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Accies website reporter Louise Davidson was at NDP on Saturday…..

Hamilton Academical v Alloa Athletic
cinch Championship Play- Off  semi final, 2nd leg
Saturday 11th May 2024
3pm at New Douglas Park 

Hamilton Accies 3 Alloa Athletic 2

(5-4 on aggregate)

Our second leg of the play off saw us take on Alloa with both teams aiming to reach the play off finals. Going into the game it was all square after a 2-2 draw with the Wasps on Tuesday night.

The return leg of the fixture saw boss John Rankin make one change from the stalemate performance on Tuesday with Lewis Smith replacing Davidson.

It was a disappointing start to the half for us, and a joyous one for Alloa, but the players rallied, and the fans gave them great confidence which enabled us to go into the break leading with a one-man advantage as well.

Alloa thought they had opened the scoring in the 4th minute when a high cross swung in by Taggart found Neill’s head, but the ball came flying back off the post.

Just two minutes later Coulson made sure that Alloa went ahead when Steven’s cross found him in the six yard box and he made no mistake in thumping the ball home, off the bar. 0-1.

The next best chance of the half came for us in the 16th minute when Barjonas’ corner found the deep run of Tumilty who pounded the ball in to draw us level in the tie. 1-1

Rankin praised the supporters, “going down one- nil I thought the supporters were great. They got right behind us and helped us back into the game.” 

Alloa thought they had got their noses out in front again when Steven’s shot from 18 yards out narrowly missed the top corner.

We deservedly took the lead in the 42nd minute when O’Hara’s cross found Lewis Smith in the box, whose flick edged its way past ‘keeper Morrison and into the net to pull us ahead before the break. 2-1. Rankin was delighted for Smith to get on the score sheet “as we had to make sure he was right for the play offs.”

In events after our goal, Neill was dismissed for Alloa after two quick yellow cards for dissent, leading to a red.

We went into the break in the lead and in charge, with Rankin branding it “a great fight back”. Alloa did probe us in the second half, but Rose proved to be the hero and ensured that we made it to the play off finals.

The opening few minutes of the second half were a bit nervy with neither team really being able to take charge of the situation.

Alloa showed us that even with 10 men, they could still sting given the opportunity. In the 56th minute  Wales’ through ball found Sammon who poked the ball home, to draw the Wasps level once again. 2-2.

Both O’Hara and Davidson had shots for us six minutes later but neither proved to trouble the Alloa ‘keeper.

We were pilling on the pressure for the last 20 minutes and didn’t give Alloa much of a chance to get a shot away.

Super sub Rose proved to be play off hero for us, as just seven minutes after he was subbed on, he netted his 8th goal of the season. Excellent individual play from Lewis Smith to skill past his man allowed him to cross the ball in and find Rose who tapped the ball in to propel us back into the lead. 3-2.

Rankin praised his team’s resilience as it was “the first time we have come from behind this season and got something from the game. So, I take my hat off to the players.”

The final chance of the game came for Alloa who will be disappointed not to have drawn level once more. An Alloa freekick from just outside the 18-yard box in the 78th minute allowed Steven to size up a shot. His shot curled beautifully over the wall and looked goal bound, but somehow bounced of the inside of the post and agonisingly back out into play.

This amazing win sees us advance to the play off final where we will take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle, as we aim for promotion back to the Championship.

Rankin spoke of the importance of the supporters for Wednesday night, “The supporters turned out with an energy and enthusiasm to help us over the line and that was great. You could feel the atmosphere in the stadium. We need to be all together in the next two games.’

Accies: Lyness (GK), Longridge, Kilday (Owens 68 ), Barjonas (Rose 68 ), Henderson (Hastie 78 ), Martin (Murray 84), O’Hara, L. Smith, McGowan, Tumilty, Williamson (Davidson 45).

Subs: J. Smith (GK), Redfern, Winter, Hendrie.

Alloa: Morrison (GK), Taggart, Hetherington, Neill, Roberts (Buchanan 79), Steven, Scougall (Sammon 45) , McKay, Coulson (Devine 43), Wales, Sutherland.

Subs: Ogayi (GK), Cawley, Donnelly, Virtanen, Roy, O’Donnell.

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