Match ends, Motherwell 2, St. Johnstone 0.
Motherwell 2-0 St Johnstone
Two second-half goals gave Motherwell victory over St Johnstone and took them up to sixth in the Premiership.
After Stefan Scougall's early shot for Saints was saved, Well created a host of chances with Curtis Main a persistent threat.
Main and Andy Rose combined to set up Allan Campbell at close range for the opener.
And Main marked a fine performance with a low strike into the right corner.
St Johnstone had been dominant over Motherwell in recent years with eight wins in their past 11 meetings and they began on the front foot.
Recalled Scougall latched on to a ball played in by Chris Kane but his effort from just 12 yards was weak and straight into the arms of Trevor Carson.
Scougall turned provider when he made great strides down the left to set up Kane but the forward slipped as he shot and the chance was gone.
The visitors were dealt a blow after just 20 minutes when Scougall was forced off after landing awkwardly, Matty Willock coming on.
The physicality of Main was proving difficult for the Saints defence to handle but the 25-year-old also showed tremendous skill and control on the turn 16 yards out only for Mannus to save.
His best first-half effort came just before the break when Campbell played in the former Portsmouth striker 22 yards out but his shot crashed off the top of the bar and over.
Whatever Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson said to his players at the break it certainly had the desired effect.
They piled the pressure on the St Johnstone defence with Main heavily involved in all that was good about their play.
He fired a shot wide after being set up by Nadir Ciftci and the pair combined again with only the left boot of Mannus denying Main the opener.
Motherwell deservedly made the breakthrough following good work on the left involving Main and Rose, who laid the ball across for Campbell to convert in the six-yard box - his first goal since April.
Main's overall performance merited a goal and he duly delivered.
Richard Tait won a battle with Joe Shaughnessy just outside the box and played the ball into Main, who turned and hit a left-foot shot across goal and beyond the stranded Mannus.
Main came close again when his volley from a Campbell cross was saved by Mannus and the striker received a standing ovation as he was replaced by Deimantas Petravicius.
Deep into stoppage time, Mannus was called into action again as pushed substitute Gael Bigirimana's curling shot wide.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "I felt we could have won by more. We had a lot of chances.
"The first half was a bit of a nothing game, if we are honest. I picked a team that could fight and battle because St Johnstone always make it difficult and I thought we out-battled them.
"We've only lost one in six now. It was what we were doing earlier in the season, we're keeping clean sheets and our link-up play was excellent in the second half.
"Curtis Main scored one but he's not happy, he thought he should have had a hat-trick. He sets himself high standards and I love that."
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "Not good enough. I've just asked the players 'how can we go from being comfortable in the first half to being totally dominated?' I'll be looking for answers over the next few days.
"It's the same old, same old, we can't put in a performance over 90 minutes.
"We didn't do the basics. We didn't stop crosses, we didn't win tackles, we didn't win headers, and that gave Motherwell a platform to play the way they did. It's the result we deserve.
"The players can forget about top six at the moment. We are struggling to put a run together.
"We'll just have to take each game as it comes. There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves. We have caused this and we'll have to get ourselves out of it."
- 22CampbellSubstituted forBigirimanaat 85'minutes
- 9MainSubstituted forPetraviciusat 80'minutes
- 23CiftciSubstituted forTannerat 67'minutes
- 19FosterSubstituted forWatsonat 73'minutes
- 15KerrBooked at 45mins
- 21ScougallSubstituted forWillockat 20'minutes
- 9MacLeanSubstituted forJohnstoneat 66'minutes
- Don Robertson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, St. Johnstone 0.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Alan Mannus.
Attempt saved. Gael Bigirimana (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.
Attempt missed. Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Andy Rose.
Attempt blocked. Scott Tanser (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Andy Rose (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Deimantas Petravicius (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).
Substitution, Motherwell. Gael Bigirimana replaces Allan Campbell.
Attempt missed. Craig Tanner (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Attempt missed. Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Substitution, Motherwell. Deimantas Petravicius replaces Curtis Main.
Attempt saved. Curtis Main (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Cedric Kipre (Motherwell).
Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Keith Watson replaces Richard Foster.
Foul by Curtis Main (Motherwell).
Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Goal! Motherwell 2, St. Johnstone 0. Curtis Main (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Richard Tait.
Allan Campbell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Matty Willock (St. Johnstone).
Foul by Carl McHugh (Motherwell).
Matty Willock (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Motherwell. Craig Tanner replaces Nadir Ciftci.
Substitution, St. Johnstone. Denny Johnstone replaces Steven MacLean.
Goal! Motherwell 1, St. Johnstone 0. Allan Campbell (Motherwell) right footed shot from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Richard Tait.
Cedric Kipre (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone).
Attempt missed. Chris Cadden (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.
Attempt blocked. Blair Alston (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Charles Dunne (Motherwell).
Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Andy Rose (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Matty Willock (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Motherwell).
Foul by Chris Cadden (Motherwell).
Scott Tanser (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Curtis Main (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.