Aberdeen 1-0 Motherwell: Match Report
McGinn scores late as Aberdeen finally break down Motherwell
Aberdeen left it late but grabbed all three points against Motherwell thanks to an injury-time goal from Niall McGinn.
The Dons had created numerous chances throughout, but could not find the net thanks to a combination of poor finishing and an inspired performance from goalkeeper Craig Samson.
But McGinn curled home from Jonny Hayes' pass in added time to seal a deserved win.
The visitors were looking to put behind them the shameful 7-2 defeat at Pittodrie just last month, and caretaker manager Stephen Robinson set them out in a 5-4-1 formation to frustrate the home side.
It certainly had the desired effect in a scrappy first half which was played out mostly in the midfield, but the game was not without its chances.
After eight minutes, Kenny McLean fizzed in a cross from the right which top scorer Adam Rooney headed over the crossbar.
There was a bizarre booking for Motherwell centre-back Ben Heneghan, the former Chester defender cautioned for rejoining the fray without permission after treatment for a head knock.
Scott McDonald was playing in a deeper role than usual for the visitors, and he looped a 20-yard snap-shot over the bar after 20 minutes.
It was the home side, though, who were creating the better opportunities, with Samson showing excellent reflexes to push away a close-range Rooney effort just before the half-hour.
And the keeper was at full stretch again shortly before the interval, this time turning a McGinn strike over the crossbar.
On the stroke of half-time, Jayden Stockley played in the effervescent McLean for another strike at goal, but the Scotland cap saw his effort comfortably held by Samson.
The second half followed a similar pattern, and Hayes felt he should have been awarded a penalty five minutes after the interval as he was felled bursting into the box.
Despite his appeals being waved away, the Irishman stayed alert to the ball coming back into the box and managed to get a shot away, which was blocked inside the six-yard box.
Perhaps the chance of the game so far fell to Dons captain Ryan Jack after 62 minutes. The midfielder, making his return from an ankle injury, found himself on the end of a superb McGinn cross but flashed his header wide of the target.
Samson's goal continued to come under attack, with the unlikely figure of Shay Logan popping up in the area to lash a volley over the bar when the net really should have been bulging.
The visitors threatened from a Stevie Hammell corner which saw McLean clear off his own line, but Aberdeen hit swiftly on the counter and it took a superb block tackle from keeper Samson to deny McGinn.
It looked like time was running out for the Dons, but McGinn popped up to curl home from a Hayes pass in injury time.