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Hamilton Academical v Annan Athletic Cinch League 1 Saturday 10th February 2023 3pm at New Douglas Park 

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

Hamilton Accies 2 Annan Athletic 3

On Saturday we took on Annan Athletic aiming to secure another three points to close the gap at the top of the table. Boss John Rankin made no changes to the starting XI from our last game against Queen of the South. Reghan Tumilty also made his 50th appearance for us on Saturday afternoon.

The first half proved to be a challenge for us, as despite having a large portion of possession, we found ourselves trailing at half time with a mountain to climb going into the second half.

Davidson thought he had opened his Accies account in the 15th minute when good link up play between him and O’Hara gave him a bit of space to shoot, but he scuffed his shot over the bar.

Just three minutes later, Annan goalie Heraghty was called into action making three great stops to deny us opportunities to open the scoring.

Annan began to find their rhythm and held the bulk of the possession which paid off for them in the 32nd minute when they broke the deadlock. A failed corner for Annan found its way to Docherty who was just beyond the halfway line. He lofted the ball into our box and found Goss who had made a run from deep in the box to head the ball past Smith into the bottom right corner. 0-1

Both teams had a few other reasonable chances but failed to capitalise on them. We went into the break trailing.

The second half started and went worse for us, and despite a valiant effort from the team we were on the end of a defeat.

Annan were quick to pick up from where they left off and found the net just four minutes into the second half. An Annan freekick was cleared unconvincingly by us and only as far as Willie Gibson who fired his shot past Jamie Smith from outside the box. 0-2

The 60th minute sparked a comeback from us when Williamson’s cross at the by-line was knocked in fby Ahkeem Rose on his home debut, but Annan defender Douglas also had a touch. The game was on. 1-2.

We left it late to find the equaliser, but Jake Davidson stepped up to surely gain us a point in the 88th minute. Rose’s goal bound shot rebounded off an Annan body and into the path of Davidson who positioned himself in the middle of the box and made no mistake in finding the top corner to draw us level. 2-2.

However, despite our sheer grit and determination to claw our way back, we were dealt a heart-breaking blow in the 93rd minute. A cross from Annan substitute Nugent found fellow substitute Walker who looped his header over Smith, and into the net to make it 3-2 and ensure that Annan took all three points away with them.

Next weekend we take on top of the league rivals Falkirk, with this being an enormous game

Post-match a deflated John Rankin gave his take on the defeat: “The biggest emotion now is disappointment, I’m frustrated that we got ourselves into the difficult position in the first place, but looking at it now the game was there to be won.

“We remained brave to go and try and win it, but it cost us the three points, but we are trying to win games. 2-2 is not good enough at home… but at that moment three points were there for the taking and we had to go for it.”

Reflecting on the emotions after the game in the stadium Rankin stated: “The players are really disappointed; they are devastated, and the supporters are frustrated, and that frustration lies with me, and I totally understand it as at the end of the day the players are led by me”.

Speaking ahead of next weekend’s game with Falkirk, defender Jake Davidson stated: “Three points would have been great to put a bit of pressure on Falkirk coming into that game next week, but now it’s a must win game.” 

Accies: J Smith (GK), Longridge, Barjonas, O’Hara, Smith (Henderson 73), Hastie (Redfern 45), Macdonald (Williamson 45), McGowan (Kirk 86), Davidson, Tumilty (Rose 45), Owens.

Unused Subs: Lyness (GK), Kilday, Winter, Hendrie.

Annan: Heragthy (GK), Hunter, Douglas, Swinglehurst , Docherty (Walker 66), Smith, Goss, Galloway, Ndiweni (Nugent 78), Muir (Quitongo 72), Gibson.

Unused Subs: Mitchell (GK), Muir, Maxwell, Watson.

Referee- Steven Kirkland/ AR1- Calum Doyle / AR2-  Chris Gentles

Attendance 759 (46 away support)

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