Our Mark Gillespie reports from NDP on Saturday’s game…
Foys Stadium, Hamilton
Saturday 7th December 2019, 3pm
Hamilton Academical 0 St Mirren 1
Cammy MacPherson’s second half strike was enough to seal three valuable points for the visitors, allowing them to leapfrog us into 9th spot. We now sit second bottom, still chasing a first win since late September.
After an even first half it was the men from Paisley who took a grip of the game as Accies struggled for any forward creativity. Our cause wasn’t helped by the dismissal of Alex Gogic as we chased the game late on. After the display in midweek it came as a huge disappointment for manager Brian Rice
“That’s the same back four that played at Parkhead against the most potent strike force in Scotland. You wouldn’t have thought that today”, he said post-match.
“I thought in the first half we were on top, but we never tested the goalkeeper enough. The second half was a disappointing performance. St Mirren were straight up the park from kick off and hit the post, and that set the tone. We started to just kick the ball up the park and stopped playing to our strengths.”
“We lost the goal and seemed to lose a bit of confidence through that. Going down to ten men made it even harder. From where I was, I think the referee’s probably got it right.”
“It was a big game for us and we’re really disappointed in the manner we lost the game. I don’t think the players lack belief. The one thing about them is they give it everything they’ve got. Their commitment and endeavour is never in question. I’m not blaming anybody. We win together and we lose together.”
The last few performances had been encouraging, and there was a sense of optimism prior to kick off. We made three changes from that last-minute defeat at Parkhead. Scorer Marios Ogkmpoe returned up front alongside fit again Steve Davies. Johnny Hunt replaced Scott Martin in midfield, with Moyo and Collar also joining him on the bench.
The visitors were looking to bounce back after their own midweek disappointment against Motherwell. They made four changes, with MacPherson, McAllister, Durnis, Morias replacing McKenzie, Stephen McGinn, Andreu and Mullen in ex Accie Jim Goodwin’s starting eleven.
Accies had plenty of the ball in a tight, competitive opening 45 minutes. But it was to be a quiet afternoon for St Mirren ‘keeper Hladky. Miller and Ogkmpoe were timing their runs in behind, but all too often the final ball was lacking. Set piece opportunities came and went, with good deliveries into the box going begging.
It was the visitors who showed more cutting edge. A first sight of goal came on six minutes, Obika’s floated ball finding Durnus inside the box. Luke Southwood managed to tip his effort onto the bar. Kyle Magennis came very close on 36 minutes, just wide after Morias’ lay off from a goal kick.
We were again almost undone route one style moments into the second half. A high ball caught the Accies defence out, and Morias found himself in space, only to see his effort come off the post. The woodwork was to the rescue minutes later, Southwood getting a crucial touch to Cammy MacPherson’s goal bound whipped delivery from the left of the box.
We had been warned and MacPherson put his side in front two minutes later. Brian Easton headed a cross from the left straight to the Saints man on the edge of the Accies box and he drilled low into Southwood’s bottom left corner.
St Mirren had shown the greater desire and took confidence from the opener. Accies by contrast, just couldn’t get going. Southwood again showed good reactions to deny Durnus at point blank range, St Mirren by now well on top. We had the ‘keeper to thank as another acrobatic stop denied sub Cody Cook’s powerful effort on 72 minutes.
It became an uphill task as Cook burst through the middle again on 76 minutes, Alex Gogic sent off for denying a clear or obvious goalscoring opportunity.
It took Accies 84 minutes to make Hladky work at the other end, Lewis Smith picking out Moyo in the box, but his header was a straightforward catch for the St Mirren keeper.
Accies: Southwood, McGowan, McMann, Hunt (Martin, 55), Davies (Moyo, 61), Miller, Gogic, Easton (c), Stubbs, L Smith, Ogkmpoe (Oakley, 55) Subs Unused: Fon Williams, Collar, Beck, Hamilton
Bookings: Martin, 90
St Mirren: Hladky, P McGinn (Andreu, 83), Waters, McLoughlin, Magennis (S McGinn, 76), Flynn, Obika, Durnus, McAllister (Cook, 66), Morias, MacPherson; Subs Unused: Lyness, McGinn, Andreu, Mullen, Cooke, Djorkaeff, Henderson
Bookings: Magennis, 56, Waters, 90
Goals: MacPherson, 51
Referee: Don Robertson; Assistants: David Doig and Paul O’Neill 4th Official: Kevin Graham