A dominant first half from the Dons counted for nothing as two early goals after the break saw a rugged Motherwell through to their second win over Aberdeen this term.
Stephen Glass named an unchanged starting XI in the wake of Aberdeen's 2-1 win over Hearts at Pittodrie last Saturday, while the seven man bench was unchanged too.
Following their 6-1 defeat at home to Rangers last weekend, Motherwell made three changes to their starting team, Juhani Ojala, Barry Maguire and Kevin Van Veen replacing Callum Slattery and Connor Shields, who dropped to the bench, and the suspended Stephen O'Donnell.
The game started in feisty fashion and a very late challenge from Roberts on Lewis Ferguson should have collected a yellow card after two minutes. Straight up the other end, Marley Watkins looked set to shoot when Solholm swooped to take the ball off his toe.
Maguire was then right through Funso Ojo but again, no card. The free-kick was delivered into the penalty area, a Christian Ramirez volley cleared in the six yard box, before Ferguson's looping header was clawed away by Kelly. All that action had come inside four minutes.
A weak backpass from Maguire almost put Watkins in on eight minutes, Kelly only just beating the striker to the ball as the Dons looked to maintain the early pace. Eight minutes later, it was Ryan Hedges doing the chasing down from a Mugabi backpass. He got a block on Kelly's clearance and Aberdeen were able to keep the pressure on until Ferguson cut inside and slashed a left footer over the bar.
Dean Campbell was next to cause problems, a low bending shot from 20 yards snaffled by Kelly after Ojo had hoisted the ball into the box. Maguire finally went in the book after a diving in on Hedges. And then trying to stop the free-kick on 21 minutes. Van Veen followed him in a minute later for a foul on Dylan McGeouch.
A brilliant break from Aberdeen caused havoc on 27 minutes. Watkins ran fully 70 yards down the right before picking out Campbell, his first time volley scrambled to safety by Kelly. From McGeouch's corner, Watkins' header looked to be looping in before Ojala produced a fine clearing header on the line.
Lovely football from the Dons, probably a dozen passes, took them back to front, culminating in Hedges driving in a shot that clipped Ojo and went just wide on 32 minutes. The confidence coursing through the side was evident after the recent good run of results.
Roberts was late on Ojo and went into the book for persistent fouling on 37 minutes as the Motherwell card count mounted. Maguire then chopped Ojo with the ball well gone, but he escaped a second booking. It was Ferguson who was next to be carded for a foul on Mugabi on 42.
Watkins was played through by a neatly weighted pass by Ferguson, but he was just too wide before being able to get his shot away and Kelly was able to save comfortably enough.
A last minute corner from McGeouch dropped into the box and was the signal for a stramash on the edge of the box, a dozen players circling around the ball, Kelly eventually getting the decisive touch to send the sides in level.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 MOTHERWELL 0
Motherwell made a strong start to the second half and a deft finish from Van Veen had the Steelmen in front on 49 minutes. Penning the Dons in, Goss bent in a cross from the left, Van Veen getting himself free to cushion the ball across Joe Lewis and into the far corner. Almost immediately, Ojala was replaced by Lamie.
Van Veen was the thorn in the side again, making it 2-0 on 57. Goss drifted a free-kick from the left edge to the back post, the ball headed back across goal by Lamie for Van Veen to hook a volley back inside the post with the Dons, so dominant in the first half, left chasing shadows. Niall McGinn replaced McGeouch just past the hour, Scott Brown heading back into midfield as Aberdeen looked to find a way back into things.
McGinn's first involvement was to pick out Hedges with a lovely pass, his shot going through the legs of a defender but easily saved by Kelly. McGinley then went through the back of Hedges and was booked. The Dons were beginning to up the tempo again, Motherwell dropping deeper and deeper to protect their lead, Carroll replacing Watt on 69 minutes.
There was chaos in the Motherwell box on 71 minutes, Ramirez bundled to the ground by Lamie as he awaited a cross, no penalty awarded. When the ball was delivered, it simply wouldn't fall for a red shirt and was eventually hacked clear by the massed Motherwell ranks.
Mugabi was next in the book for a late tackle on McGinn on 76 minutes. From Campbell's free-kick, Ferguson's header looked goalbound but a superb save from Kelly tipped it onto the post. David Bates was following up and nudged it goalwards but somehow, flat on his back, Kelly was still able to get a hand up to paw it away. Ross McCrorie then took a booking for upending Van Veen as Motherwell looked to break.
Ojo tried his luck from 25 yards on 79, Kelly tipping the ball over. Jonny Hayes replaced Campbell, Van Veen clearly wasting time as he made way for Woolery - a less charitable referee might well have given him a second yellow as he dawdled off.
Ferguson wriggled his way into space on the edge of the area on 85 minutes and swiped a shot at goal but Kelly, again, was equal to it. Ojo picked up a yellow card as the game ebbed into added time, but hopes of a positive result had long gone by then.