Accies website reporter Martin McConnell with the report from our end of year / end of decade victory at Fir Park…
Fir Park, Motherwell
Sunday 29th December 2019, kick off 3pm.
Motherwell 1 Hamilton Academical 2
After an unusual Thursday fixture, it was followed by a Sunday fixture in the Lanarkshire derby.
We secured the New Year bragging rights with a sensational and totally deserved 2-1 win at the home of local rivals Motherwell. The crucial three points sees us remain in eleventh and now only a single point behind St Mirren and five ahead of Hearts in twelfth.
Motherwell started like a side that weren’t hanging around in securing the three points and went ahead thanks to a fine shot by Long. Accies struggled to compete at times in the first half but straight from the half time restart, Accies bossed it and played like a force of nature with great goals from McGowan and Moyo.
Accies boss Brian Rice said afterwards “I don’t think anyone could complain about the outcome. For the first twenty minutes Motherwell were on top and after that I think there was only one team and we were going to win the game. I was just a wee bit concerned that we wouldn’t get the first goal.
“But we deserved it and we deserved the victory. You know, that second half performance was probably the best that I’ve seen since I’ve been at the club. I thought we were totally dominant second half and started on the front foot, scored two good goals. I’m just disappointed that we didn’t score more.”
And on the two goals, “Great finishes you know. I’ve got my left back up there trying to get a goal. Then David Moyo who I’m absolutely delighted with for getting the goal. I brought him up after going down to England to watch a game. He came on as a trialist for Chorley and I liked what I saw and thought I’d give him a wee chance.
There’s one thing that I do know and that’s that he can head a ball, he can jump and he can work. He’d had a header just before that and then scored a magnificent header. So no, hats off to my boys today. They were absolutely outstanding.”
Hamilton started with the same XI that faced St. Johnstone on Boxing Day whilst opponents Motherwell made three changes, with Hartley, Tait and Seedorf making way for Mugabi, Grimshaw and Long.
After a half chance from David Moyo from the edge of the six yard line was saved, Motherwell went up the other end and opened the scoring on four minutes when Long evaded a challenge, cut inside into the box and sent a perfectly struck shot beyond the keeper in off the back post.
Motherwell continued on the front foot, their slick passing movements should have created much more but as it was, Southwood saved well from Polworth and Long had a chance for a second after being played on but fortunately struck inches wide of the right hand post.
As the game approached the half hour Hamilton began to show some encouraging signs with penetrating forays into the last third. Mickel Miller had a good effort from range saved by Gillespie then both Miller and Martin sent efforts high of the goal.
The game calmed down a little as the warmth of the dressing room beckoned, but Polworth almost made it two when he headed wide from a James Scott cross. With a chance to change things a little, it seemed Accies would be happiest going into the break.
Hamilton got off to a magnificent start in the second half. Both Miller and Moyo were fractionally off from making contact with the head from dangerous crosses into the six yard box. Miller and McMann then had strikes blocked from inside Motherwell’s penalty area.
As the Motherwell defence struggled to contain a resurgent Hamilton, Miller fired just wide from the edge of the 18 yard line and Moyo struck spectacularly from 25 yards, forcing Gillespie to make an equally impressive save.
Then silence from the home crowd as Aaron McGowan got hold of the ball on the edge of the penalty area. He struck the ball through a densely packed penalty area, off Hartley’s leg, wrong footing Gillespie and in for a much deserved equaliser!
The goal seemed to spur a little life back into Motherwell which sent a break down the left hand side, spurring Grimshaw to send a deep cross towards the back post. Carroll rose to head wide of the left hand post whilst under the close scrutiny of the magnificent McGowan.
The game began to stretch from end to end for five minutes or so which gave Motherwell the mistaken belief that they were still in a game. They simply weren’t and Scott Martin was able to make a blistering run through the middle, striking narrowly wide despite some hefty challenges. One of which may have been a straight red.
Hamilton continued to search for that all important second and it certainly looked liked coming. It did, and no more worthy a scorer than David Moyo who managed to get above ex Accies Academy player Declan Gallagher at the back post and send a cracker of a header past Gillespie for the winner!
With thirteen minutes plus injury time left to play, Accies would normally be expected to try and see the game out. And not always with the right result. Today though, Hamilton remained on the front foot looking for a third and Motherwell had nothing.
Motherwell: Gillespie, Mugabi, Gallagher, Carroll, Grimshaw, O’Hara, Campbell, Polworth(MacIver 80),Hylton (Seedorf 64), Scott (Hartley 65), Long. Subs Unused:Carson, Tait, Semple, Maguire, MacIver.
Goals: Long 4.
Cautions: Hylton, O’Hara.
Accies: Southwood, McGowan, McMann, Collar, Oakley (Ogkmpoe 90+2) Miller, Gogic, Moyo (Alston 78 ), Easton (c), Martin (Hunt 83), Stubbs. Subs Unused: Fon Williams, Davies, Winter, Hamilton.
Goals: McGowan 67, Moyo 76.
Cautions: Martin, Stubbs, Alston.
Referee: John Beaton. Assistants: Douglas Ross & Andy Milne. 4th Official: Lloyd Wilson.
Attendance: 6,048 (422 Accies)