Livingston twice came from behind thanks to goals from Lyndon Dykes and Alan Forrest to earn a 2-2 draw at Fir Park and register a first point of the season.
On balance, a draw was probably a fair result with both sides dominating in stages and both having good chances to score a 3rd with the game level at 2-2.
The Lions made two changes to the team that was dismantled by Hibernian the weekend previous with Nicky Devlin and Efe Ambrose being replaced by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Alan Forrest. This meant a change of shape with the 3-5-1-1 reverting to the tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 with Brown and ATS either side of Guthrie and Fitzwater in a back 4, Marvin Bartley and Craig Sibbald holding behind an attacking 3 of Scott Robinson, Scott Pittman and Alan Forrest who offered support to a lone striker of Lyndon Dykes.
It was Livingston who created the first chance in two minutes when a neat move saw Craig Sibbald with a sight of goal on the left, but his shot was deflected past the near post by Campbell.
Despite a bright start, it was Motherwell who took the lead on the 8th minute when great play by Sherwin Seedorf in the box created space for David Turnbull and he confidently buried a low shot into the left corner.
However, play raged up the other end and when Ricki Lamie was judged to have handled inside the box, referee Colin Steven pointed to the spot, booking the former Livi man.
Lyndon Dykes stepped up and fired the ball down the middle, past the despairing dive of ‘keeper Trevor Carson.
There wasn’t much of note after that, and even Dykes’ low effort in a packed penalty box in 32 minutes was speculative at best.
Motherwell would take the lead for a second time in the 35th minute when scorer Turnbull turned provider, playing a brilliant ball through to Allan Campbell, who finished well into the left corner via the post giving McCrorie no chance.
Livingston tried to draw level again as half-time neared and Sibbald saw an effort deflected just wide of the left post.
Motherwell were perhaps fortunate to get away with another penalty claim just after the break when Forrest went down in the box under a challenge by Lamie, but nothing was given despite the appeals of the men in black.
The hosts went close in 56 minutes when Turnbull’s cross from the right was met with a powerful shot by Jordan White, but his shot was turned round the near post by ‘keeper Robby McCrorie.
Sibbald tested Trevor Carson’s reflexes with a venomous shot from just inside the box in 62 minutes, but the keeper was equal to it.
At the other end Seedorf’s lob over outrushing McCrorie was cleared off the line by Guthrie as the hosts looked to seal the game.
They were made to pay for that miss though as Livi bagged a second equaliser in the 69th minute when Sibbald and Pittman linked superbly down the left wing with Sibbald cutting the ball back for Alan Forrest to finish at the near post with a sliding effort after Carson had parried the ball back into play.
Both sides would have half chances as the game fizzled out with the best falling to Lyndon Dykes who looked to have broken through on goal but he didn’t trouble Carson and the sides had to settle for a point each.
After the disappointment of Saturday’s performance and a generally poor record at Fir Park, a well-deserved first point of the season would have been welcomed by Holt & Martindale as they now turn their attention to Rangers on Sunday.
Motherwell: Carson, Grimshaw, Mugabi, Gallagher, Lamie ▊, Campbell, O’Hara. Turnbull (⇔ Polworth 77), Seedorf (⇔ Hylton 77), Long (⇔ Hastie 78), White ▊
Subs not used: Fox, Cornelius, Maguire, Robinson, Johnston, Watt
Goals: Turnbull (8), Campbell (35)
Livingston: McCrorie, Taylor-Sinclair (⇔ McMillan 78), Fitzwater, Brown (⇔ Ambrose 19), Guthrie, Forrest, Bartley, Pittman, Sibbald ▊, Robinson (⇔ Souda 67), Dykes
Subs not used: Stryjek, Devlin, Hamilton, Tiffoney, Poplatnik, Holt
Goals: Dykes (10 pen), Forrest (69)
Referee: Colin Steven
Match Report: Dave Black