Accies media reporter Mark Gillespie with his report from Tynecastle
Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh
Saturday 15th February, kick off 3pm
Heart of Midlothian 2 Hamilton Academical 2
Ten man Accies were within touching distance of a first win in Gorgie in 43 years. In the end we had to settle for a point, the hosts battling back with two second half goals. Marios Ogkmpoe’s early double had us deservedly in the driving seat, but Jamie Hamilton’s third red of the season immediately put the backs to the wall. We weathered two storms, firstly from Hearts before storm Denis made life even harder. Jamie Walker pulled one back early in the second half, with Craig Halkett bulleting home late on as both sides battled in horrendous conditions.
After it all settled down, we remain a point above our weekend opponents. Were it not for that red card First Team Coach Guillaume Beuzelin says the gap could easily have been three.
“We came here to win the three points and we had a massive opportunity today. We had a reaction from the midweek disappointment and were deservedly 2-0 up. The red card’s a massive turning point, and we had to dig deep in the end,” he commented post-match.
“But the boys did so well and worked so hard. Unfortunately, it’s only a point. I think we should have won the game eleven v eleven. It was a slight lapse in concentration at the end to concede the late equaliser.”
“Jamie’s red was hard to judge for the ref. It was a ball over the top, he’s defended well and anticipated it. Unfortunately, it’s bounced down and he’s touched it. It’s been a tough few weeks for him, but there’s no better way to learn. I’m sure he’s going to be a big prospect for our club and also for Scotland.”
Hamilton was one of four changes from midweek, with Shaun Want returning to partner him in defence. Will Collar and David Moyo also started as Woods, Easton (injured), Alston and Templeton dropped out of the side which lost to Aberdeen.
The hosts meanwhile made three changes from their defeat at Celtic Park. Zlamal replaced Pereira in goal, Aaron Hickey and Uke Ikpeazu also starting in Daniel Stendel’s line up before a big expectant home support.
But Accies weren’t sticking to the script and caught a nervy looking Hearts defence off guard inside five minutes. Ogkmpoe forced a stop from Zlamal four minutes in, but made no mistake a minute later, as Scott Martin found space down the left to provide the perfect cross from him to drill home first time.
Hearts looked shellshocked and lacking in confidence. Accies were pressing well and forcing mistakes around the box. It paid off on 15 minutes, Moyo closing down Halkett and releasing Ogkmpoe in the area. Sean Clare lunged in to give Kevin Clancy an easy decision. Penalty Accies. Ogkmpoe stepped up to send home his second goal of the game from the spot.
But then it all took another twist. Accies were again having to make in play changes, firstly losing Aaron McGowan to injury after only 11 minutes, then on 19 minutes we were a man down. The ball over the top seemed innocuous but struck the Accies stopper’s hand. Perhaps a harsh decision, but the ref deemed it to prevent a goal scoring opportunity, Hamilton was off, and we were left to see out over 70 minutes a man down.
Hearts surged forward with the extra man, Ikpeazu forcing Southwood into action on 25 minutes. Balls came into the box, a makeshift Accies defence scrambling and clearing. We would scarcely be out of our own half for the remainder of the half, Naismith floating a header wide on 40 minutes.
The 10 Accies dug in heroically, but it was going to be a long second half. Jamie Walker reduced the Accies lead two minutes after the restart, Naismith playing him through to find Southwood’s bottom corner from just inside the box.
Hearts flung crosses in from both sides, with scrambles in the middle in almost impossible second half weather conditions. Hail storms, sleet, driving rain and strong winds all played their part. Southwood was having a busy half, saving Naismith and Walker efforts around the hour mark. Accies put men behind the ball and cleared their lines, without really relieving the pressure at the other end.
We thought we might just have soaked up the Hearts pressure, if not the rain. But the hosts found a way through on 86 minutes. Halkett had stayed forward from a set piece and sub Connor Washington crossed from the left for him to nod home from six yards.
Accies were out on their feet, Scott Martin’s shirt at the end showing 100% commitment. But the 10 clung on to what could turn out be a very valuable point.
Hearts: Zlamal, Smith, Souttar, Clare (Washington, 67), Walker, Naismith, Ikpeazu (Avdijaj, 45), Halkett, Boyce, Irving, Hickey (Garuccio, 77); Subs Unused: Pereira, Bozanic, Moore, Dikamona
Goals: Walker, 78, Halkett, 86
Bookings: Walker 76, Smith, 81
Accies: Southwood, McGowan (c) (Alston, 11), McMann, Hunt, Collar, Gogic, Moyo (Templeton, 67), Want, Martin, Hamilton, Ogkmpoe (Davies, 74); Subs Unused: Gourlay, Woods, Winter, L Smith
Goals: Ogkmpoe, 5, 15 (pen)
Bookings: Collar, 74
Red Card: Hamilton, 19
Referee: Kevin Clancy; Assistants: Frankie Conor and Daniel McFarlane; 4th Official David Lowe
Attendance:16,437 (175 Accies)