Kilmarnock 1 Motherwell 0
The contest was littered with niggly flashpoints and culminated in the critical incident of the match, the 63rd minute ordering off of Motherwell central defender Paul Quinn. Killie's one-man advantage allowed them to press forward and snatch victory.
Motherwell had the better of the first half, but Kilmarnock's defence held firm, even after the early withdrawal of Simon Ford with a hamstring injury. David Lilley slotted in from full-back to the centre and beside Frazer Wright had an outstanding game, snuffing out the twin threats of Chris Porter and John Sutton.
Wright showed his worth in the eighth minute, sliding in to brilliantly block Sutton's goalbound flick after a flowing Well move.
It was Kilmarnock who had the best chance of the first half, Bryson bursting on to Conor Sammon's header and firing first time, but Graeme Smith made a good block and was alert enough to recover to save Danny Invincibile's volleyed rebound.
Well winger Jamie Murphy gave Jamie Hamill a torrid first half, rounding him at will, and he forced a smart save from Alan Combe in first-half stoppage time, low to his left.
Tempers then flared in the Killie box as David Clarkson went down after a corner had gone dead and he reacted angrily, claiming a push by Invincibile and both were shown a yellow card.
The second half was as tight as the first and the match seemed to be heading for a goalless draw until David Fernandez was set free by a great pass from Mehdi Taouil.
He was racing in on goal only to be brought down from behind by Quinn and the referee had no option but to bring out the red card.
Motherwell defended doggedly until the 89th minute when Hamill's shot from the left corner of the box deflected high into the air.
It dropped perfectly for the breaking Bryson who, just as he had in Killie's last match at Tynecastle, calmly stroked the ball beyond Smith and into the far corner for the winner.