ASH TAYLOR’S bullet header got Kilmarnock up and running for the season.
Derek McInnes’ men started the day bottom of the Premiership after taking one point from their first four games.
Kevin van Veen’s opener had Killie fans fearing the worst again but they produced a stunning comeback in a terrific display.
Dan Armstrong grabbed a deserved leveller in 71 minutes and Taylor then crashed in the winner six minutes later.
Rugby Park erupted at full-time and this was a huge boost for Killie as they settle back into the top flight.
They created so many chances and were good value for the points after a tough few weeks.
Motherwell boss Stevie Hammell suffered a first defeat since taking official charge and this will have been a sore one.
Sub Ross Tierney was clean through at 1-1 but couldn’t convert – and that proved pivotal as Well suffered defeat.
KILMARNOCK: Walker 7, Alebiosu 7, Taylor 7, Mayo 7, Chrisene 7, Armstrong 8, Power 7, Polworth 7, McInroy 6, Shaw 6, Lafferty 7
Subs: McKenzie (McInroy 63) 5, Murray (Oli Shaw 63) 5, Cameron (Lafferty 76) 3, Donnelly (Armstrong 85) 2
MOTHERWELL: Kelly 6, McGinn 6, Solholm 6, Lamie 6, O’Donnell 6, Slattery 6, Cornelius 6, Goss 6, Spittal 6, Van Veen 6, Shields 5
Subs: Efford (Shields 58) 4, Morris (Cornelius 58) 4, Tierney (Spittal 73) 2, Maguire (Slattery 73) 2
MAN OF THE MATCH
KILLIE had plenty of top performers but Dan Armstrong was a standout on the right wing. The little attacker put in a brilliant shift and deserved his crucial goal that hauled his side back into the game.
Alan Power was excellent in the middle of the park, while Aston Villa loanee Ben Chrisene looks a really good addition at left-back.
Liam Polworth also showed nice touches in midfield.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
EUAN ANDERSON would have expected a busy afternoon between two competitive teams on a sticky pitch.
The whistler wasn’t too fussy early on but did book Motherwell’s Stephen O’Donnell for a late one on Ryan Alebiosu.
He handled a spat between Callum Slattery and Alan Power with a lot of common sense but Dan Armstrong was booked before the end for a niggly incident, as was Killie midfielder Alan Power.
MEN IN THE DUGOUT
DEREK McINNES felt Killie’s early performances merited a win and he finally got win after a terrific comeback against Motherwell.
The Rugby Park side toiled early on but roared back into the game from the half-hour mark and probably edged it overall after creating a series of chances.
STEVIE HAMMELL is still bedding into life as Motherwell boss and will look back on Ross Tierney’s miss at 1-1 as being crucial.
Killie boss McInnes threw Aston Villa teenager Ben Chrisene for his debut at left-back.
Armstrong also started as Rory McKenzie and Joe Wright dropped out.
Hammell stuck with the team that started against Livingston last weekend as he opted for continuity.
Van Veen was full of confidence coming into this game and had the first chance in three minutes.
The Dutchman did well to pull a Sean Goss pass out of the sky before unleashing a volley – but Sam Walker gathered.
Motherwell started really well and Dean Cornelius was next to have a go in eight minutes.
Connor Shields dug out a cross and the midfielder’s touch was perfect, but the low shot flew wide.
Well were causing Killie problems and the opener arrived in 14 minutes – with van Veen grabbing a fourth in five games.
Blair Spittal claimed the assist with a stunning pass to release the Dutch striker.
He was too quick and strong for Killie kid Lewis Mayo and then showed terrific composure to flick his finish beyond Walker.
Killie were up against it again but came storming back as they created a glut of chances before the break.
Motherwell’s Stephen O’Donnell was booked for a foul on Ryan Alebiosu as McInnes’ men upped it.
Lafferty was always in the thick of things and missed a great chance after being picked out by Chrisene on the half-hour mark.
The Killie striker looked off balance as he blazed his shot high and wide from eight yards.
But the home side kept coming and the impressive Chrisene came so close in 39 minutes.
The big left-back stepped on to the ball 14 yards out and crashed his shot off the underside of the bar, with Liam Kelly well beaten.
Lafferty pounced on the rebound but again couldn’t get his shot on target as Motherwell survived.
Oli Shaw also fired wide before the break and Hammell’s men would have been happy to hear the half-time whistle.
But Killie were still pressing at the start of the second half and Armstrong was unlucky with a left-foot shot from 18 yards.
Shields’ pace was a problem for the visitors at times and he raced away to test Walker from a tight angle.
Shaw fired over the bar as Killie continued to look for the equaliser but Motherwell were tough to break down.
Both sides made attacking subs as they looked for a boost going into the final part of the match.
And one of Killie’s, Fraser Murray, set up Armstrong for the equaliser.
The little winger tried to head in the cross but the ball flicked off O’Donnell and fell back to him.
Armstrong had to react quickly but managed to bury a low finish beyond Kelly from close range.
Killie were chasing the winner but Motherwell always looked a danger and Tierney should have scored immediately after coming on.
Van Veen’s pass was perfect but the Irish midfielder’s shot lacked power and Walker made a fine save.
It was a huge moment in the game and Killie made the most of it – as Taylor grabbed the winner in 77 minutes.
Motherwell had dealt with the aerial threat all afternoon but the defence was posted missing as Liam Polworth sent a deep free-kick to the back post.
Taylor timed his run perfectly and his header was unstoppable to seal the points.
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