Our Mark Gillespie was at Rugby Park on Saturday…
at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
on Saturday 9th November 2019, kick off 3pm
Kilmarnock 2 Hamilton Academical 2
In the end 10-man Accies happily settled for a draw which had so briefly promised so much more. Two top drawer strikes from Miller and Davies seemed to have us cruising within the opening half hour. But almost immediately we were on the back foot with the dismissal of Sam Stubbs.
A man down Accies were still looking comfortable. It took a mistake from Owain Fon Williams on the cusp of half time to hand Killie some belief. Eamonn Brophy returned to haunt his old side shortly after the break to level, but Accies held firm to earn a valuable point.
All in all, a day of mixed emotions for Brian Rice as he gave his thoughts post-match. The Accies boss was pleased at how his side dug in after, especially after playing an hour with 10 men.
“At 44 minutes I’d have been disappointed with a point. At 48 minutes we were happy to take that. It was the perfect away performance for 44 minutes.”, he said.
“We scored two very good goals. Steve Davies is the best finisher at the club. Mickel’s got that in his locker and should do it more. That’s the hardest I’ve seen him work today. He’s had a hard time with injuries and knows he has to put a shift in to stay in the team.”
“Owain’s made a mistake. He’s held his hand up at half time. When outfield players make a mistake it happens, but when a goalie does it’s catastrophic.”
“I couldn’t have asked any more after we went down to 10 men. We’ve been in this situation often enough this season. I’m delighted with what the players gave me. I couldn’t have asked more in terms of commitment.”
A minutes’ silence was observed to commemorate Armistice Weekend at a chilly Rugby Park. We made two changes from last weekend, Johnny Hunt replacing the suspended Scott Martin. Davies came in for Ross Cunningham to start up front alongside Miller.
Our opponents meanwhile made three switches from last weekend’s defeat at Pittodrie. Del Fabro, El Makrini and Bruce in for Wilson Millar and Burke in Angelo Alessio’s line up.
We have had the knack of conceding early this season, but we reversed that in spectacular fashion to take the lead inside two minutes. Miller latched on to a loose ball 30 yards out after some head tennis to power past Branescu and stun the home support.
Killie tried to respond, Brophy offering their best hope, curling just over on 17 minutes. But Accies looked confident on the ball and we doubled our advantage on 27 minutes with another special strike. This time Davies collected Miller’s knock down on the edge of the Killie box, drilling low past Branescu.
We were in the driving seat now- or were we? Almost immediately Stubbs saw red for a foul on Brophy 30 plus yards from goal. We sacrificed Davies and brought on Darian MacKinnon for the expected siege to come.
But it didn’t materialise. Fon Williams had hardly touched the ball when El Makrini launched a speculative attempt at goal as half time approached. Somehow our ‘keeper allowed it to slip behind him and bring renewed hope to the hosts.
Killie remerged with a sense of purpose and it took them just three minutes to level. A half-cleared corner arrived at the worst destination, as Brophy volleyed high past Fon Williams from 12 yards.
The 10 men were still a threat at the other end, Oakley coming close shortly later and Lewis Smith heading just over from a corner. For the most part though we got behind the ball and tried to hit on the counter.
Killie threw numbers forward, Stephen O’Donnell was inches from giving the host the lead on 63 minutes, firing a Dicker cross just wide. We rode our luck at times in a series of goalmouth scrambles, but the Accies defence stood firm to deny Killie any space inside the box.
Alan Power fired wide in a final salvo. After an action packed weekend, we end in tenth spot going into the international break.
Killie: Branescu, O’Donnell, Del Fabro, Bruce (Jackson, 42), Hamaleinen, Power, Dicker, El Makrini, McKenzie (Millar, 76), Thomas (Burke, 68 ), Brophy; Subs Unused: Koprivec, Hendrie, Wilson, St Clair
Goals: El Makrini, 45+1, Brophy, 48
Bookings: Brophy, 38
Accies: Fon Williams, McMann, Hunt, Davies (MacKinnon, 30), Oakley (Moyo 74), Miller, Gogic (c), Want, Stubbs, L Smith (Fjortoft 85), Hamilton. Subs Unused: Southwood, Beck, Mimnaugh, Cunningham
Goals: Miller, 2, Davies, 24
Bookings: MacKinnon 42, Fon Williams, 90+2
Red Card: Stubbs 28
Referee: Gavin Duncan Assistants: Kylie Cockburn and Gordon Crawford 4th Official: Greg Aitken
Attendance: 5045 (199 Accies)