Graham Alexander was denied a win in his first match as Motherwell boss but the draw with St Mirren was enough to move them off the bottom of 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.
St Mirren’s Ilkay Durmus and Motherwell’s Mark O’Hara had free-kicks late on.
Motherwell, now without a win in their past 10 league games, moves up two places to 10th while St Mirren drop a place to eighth.
The Buddies tried to pepper the Motherwell goal with shots in the early stages but Marcus Fraser, Jamie McGrath, Lee 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 felled by Mugabi with his back to goal and McGrath’s finish from 12 yards was composed.
Durmus tested debutant Well goalkeeper Liam Kelly at a free-kick and 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 new Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly, making his debut after joining on loan from QPR this week.
Jim Goodwin’s men did not heed the warnings from Polworth’s prowess and the busyness of Cole and Watt in attack but they stayed in the game and were rewarded in the second half.
Positives but also plenty to work on for Alexander. The performance overall was decent but the lack of a second goal and too many loose passes allowed their hosts back into the contest.
St Mirren are away to St Johnstone in the Premiership next Saturday (15:00 GMT). Motherwell’s next league game is with Rangers at Fir Park next Sunday (12:00).
How to play
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating range key = Give it up = Pure perfection
- 10McAllisterSubstituted forBrophyat 57′minutes
- 7Doyle-HayesBooked at 47mins
- 25ErhahonSubstituted forDurmusat 76′minutes
- 7O’HaraBooked at 14mins
- 11HastieSubstituted forWhiteat 72′minutes
- 44ColeSubstituted forMaguireat 84′minutes
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.