Graham Alexander was denied a win in his first match as Motherwell manager, but a draw with St Mirren was enough to move his side a point clear of bottom place in the Scottish Premiership.
Devante Cole pounced in the six-yard box to score the visitors’ opener.
But Jamie McGrath levelled from the penalty spot in the second half after a foul by Bevis Mugabi on Lee Erwin.
Motherwell, now without a win in 10 league games, move up a place to 10th, while St Mirren drop to eighth.
The Paisley side tried to pepper the Motherwell goal with shots in the early stages but Marcus Fraser, McGrath, Erwin and Kyle McAllister were all off target.
Alexander’s new charges slowly took control and should have taken the lead when Tony Watt met Liam Polworth’s lovely cross, goalkeeper Jak Alnwick blocking at point-blank range.
Cole flashed a shot wide but was successful with his next effort when St Mirren failed to clear their lines at a corner. Defender Conor McCarthy headed high into the air and Watt nodded down for Cole to finish.
Jim Goodwin sent on new striker Eamonn Brophy in place of McAllister in the second half and Ethan Erhahon placed a shot narrowly wide from McGrath’s cutback.
Erwin was deemed to have been felled by Mugabi with his back to goal and McGrath’s finish from 12 yards was composed.
Ilkay Durmus tested debutant Motherwell goalkeeper Liam Kelly at a free-kick and Mark O’Hara did likewise with Alnwick at the other end.
Man of the match – Jamie McGrath
What did we learn?
St Mirren adopted a shoot on sight policy early on but did not really test Kelly until the second half.
Goodwin’s men did not heed the warnings from Polworth’s prowess, nor Cole and Watt being busy in attack, but they stayed in the game and were rewarded with the spot-kick.
Positives, then, but also plenty to work on for Alexander. The performance overall was decent but the lack of a second goal and an 11th penalty conceded this season made for a frustrating end to proceedings.
What did they say?
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: “Motherwell started the game much brighter. We struggled with their set plays in the first half. Unfortunately, that’s where the goal comes from.
“Second half we were a lot more like ourselves and deservedly got a point in the end. At the time, I thought it was a penalty.”
Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: “I’ve got to be frustrated with the penalty. I don’t think it was a penalty. I’m disappointed for the boys because I thought they worked exceptionally hard.
“We’ve got a good point away from home. We know we weren’t going to get ourselves out of trouble in one day. We weren’t going to go the other way either. We took a step forward by getting a point.”
St Mirren are away to St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership next Saturday (15:00 GMT). Motherwell’s next league game is against Rangers at Fir Park next Sunday (12:00).
- 10McAllisterSubstituted forBrophyat 57′minutes
- 7Doyle-HayesBooked at 47mins
- 25ErhahonSubstituted forDurmusat 76′minutes
- 7O’HaraBooked at 14mins
- 11HastieSubstituted forWhiteat 72′minutes
- 44ColeSubstituted forMaguireat 84′minutes
- Bobby Madden
Match ends, St. Mirren 1, Motherwell 1.
Second Half ends, St. Mirren 1, Motherwell 1.
Attempt missed. Jordan White (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Liam Polworth with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Dylan Connolly.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.
Attempt blocked. Jordan White (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Liam Polworth.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jak Alnwick.
Attempt saved. Mark O’Hara (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Jordan White (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Marcus Fraser (St. Mirren).
Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ilkay Durmus (St. Mirren).
Substitution, Motherwell. Barry Maguire replaces Devante Cole.
Attempt missed. Joe Shaughnessy (St. Mirren) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Eamonn Brophy with a cross following a set piece situation.
Attempt saved. Ilkay Durmus (St. Mirren) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Mark O’Hara (Motherwell).
Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! St. Mirren 1, Motherwell 1. Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.
Penalty conceded by Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell) after a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty St. Mirren. Lee Erwin draws a foul in the penalty area.