Motherwell’s Scottish Premiership relegation concerns deepened despite Kevin van Veen’s audacious effort earning a point away to Livingston.
David Martindale’s side led through a Morgan Boyes header, but Van Veen’s reply was prompt.
Livingston captain Nicky Devlin had a retaken penalty saved by Liam Kelly after bundling home the rebound of the initial spot-kick.
Motherwell are now only above the play-off spot on goal difference.
While Steven Hammell’s men are winless in six, Livingston have gone five games without victory but rise a place to sixth.
Two wins in their last 14 league matches had increasingly brought Motherwell cause for concern, with their luck in dire need of turning.
Ricki Lamie cut a perplexed and dejected figure when referee David Munro pointed to the spot, judging the ball had struck the arm of the Motherwell defender, who was facing the other way. This was only the start of the drama.
Devlin’s initial penalty lacked vigor, allowing Kelly to push it back into the mix and gift the taker a second bite at success, which he put away.
However, a retake was ordered, seemingly for encroachment, and the Motherwell goalkeeper made no mistake in blitzing away any sniff of a rebound as Devlin again failed from 12 yards.
Injecting a well-needed wake-up call into the visitors, Van Veen began to exhibit what Hammell’s side have been missing in recent weeks as he forced Shamal George into action.
Epitomizing an end-to-end encounter, Stephen Kelly crackled an effort just wide, before dropping a free-kick on to the head of Boyes at the back post for the Welshman to nod open his Livingston account.
Motherwell pounced back through a perfect piece of creativity as Van Veen’s razor-sharp instinct led him to looping a shot past George.
Level at the interval, an extended period of injury-time was played due to the head injury suffered by Cristian Montano, who didn’t return in the second half.
What did, though, was the time. His replacement, recent signing Steven Bradley from Hibernian, nearly made an immediate impact, catching Kelly off guard. Van Veen, at the crux of it again, crashed a close-range chance off the crossbar.
It swiftly became the clash of the Kellys, Stephen and Sean testing Liam’s goal with shots from range and a free-kick from the latter the last bid for a winner from either side as a draw petered out.
Player of the match – Kevin van Veen
‘Well in a serious relegation scrap while Livi huff and puff – Analysis
Motherwell may have taken a point before a ball was kicked, but they certainly wouldn’t have taken a Dundee United win. The result in Perth pulls United level with Hammell’s side, or rather drags the Steelmen down to them.
There were promising pieces of play – width was well utilized with Blair Spittal getting creative and Matt Penney looking lively – but Motherwell need points as well as performances.
Livingston boss Martindale wasn’t his jubilant self on the sidelines, there was a fair bit of frustration as his side were a little wasteful at times.
Livingston had only netted two of their last six penalties prior to today’s misses, which add to their disappointment.
Stephen Kelly was the key cog in the middle of the park and Martindale will be pleased with the showing of Bradley who got in about it in the second half.
Livingston make the trip up to Dingwall to take on Ross County on Saturday, 7 January (15:00 GMT), while Motherwell play a day later at home against Hibernian (13:30).
- 11MountainBooked at 10minsSubstituted forBradleyat 45′minutes
- 24KellyBooked at 44mins
- 7BahamboulaSubstituted forOmeongaat 59′minutesBooked at 70mins
- 9AndersonSubstituted forEsmael Goncalvesat 89′minutes
- 10Esmael Goncalves
- 27GossBooked at 79mins
- 8SlatteryBooked at 73mins
- 29shieldsSubstituted forMcKinstryat 77′minutes
- 9van Veen
- David Munro
Match ends, Livingston 1, Motherwell 1.
Second Half Ends, Livingston 1, Motherwell 1.
Offside, Livingston. Sean Kelly tries a through ball, but Esmaël Gonçalves is caught offside.
Foul by Callum Slattery (Motherwell).
Stéphane Oméonga (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Livingston. Esmaël Gonçalves replaces Bruce Anderson.
Offside, Livingston. Steven Bradley tries a through ball, but Bruce Anderson is caught offside.
Andrew Shinnie (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dean Cornelius (Motherwell).
Attempt saved. Sean Kelly (Livingston) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the center of the goal.
Sean Goss (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Steven Bradley (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Sean Goss (Motherwell).
Corner, Livingston. Granted by Sondre Johansen.
Substitution, Motherwell. Stuart McKinstry replaces Connor Shields.
Attempt missed. Kevin van Veen (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.
Bruce Anderson (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ricki Lamie (Motherwell).
Callum Slattery (Motherwell) is shown on the yellow card.
Callum Slattery (Motherwell) has gone down, but the referee deems it simulation.