Higdon saves Motherwell

PA Sport
Michael Higdon

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Michael Higdon

Michael Higdon's late equaliser gave Motherwell a deserved 1-1 draw with Dundee United in the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League.

Trailing to a first-half own goal from captain Stephen Craigan, Stuart McCall's side battled back and missed a string of chances before Higdon struck in the 85th minute. It ends a run of three successive defeats for the Fir Park side, but they still dropped down to fifth place after St Johnstone beat Hibernian.

Dundee United are still searching for their first victory of 2012 but the draw moved them back into the top six.

United manager Peter Houston made just one change, with Stuart Armstrong replacing Willo Flood. Motherwell manager McCall also made just one change, Steve Jennings returning for Tim Clancy.

After four minutes, Tom Hateley's curling free-kick was parried by Dusan Pernis, United defender Garry Kenneth clearing the loose ball. Gary Mackay-Steven was unlucky with a rising drive in the sixth minute after showing sublime skill.

Motherwell striker Higdon almost broke free to convert Nicky Law's cross midway through the first half - but Pernis' fingertip save denied him. Within seconds, Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph made a stunning stop from John Rankin's stinging drive, after great play from Jon Daly and Mackay-Steven.

However, United took the lead in the 28th minute. Paul Dixon's low cross was bundled over the line by the Motherwell captain, under pressure from Johnny Russell. Replays showed that Craigan got the final touch to Dixon's cross.

Keith Lasley's long-range drive was then held by Pernis, while the Slovakian also denied Higdon after great work from Jennings. Motherwell carved out another opening, but Jamie Murphy's low drive was expertly gathered by Dusan Pernis.

Henrik Ojamaa's pace and trickery earned a free-kick for Motherwell in the 66th minute but Steven Hammell's curling effort drifted narrowly wide. Motherwell were starting to pin United back and Higdon was inches away from connecting with Nicky Law's cross in the 69th minute.

Higdon was having a hard time for Motherwell and fired a wayward shot into the stand after great play from Ojamaa. However, his perseverance paid off in the 85th minute when he latched on to Ojamaa's cutback and fired high past Pernis. Ojamaa then went down under Dixon's challenge in the box, but referee Stevie O'Reilly waved away the claims.