St Mirren's John Potter challenges John Sutton for an aerial ball
Defences were the real winners as neither side managed to force a breakthrough at St Mirren Park.
The visitors came close early on when St Mirren goalkeeper Paul Gallacher spilled a shot from Giles Coke.
Andy Dorman passed up a great chance shortly after coming on as a sub, slicing his shot wide with only Motherwell keeper John Ruddy to beat.
Stephen O'Donnell went close with a header late on, only to see Well's Mark Reynolds clear the ball off the line.
The result lifts the Buddies four points clear of Scottish Premier League bottom club Falkirk, who have played a game less while fifth-place Motherwell now boast an eight-point advantage over Hearts.
St Mirren defender Jack Ross made a surprise return from injury in one of four changes for the home side.
The visitors came into the game on the back of a ten-game unbeaten run, while the hosts were desperately seeking their first SPL win in ten.
Neither side seemed able to carve out a clear opportunity in the opening stages, despite some decent passages of play in the middle of the park.
The home side had the first shot on goal when on-loan Celtic full-back Graham Carey fired in a drive from long-range but his shot was straight at Ruddy.
Motherwell answered immediately with David Barron's clearance sparing Gallacher's blushes after the keeper had fumbled a straightforward effort from Coke.
The game was being played largely in midfield and Dargo was left frustrated when Michael Higdon over-hit a cross as the St Mirren striker lurked in a good position in the box.
Coke tested Gallacher again as glimmers of openings began to appear at either end but his firmly-struck shot was straight at the former Scotland international.
Higdon tried a spectacular overhead kick following a flick-on from strike-partner Dargo, but the big Englishman could not direct his acrobatic effort on target.
The impressive Carey then missed the best chance of the half when he lashed a right-footed effort just wide of the mark with Ruddy left helpless.
Higdon appealed for a penalty as half-time approached, claiming he was being held by Steven Saunders, but referee Dougie McDonald was unmoved.
Motherwell brought on wingers Jim O'Brien and Jamie Murphy at half-time but the second half continued in much the same vein as the first.
St Mirren manager MacPherson replaced Johnston with Dorman, and the newcomer almost repaid his manager with his second touch, firing over after a cross evaded the Motherwell defence.
Dorman was then presented with a great chance from a pass by Dargo but went for power over placement and, with the goal gaping, the midfielder sliced the ball wide.
Both sides huffed and puffed in the closing stages but neither could create that spark of magic to unlock either defence.
Midfielder Garry Brady tried his luck with a side-footed volley but, again, the shot was straight at Ruddy.
In a dramatic finale O'Donnell saw his net-bound header cleared off the line by Mark Reynolds, with the home players claiming for a penalty for handball.
Live text and stats
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
02 Ross (O'Donnell 76)
41 Johnston (Dorman 60)
11 Higdon (Mehmet 59)
06 Coke (Murphy 46)
07 Humphrey (McGlinchey 82)
27 Forbes (O'Brien 46)
Ref: McDonaldAtt: 3,154
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+2:00 The referee signals the end of the game.
89:04 Stephen O'Donnell takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Craigan. Graham Carey takes a inswinging corner.
88:13 Garry Brady fouled by John Sutton, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Gallacher restarts play with the free kick.
86:31 Graham Carey produces a cross, Stevie Hammell makes a clearance.
85:53 Jim O'Brien crosses the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by John Sutton goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
84:39 The ball is swung over by Craig Dargo, clearance made by Stephen Craigan. Graham Carey takes a inswinging corner to the near
post, Jim O'Brien manages to make a clearance. Shot from 20 yards from Garry Brady. Save made by John Ruddy.
84:12 The ball is swung over by Jamie Murphy, save made by Paul Gallacher.
83:34 David Barron delivers the ball, Craig Dargo takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.
82:56 The ball is swung over by Michael McGlinchey.
81:40 Direct free kick taken by John Ruddy.
81:40 Substitution Chris Humphrey leaves the field to be replaced by Michael McGlinchey.
81:40 A cross is delivered by Graham Carey, Stephen O'Donnell challenges Stephen Craigan unfairly and gives away a free kick.
79:55 Corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey from the right by-line to the near post, John Ruddy makes a save.
78:57 Unfair challenge on Stephen Craigan by Craig Dargo results in a free kick. Stephen Craigan takes the direct free kick.
77:31 Steven Saunders crosses the ball, John Potter makes a clearance.
77:06 Foul by Craig Dargo on Tom Hateley, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.
74:56 Substitution Jack Ross goes off and Stephen O'Donnell comes on.
