An early Jonny Hayes strike in an uninspiring encounter was enough for Aberdeen to see off a Motherwell side whose wretched run of form continued in the Scottish Premiership. The 1-0 victory saw the Dons rise a place to fifth in the table while Stuart McCall's men remain second bottom after suffering a fourth straight league loss and their first at Pittodrie since 2008. The only goal of a game unlikely to live long in the memory arrived in the third minute
David Goodwillie fed Hayes at the edge of the penalty area and the Irishman profited from a ricochet off Steven Hammell before sending a low eight-yard shot underneath Dan Twardzik. Hayes was in the mood in the early stages and he skipped past two challenges before clipping the ball narrowly over the crossbar.
Moments later, Goodwillie saw a low angled shot smothered by Twardzik after latching on to Ryan Jack's pass. Motherwell, who had conceded 10 goals in three outings prior to their Pittodrie visit, began to settle after a shaky start and Stephen McManus lashed a right-footed shot over from 12 yards after the Dons failed to clear a corner. Hayes created another Aberdeen opening in the 18th minute, bursting forward from his left wing-back role and sending in a teasing delivery for Niall McGinn, whose scuffed effort trickled wide. While the hosts carried purpose in attack, they were far less convincing at the back and their failure to deal with a Josh Law corner almost proved costly as Simon Ramsden peeled off his marker to loop a back-post header inches too high in the 21st minute. A lull in the play followed in the period leading up to half-time with both teams struggling to find any rhythm and Aberdeen's chief creators kept equally as quiet as Motherwell's main attacking threats. The Dons conjured up a chance four minutes after the restart following a well-worked move.
Peter Pawlett picked out McGinn on the right flank and his cutback found the advancing Shay Logan, whose near-post shot was comfortably stopped by Twardzik. The visitors saw as much of the ball as their opponents but their inability to test goalkeeper Scott Brown on his first league start must have frustrated manager McCall as Henrik Ojamaa fired a 20-yard shot well wide of the target in the 55th minute. Having struggled to make an impact, Pawlett was replaced just after the hour mark with Adam Rooney as Dons boss Derek McInnes switched back to a two-pronged attack, which he had favoured in previous matches. Goodwillie ought to have done better with a 64th-minute effort, which he blazed over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area after being spotted by McGinn. With time starting to run out, the Steelmen made a double change, Lee Erwin and Bob McHugh coming on for Ojamaa and Law in the 75th minute, just before Craig Reid hit a long-range shot which had to be closely watched by Brown. McGinn went close to making the points safe for McInnes' men with six minutes remaining but he saw his crisp 20-yard shot flash wide after Rooney linked with Willo Flood, but Aberdeen were able to see the match out