Dundee United 2 Motherwell 0
Wed 12th Jan 7.45pm
Strikers Johnny Russell and David Goodwillie were both on target as Dundee United won for the first time since November.
That ended a run of five successive draws and also handed Motherwell's recently-appointed manager Stuart McCall a first defeat in charge.
Russell had already struck an upright by the time he headed his side in front early in the second-half.
Leading scorer Goodwillie then marked his return from suspension with his twelfth goal of the campaign in the final minute.
There was only four minutes on the clock when Russell crashed a shot against the woodwork before the same player set up Prince Buaben to have an effort turned aside by Darren Randolph.
The Motherwell keeper also blocked Goodwillie from a sharp angle while the best the visitors could manage were a couple of wayward attempts from outside the area by Jamie Murphy and John Sutton.
Murphy did finally sent a drive straight at Dusan Pernis either side of Morgaro Gomis twice testing opposite number Randolph.
The Terrors then had handball claims inside the area against Keith Lasley waved aside before midfielder Buaben's effort was blocked shortly after the break.
Home defender Paul Dixon then went down in the box but only received a caution for his troubles.
But the hosts still went ahead as Russell nodded in after Garry Kenneth headed back Dixon's 53rd minute corner.
Goodwillie went close to a second when being denied by Randolph, while it took a great save from Pernis to keep out Chris Humphrey's header following Murphy's delivery at the other end.
However, a most welcome victory was assured for the hosts after substitute Stuart Armstrong crossed for Goodwillie to slot home from twelve-yards just before the end.
Dundee United: Pernis, Dillon, Dixon, Kenneth, Watson, D. Robertson (Conway 83), Buaben (S. Robertson 79), Gomis, Daly (Armstrong 89), Goodwillie, Russell
subs (unused): Banks, Smith, Cadamarteri, Shala
Goals: Russell (53), Goodwillie (90)
Motherwell: Randolph, Hammell, Reynolds, Craigan, Hateley, Humphrey, Jennings, Lasley (Casagolda 81), Murphy, Sutton, Forbes (Pollock 75)
subs (unused): Hollis, Page, Hutchinson, Meechan, McHugh
Ref: I. Brines