With three league games remaining – including the first at Ross County this Saturday – “We are sixth on 40 points, just one point behind fifth County and four behind United.
The nature of the game’s only goal after 37 minutes at Tannadice was cruel on “Well, with an effort from Manchester United midfielder on loan from United, Dylan Levitt, taking a bad deflection off Sean Goss before looping over goalkeeper Liam Kelly and in the net.
The Steelmen had already started the match well, with two changes to their starting XI seeing Kaiyne Woolery and Mark O’Hara replace Joe Efford and Dean Cornelius respectively.
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A long forward kick from Kelly after 10 minutes put Ross Tierney behind the home defense but his effort on goal bounced cruelly off the post.
Carpentry denied the visitors again 10 minutes later after an advantage was given following a foul on the edge of the box for an infringement on Tierney.
Woolery collected the ball and fired in a powerful shot that bounced off the crossbar.
Waves of attacks from Motherwell continued in the following minutes, but they couldn’t ensure that none of those attacks counted via a goal.
The sucker’s punch duly arrived via Levitt’s goal, but it was the burgundy and amber outfit that continued to create the most chances.
In the second half, home keeper Benjamin Siegrist rushed out of his area to battle the sprinter Woolery. The ball fell on Tierney from 30 yards out but his chip was picked up by Siegrist as he rushed back.
“Well flooded in the final minutes, changing to 4-2-3-1 and pushing centre-back Bevis Mugabi back in front.
United’s pattern of play towards goal continued but “Well, I just couldn’t equalise.
Ricki Lamie fired wide from a Callum Slattery free kick from the left, Tierney had a close range header brilliantly saved by Siegrist and O’Hara nodded another Slattery free kick.
Dundee United: Siegrist, Neilson, Edwards, Graham, Smith, Meekison, Mulgrew, Levitt, McMann (Niskanen 74), McNulty (Clark 80), Watt (Sporle 89).
Motherwell: Kelly, Mugabi, Ojala (Efford 64), Lamie, O’Hara, Slattery, Goss, Carroll, Woolery (Donnelly 80), Tierney, Shields.