We produced a spectacular performance to get our first three points of the season over Dundee United on Saturday in a comfortable 4-0 win.
Three first half goals from Ali Crawford, Lucas Tagliapietra and Carlton Morris grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck for Accies, before Christian Nade grabbed a 4th at the end in what was a five-star showing from Martin Canning’s men.
Canzo made three changes from the side who slipped up against Ross County seven days earlier, drafting in Darian MacKinnon, Gramoz Kurtaj and Carlton Morris for the injured Chris Turner, plus Louis Longridge and Christian Nade respectively.
With Accies failing to get a win in the first two games, the home side were determined to attack from the off and nearly opened the scoring inside the first minute. Neat play from the kickoff saw Ali Crawford with a small opening, but he fired just over to send a warning to the United rearguard.
We continued to dominate the opening exchanges, with Jackie McNamara’s men failing to get a glimpse of goal at all. Carlton Morris nearly fed Dougie Imrie but the pass was too long for the attacker, and Kurtaj, making his first start for the club, turned the United defence inside-out before firing a shot that stung the hands of Zwick who had to tip behind.
However, we deservedly took the lead 19 minutes in when Crawford was invited to stride forward by the United defence. The impressive Crawford dribbled forward before lashing home a shot from 20 yards out that crashed into Zwick’s bottom left-hand corner.
The goal spurred Accies on, with Imrie and Kurtaj both being denied by the palms of the United ‘keeper. However the second goal would come not long after another Accies attack.
A spell of pressure from us saw a ball whipped into the back post from Ziggy Gordon, and it was duly met by big bandaged Italian defender Lucas Tagliapietra, who smashed a header in off the near-post to double our lead.
Things would then go from bad to worse for United as a lapse in concentration from their defence saw on loan Norwich forward Carlton Morris stride through the visitors’ backline and poke the ball home under the advancing Zwick five minutes before half-time.
The second half began with a slow tempo compared to the first, as Accies started to stroll through the game with three goals already in the bag. This forced United to come out and attack, and they had a half-chance just two minutes in when Chris Erskine failed to strike the ball cleanly in a decent position, as the effort went harmlessly wide.
Despite the relatively strong start to the second half for McNamara’s men, it wasn’t long before Accies started to dictate proceedings once again. Imrie had our first shot of the half but missed the target from 25 yards.
It was yet another reminder for the Tannadice men of how dangerous their opponents were throughout the game, and Accies will feel they could have been four up just minutes later.
A brilliant cross into the box by the exceptional Kurtaj found Imrie in the centre of the box, but he got under it and the headed attempt went well over.
The away side knew they had to change something in order to alter the outcome of the game, and made their first move 20 minutes into the second half when Simon Murray and Darko Bodul came off for Aidan Connolly and Robbie Muirhead respectively.
The changes failed to spark any revival for McNamara and his team, and just a few minutes later Accies were forced into making their first change in the game after Lucas Tagliapietra took a knock and had to make way for Craig Watson.
Substitute Murray cut in onto his left-foot but sent an effort high and wide in one of United’s better attacking moves.
As the final 10 minutes came into play, United tried desperately to put balls into the Hamilton box, but everything was getting gobbled up by the outstanding home defence.
Longridge came on for Imrie in what was Canning’s final change, before Erskine and Connolly both sent efforts in on goal but failed to pull one back for the visitors.
With two minutes of added time being announced at the end of the game, it seemed like Accies were going to see the game out. Yet there was one final goal to come for us.
Clever work from Kurtaj saw him create an opening for himself with two United defenders tracking him, but despite slicing his effort, the ball fell invitingly to Nade who dispatched the opportunity and sent the Accies fans into raptures.
ACCIES: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Gillespie, Imrie (Longridge 82), Crawford, Kurtaj, MacKinnon, Garcia Tena, Morris (Nade 71), Tagliapietra (Watson 65). Subs unused MacDonald, Docherty, Boyd, Martin
Yellow Card – Crawford
DUNDEE UNITED: Zwick, Dixon, J Souttar, Erskine, Murray, McGowan, Rankin, Durnan, Bodul, Spittal, Donaldson.
Referee Steven McLean; Assistants Graham Chambers & Alan Mulvanny; 4th Brian Colvin