74:56 Jamie Murphy has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
72:56 Steven Saunders takes a shot. Paul Gallacher makes a save.
71:52 Billy Mehmet is caught offside. Stevie Hammell takes the free kick.
70:17 Foul by Stephen Craigan on Billy Mehmet, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Graham Carey.
69:57 The ball is swung over by Stevie Hammell, John Potter makes a clearance.
69:06 Close range effort by Jim O'Brien misses to the left of the goal.
68:18 Graham Carey concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Humphrey. Tom Hateley crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed
from right wing, clearance by John Potter.
67:26 The ball is delivered by Chris Humphrey, Lee Mair manages to make a clearance.
67:12 A cross is delivered by Steven Saunders, John Potter manages to make a clearance.
67:06 The ball is sent over by Jamie Murphy, clearance made by John Potter.
66:47 The ball is delivered by Steven Saunders, clearance made by Lee Mair.
65:57 Effort on goal by Andy Dorman from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.
64:41 The ball is crossed by Chris Humphrey, Lee Mair manages to make a clearance.
63:03 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey played to the near post.
61:08 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Hugh Murray by Jim O'Brien. Direct free kick taken by Paul Gallacher.
60:59 Centre by Chris Humphrey, clearance made by Jack Ross.
60:46 The ball is swung over by Chris Humphrey, clearance made by Hugh Murray.
59:46 Effort on goal by Andy Dorman from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
58:43 Substitution Andy Dorman on for Allan Johnston.
58:43 Substitution Michael Higdon leaves the field to be replaced by Billy Mehmet.
58:43 A cross is delivered by Chris Humphrey.
53:39 Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Humphrey on Lee Mair. Paul Gallacher takes the free kick.
50:47 Unfair challenge on Graham Carey by Tom Hateley results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Graham Carey.
49:40 Steven Saunders crosses the ball, Lee Mair manages to make a clearance.
48:40 Centre by Jack Ross, Header at goal by Michael Higdon, save by John Ruddy.
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:01 Substitution Jamie Murphy on for Giles Coke.
45:01 Substitution (Motherwell) makes a substitution, with Jim O'Brien coming on for Ross Forbes.
45:00+2:05 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+1:17 Corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey from the left by-line to the near post, John Potter takes a shot. Save made by John
45:00+0:23 The ball is swung over by Jack Ross.
44:01 Unfair challenge on Mark Reynolds by Michael Higdon results in a free kick. Steve Jennings takes the direct free kick.
42:50 The offside flag is raised against Hugh Murray. John Ruddy takes the indirect free kick.
41:34 Graham Carey produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
39:14 Unfair challenge on Garry Brady by Steve Jennings results in a free kick. David Barron restarts play with the free kick.
38:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Humphrey on Lee Mair. Graham Carey takes the direct free kick.
37:42 The ball is swung over by Chris Humphrey.
36:42 The ball is delivered by Hugh Murray.
34:57 Shot from 25 yards from Giles Coke. Paul Gallacher makes a save.
34:21 Tom Hateley sends in a cross, save made by Paul Gallacher.
33:23 The ball is crossed by Hugh Murray, blocked by Stevie Hammell. Ross Forbes takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by
32:48 John Sutton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Garry Brady. David Barron takes the free kick.
32:16 Shot by Allan Johnston from outside the box goes high over the crossbar.
30:04 The ball is swung over by Jack Ross, Michael Higdon takes a shot. Save by John Ruddy.
28:17 Giles Coke is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Paul Gallacher takes the free kick.
25:35 David Barron fouled by Chris Humphrey, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Gallacher.
23:39 Steve Jennings concedes a free kick for a foul on Craig Dargo. Strike on goal comes in from Graham Carey from the free kick.
23:17 The ball is swung over by Tom Hateley, Paul Gallacher makes a save.
20:50 Hugh Murray sends in a cross, Steven Saunders makes a clearance.
20:00 Garry Brady challenges John Sutton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Ross Forbes.
19:30 Shot from 35 yards by Stephen Craigan went wide right of the net.
19:03 The ball is crossed by Ross Forbes.
18:24 Giles Coke takes a shot. Save by Paul Gallacher.
17:24 Shot by Graham Carey. Save by John Ruddy.
16:53 The referee blows for offside against Chris Humphrey. David Barron takes the direct free kick.
10:12 Michael Higdon takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Craigan.
5:17 John Sutton concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Mair. Direct free kick taken by Lee Mair.
3:54 John Potter challenges John Sutton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.
2:34 Ross Forbes takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, save made by Paul Gallacher.
0:28 The ball is delivered by Chris Humphrey.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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