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St Mirren 0-0 Motherwell

Chris Porter and Franco Miranda
Motherwell's Chris Porter and Franco Miranda of St Mirren battle

St Mirren's final league game at Love Street proved a damp squib as they battled out a draw with Motherwell.

The home side were aiming to sign off at their ground with a fifth successive victory, but defences were on top form.

Andy Dorman had the best chance for Gus MacPherson's team early on as he spun in the box only to see his hit saved.

Keith Lasley could have netted for Motherwell on the half-hour mark from close range but shot wide, and his side sink further into the relegation fight.

The party atmosphere quickly turned sour when Hugh Murray picked up the game's first booking after just seven minutes for chopping down Jim O'Brien.

Jim Hamilton then earned a lecture from referee Alan Muir for clattering into goalkeeper Graeme Smith as he tried to gather a Franco Miranda cross.

The home side did manage to carve out the first real chance of the game when Stephen McGinn played the ball out to Garry Brady on the right.

He set up Andy Dorman who spun brilliantly and shot. Smith did well to parry the strike and the home side failed to capitalise on the resultant corner.

Graeme Smith and Jim Hamilton
Motherwell keeper Graeme Smith and Jim Hamilton of St Mirren get stuck in

At the other end, Lasley tried his luck with an effort from distance but the shot fell well wide of the target, with Mark Howard untroubled in the Love Street club's goal.

Motherwell had an opportunity on 16 minutes when Stephen Hughes nodded the ball onto Chris Porter in the box, but he could only head over.

Just after the half-hour mark came the visitors' best chance of the match after Motherwell had surged forward in numbers.

Lasley shot straight at home keeper Howard after the keeper had dealt with earlier efforts.

With just two minutes until half-time Motherwell's Paul Quinn caught St Mirren's John Potter with a flying elbow but it was unclear whether it was intentional.

Murray - Saints' longest serving player - could have been the hero with a speculative shot just before the break but drove narrowly wide of the upright as the first half ended goalless.

Motherwell nearly edged in front after eight minutes of the second period when David Clarkson surged into the box and got away a strong shot, but Howard saved well with his legs.

St Mirren were in need of a cutting edge in front of goal and made their first change with 64 minutes gone when Hamilton was withdrawn for Craig Dargo.

Dargo wasted no time in trying his luck but Smith was up to the task and managed to gather comfortably.

Both sides endeavoured for a winner to go into the history books as the last league winners at Love Street.

Motherwell's Maros Klimpl struck a thunderous shot at goal as time ticked away and there was more than a hint of handball in the box.

However, despite no lack of effort and end-to-end action, the match ended in stalemate.

St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson: "Scenes like this show you how much this means to so many people. It's a fantastic turnout here from supporters and ex-players and these scenes are fantastic.

"Unfortunately we didn't win the game today and it wasn't the greatest game, but we need these supporters - you can see how passionate they are about their club.

"I felt it was a really scrappy game. The pitch was not conducive to good football. We didn't pass the ball anywhere nearly as good as recent weeks.

"In the end we were delighted to take a point. We had to defend well and at times, when they got through that back four, we had the goalkeeper to thank who had two or three wonderful saves."

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee: "The pitch cut up, it was difficult to pass the ball and there were a few dodgy bounces, but it was a decent enough game.

"I'm in absolutely no doubt that we should have had a penalty kick at the end, but that's what happens.

"I thought we just edged it, but it was a good 0-0 for the supporters, there was a good atmosphere and I think everyone enjoyed the game.

"Today was a step up from the Inverness game, although we won that. We looked the team more likely to win and now we can take that into our game in hand against Hearts."

St Mirren: Howard, Ross, Cuthbert, Potter, Miranda (Brighton 83), Brady (Robb 69), Murray, Dorman, McGinn, Hamilton (Dargo 65), Wyness. Subs Not Used: Smith, Mason, Barron, McAusland.

Booked: Murray, Brighton.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Quinn, Craigan, Reynolds, Hammell, Klimpl, Hughes, Lasley, O'Brien (Murphy 82), Porter, Clarkson. Subs Not Used: Krysiak, Malcolm, Sutton, Darren Smith, McGarry, Saunders.

Booked: Lasley.

Att: 10,189

Ref: A Muir.

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see also
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03 Jan 09 |  Scottish Premier
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