortly before half-time to cap an opening 45 minutes packed with chances and tumult.
Louis Moult saw his second-half spot-kick brilliantly saved by home goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
But the visitors resisted Accies' pressure to move seventh in the table.
This was Motherwell's third win from their last four league games. For Accies, the slump continues having picked up only one win from their last 14 matches.
The visitors started the better with Hamilton, who were looking for their first home win since beating Motherwell on their last visit to New Douglas Park in September, looking slightly hesitant.
It was tasty early on and the League Cup final referee Kevin Clancy produced his yellow card three times to book Accies players Ziggy Gordon, Antons Kurakins and Gramoz Kurtaj within a three-minute spell.
Despite some promising attacking play Scott McDonald's curling 25-yard free-kick which went wide was the closest they came to making a breakthrough.
After defender Mikey Devlin headed an Ali Crawford corner kick against the base of the post Accies looked more confident in their approach.
Dougie Imrie twice went close with left foot efforts before Kurtaj failed to punish a Ben Hall mistake by shooting tamely at Motherwell 'keeper Conor Ripley.
As play swung from end to end McGovern, who is attracting interest from a number of clubs, made an excellent save tipping wide a Stephen Pearson shot.
Motherwell then hit the post a minute before the interval through a McDonald flick from a Johnson shot.
But just as everyone was looking forward to their half-time pie Laing scored after Moult's header from Hammell's corner bounced off McGovern's shoulder into the path of the big defender who smacked it into the roof of the net.
Motherwell came close to increasing their lead early in the second period when Johnson headed a Chris Cadden cross over the bar.
A few minutes later McDonald fired an effort not the side netting.
With nine minutes remaining Motherwell missed the chance to put the game beyond Accies from the penalty spot. McGovern pulled down Cadden inside the area diving at his feet and the referee had no doubt about the decision.
However, the Accies 'keeper made amends with a superb save turning Moult's spot-kick round the post.
That gave Accies renewed vigour but they failed to find a route to goal.
- 1McGovernBooked at 79mins
- 2GordonBooked at 7mins
- 44De Lima Tagliapietra
- 3KurakinsBooked at 9mins
- 22LyonSubstituted forDiabyat 84'minutes
- 11CrawfordSubstituted forBrophyat 65'minutes
- 12KurtajBooked at 10minsSubstituted forDochertyat 56'minutes
- 14MorrisBooked at 85mins
- 11JohnsonBooked at 77mins
- 20MoultSubstituted forKennedyat 87'minutes
- Kevin Clancy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Motherwell 1.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Dougie Imrie.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Carlton Morris.
Foul by Lucas (Hamilton Academical).
Stephen Pearson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marvin Johnson (Motherwell).
Substitution, Motherwell. Kieran Kennedy replaces Louis Moult.
Attempt missed. Marvin Johnson (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Carlton Morris (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Oumar Diaby replaces Darren Lyon.
Foul by Carlton Morris (Hamilton Academical).
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Scott McDonald (Motherwell).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Antons Kurakins.
Penalty saved! Louis Moult (Motherwell) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.
Michael McGovern (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Penalty conceded by Michael McGovern (Hamilton Academical) after a foul in the penalty area.