Well survive Saints test
Thrilling return to top-flight for St Johnstone in dramatic draw
Last Updated: 15/08/09 7:25pm
A young Motherwell side came back from behind on two occasions as they secured a 2-2 draw with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
The newly-promoted Saints were 1-0 up 11 minutes before half-time after Murray Davidson's shot took a deflection, but Jim Gannon's young side were on level terms not long after the break thanks to a Shaun Hutchinson header.
And while Graham Gartland had them back in front five minutes later, there was another swift equaliser as Ross Forbes fired home a superb effort from distance.
Both sides then went in search of a winner in what was a thrilling return to the top flight for the hosts.
Saints created the better early chances and they could have been in front as Dave Mackay's low cross zipped in front of Kenny Deuchar, but the striker missed his kick.
Not long afterwards, Steven Milne turned and shot just wide from 10 yards after Danny Grainger's long throw.
Motherwell threatened when O'Brien got a toe to debutant Tom Hateley's low cross to the edge of the box, only to see the ball spin just wide with Main scrambling.
But they had another let-off when goalkeeper John Ruddy appeared to claw Stuart McCaffrey's header from inside his goal after Deuchar had headed Filipe Morais' deep corner into the danger zone.
Referee Dougie McDonald gave a corner on the advice of his assistant, but any sense of injustice disappeared when Saints took a 33rd-minute lead seconds later.
It came as another Morais delivery fell to Davidson 20 yards out and his shot hit a Motherwell player and looped over Ruddy.
Davidson soon had another chance after a clever move involving Liam Craig and Mackay, but Ruddy held his side-footed effort from 12 yards.
Jim Gannon made changes at half-time and they nearly paid off when Jamie Murphy's low cross beat the home defence, but substitute striker Robert McHugh could not connect and O'Brien sliced wide.
However, they did find an equaliser in the 55th minute thanks to a superb header from Hutchinson.
The young defender rose 16 yards out to guide Stevie Hammell's free-kick into the top corner before being booked for celebrating with the visiting fans.
Yet they were soon behind again as their vulnerability at high balls cost them on the hour mark when a corner from Morais corner caused chaos and Gartland bundled home from close range after Deuchar had fired into a ruck of bodies.
Just 90 seconds later, Motherwell thought they were level as Murphy put the ball in the net but the forward was booked for handball after meeting Chris Humphrey's powerful cross at the near post.
In the 65th minute, though, they did make it 2-2 when Forbes scored his fourth goal of the season, which for Motherwell began in European competition.
The 20-year-old cut inside from the right wing before curling the ball over Main and into the top corner from 25 yards.
There were chances for both sides to win it afterwards, but it was Motherwell who went closest to snatching a late winner when O'Brien's first-time volley from 25 yards flew past a motionless Main but bounced to safety off the inside of the post.