Motherwell 2 Dundee United 1
Wed 6th Apr 7.45pm
Dundee United lost for the second time in a week at Motherwell despite a late goal from Johnny Russell.
The hosts went ahead when Jamie Murphy converted from a narrow angle before Chris Humphrey's deflected effort doubled their advantage four minutes from the break.
The Tangerines later offered themselves hopes of a revival when Russell headed in Paul Dixon's corner with eleven minutes remaining.
And it was Russell with the first meaningful effort on fifteen minutes but his 25-yard attempt was well-taken by Darren Randolph.
At the opposite end the returning Scott Severin deflected a John Sutton shot wide before also blocking from Humphrey, while David Goodwillie's long-ranger was comfortably held by Randolph.
But Murphy seized on a Ross Forbes delivery to open the scoring for the hosts on 26 minutes with a tight finish past Dusan Pernis.
Fifteen minutes later Humphrey charged towards the opposition defence and his firm drive from the edge of the area struck the unfortunate Sean Dillon to leave Pernis helpless.
The visitors responded in determined fashion with Russell twice wide of the mark and Scott Robertson having a low strike fended off by Randolph.
Manager Peter Houston then made his full quota of changes after the break in an attempt to find a way back into the contest.
And that finally occurred when Russell met Dixon's 79th minute corner with a glancing header at the near post.
Moments later one of those replacements Danny Swanson forced Randolph to block with his legs before the home keeper did it again in added time to keep out Goodwillie.
Motherwell: Randolph, Saunders, Ross, Craigan, Hutchinson, Hateley, Humphrey, Lasley, Murphy, Sutton, Forbes (Page 90)
subs (unused): Hollis, Pollock, McHugh, Jones, Casagolda, Smith
Goals: Murphy (26), Humphrey (41)
Dundee United: Pernis, Dillon, Dixon, Watson (Kenneth 49), Severin, Conway (Daly 65), S. Robertson, D. Robertson (Swanson 59), Gomis, Goodwillie, Russell
subs (unused): Banks, Douglas, Buaben, Shala
Goals: Russell (79)
Ref: S. O'Reilly