Ross County came from behind to earn a crucial 1-1 draw against Motherwell, in a thrilling match at Fir Park.
The result keeps the Staggies six points clear of the Steelmen who now look destined for the relegation play-off spot.
However, the Dingwall side had to work hard for the point, with Scott McDonald’s opener for Well cancelled out by on-form attacker Liam Boyce.
County manager Jim McIntyre made one change from the side defeated 2-1 by Partick Thistle last week, with Jackson Irvine returning from suspension to replace Filip Kiss.
This was last chance saloon for Motherwell, and they made three changes from the side defeated 2-0 by Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton Accies the previous week. Steven Hammell, Mark O’Brien and Conor Grant came into the side, at the expense of Lionel Ainsworth, Anthony Straker and Louis Laing.
There was an early scare for County after just five minutes when Well attacker Scott McDonald went to ground under close attention of Raffaele De Vita, however referee Crawford Allan booked the Australian for diving.
The hosts continued to threaten however, with Marvin Johnson’s volley well parried by Brown, before the experienced stopper did well to hold McDonald’s half volleyed attempt from he edge of the box on 18 minutes.
However the Staggies did not heed the warning as they fell behind just a minute later. Josh Law drove to the byline before crossing low to the far post, where McDonald was on hand to tuck home from close-range.
County had little to show for their efforts to respond until a strong appeal for handball in the box on 37 minutes, when Craig Curran’s shot struck Stephen McManus
That appeared to re-ignite the Staggies’ charge and Well goalkeeper George Long was called into action for the first time when he beat away Woods’ shot, Curran’s follow up hacked clear by O’Brien
However County capitalised on their resurgence by netting the equaliser on 41 minutes. Boyce broke free of Law, before cutting inside McManus and bending a wonderful strike into Long’s far corner.
That goal ensured the sides went in level at half-time, and County took their momentum into the second-half with Scott Boyd unfortunate to see his low shot go just wide following another corner, while Michael Gardyne’s low shot was well gathered by Long.
Well took command of the game thereafter however, and it took a crucial block by Paul Quinn to turn Pearson’s close-range low drive behind, with Conor Grant’s shot sharply saved at the second attempt by Brown.
Boyd’s challenge on Pearson on 73 minutes invited strong penalty claims from the home support, however the defender appeared to connect with the ball. From the resulting corner, Conor Grant’s effort was superbly saved by Brown after it had come through a ruck of bodies.
Brown made an even better stop on 78 minutes, diving to beat away Pearson’s low strike, before the midfielder’s follow up header was smothered by the former Well custodian.
Despite having to weather heavy pressure it was the Staggies who missed a golden chance to win the game late on, when Martin Woods picked out substitute Rocco Quinn on the break, but in lots of space he shot straight at Long. However, County held on for a point that could be vital in ensuring they retain their top-flight status.