24 October 2014 23:35
Jonny Hayes’ early strike was enough for Aberdeen to see off lowly Motherwell 1-0 in the Scottish Premiership.
Motherwell were unbeaten in nine games at Pittodrie but last season’s runners up were unable to shake their current malaise and went down to a fourth consecutive loss.
Aberdeen merited a greater margin of victory as David Goodwillie and Shaleum Logan went close in the second half.
Ultimately, Derek McInnes’ men were unable to add to a wonderfully crafted second-minute opener.
Recalled midfielders Peter Pawlett and Niall McGinn were involved in an intricate passing move before Hayes drove past Stephen McManus and fired home a low drive beyond Motherwell goalkeeper Dan Twardzik.
Hayes chipped onto the roof of the net with visitors still reeling but they were almost on terms when McManus rifled over from an 11th-minute corner.
Set-pieces appeared Motherwell’s most likely way back into the contest as Simon Ramsden headed narrowly over.
Aberdeen cranked up the pressure after half-time, as Goodwillie was twice unable to convert awkward close-range opportunities before dribbling into the box but getting under a 68th-minute attempt.
Logan was denied by a brave block from Motherwell defender Stevie Hammell and Twardzik parried the resulting corner into substitute Adam Rooney, gratefully seeing the ball drop wide.
Shot-shy Motherwell carried little threat, with Scott Brown – making only his second start of the season in the Aberdeen goal – granted a rare save from Craig Reid’s 75th-minute snap shot.
Aberdeen closed out victory in relative comfort to move above champions Celtic and into fifth place.