Our web reporter Mark Gillespie with his take on Saturday’s win over Killie….
Foys Stadium, Hamilton
Saturday 7th March 2020, 3pm
Hamilton Academical 1 Kilmarnock 0
It was looking like we would have to settle for a point, but Marios Ogkmpoe’s late penalty brought a huge three points to move us up to 10th spot. We now sit four points clear of Hearts at the bottom, in a much better looking table than half past seven on Wednesday night.
Accies did it the hard way of course, having gone a man down late on through Mickel Miller’s second yellow. With two first half injuries we also had to reshape and patch up in play. Both sides had given it their all in a fast-paced encounter, but it looked like one goal might be enough for either side. Accies showed the late resolve, and Ogkmpoe’s seventh of the season tops off a massive week for Brian Rice and his players.
“It’s fantastic. I’m delighted with two clean sheets this week. That’s the sign of a team working hard as a unit”, he said post-match.
“The conditions were horrendous. Even though we won I’m still saying the wind ruins the games. But it’s phenomenal again, and our spirit and determination is magnificent.I’d probably have taken a point today. Four points from this week would have been really good, but six is a whole lot better.”
“I think we’ve been battered with lots of different things this season. This week we’ve carried a wee bit of luck, but I think the lads deserve it from everything they put in. I ask a lot of them every day. I ask them not to feel sorry for themselves over red cards and things. Keep doing the right things, train properly and it’ll turn. This week we’ve done all of that.”
After that midweek result the manager put his faith in the same eleven who triumphed at Ibrox. Killie meanwhile made two changes to their side, Gary Power returning from suspension and ex Accie Stephen Hendrie starting at the expense of Hamalainen and Kiltie.
Both sides passed up golden opportunities in a high tempo opening. Eamonn Brophy’s through ball found Chris Burke clean through on Southwood on three minutes, but the Accies ‘keeper continued his good midweek form to block at his near post. Accies were in on goal four minutes later, Shaun Want’s cross catching out Stuart Findlay in the testing wind. Ogkmpoe pounced in on goal, but the Killie defence cleared as Branescu parried.
Chances were less clear cut from there. Midweek hero David Moyo headed a Lewis Smith cross over on 17 minutes, before Accies had to make an enforced change. Jamie Hamilton, who had been unwell prior to kick off, came off on 20 minutes. Alex Gogic slotted in at the back, as we looked to continue the front foot. It was though the visitors who began to grow into the game, Chris Burke pulling the strings out wide, and half chances for Brophy and Findlay going off target.
Accies had to readjust again with Blair Alston going off injured five minutes from the break. The windy conditions were a challenge for two sides trying to play fast attacking football. Killie had the edge into the second half, but with no product. Accies sought fresh ideas and brought David Templeton off the bench for some inspiration on 64 minutes. He almost made the instant impact combining with Aaron McGowan to set up Ogkmpoe in the box. The striker had two bites at the cherry, his first effort blocked and Branescu saving the rebound down low to his right.
Neither side was settling for just a point. Killie came close with a Findlay effort deflected just wide of the post on 66 minutes. We had Luke Southwood’s reflexes to thank once again on 75 minutes as he stopped a point blank Broadfoot header. Shortly after that Accies lost sub Mickel Miller for a lunge on Brophy, his second caution. A draw might have been a good result in the circumstances.
But, three huge points were on their way, Accies surging forward down the right two minutes from time. Ogkmpoe collected a ball to feet in the box, turning as Findlay hung out a leg. Willie Collum pointed to the spot and the Accies striker’s spot kick had too much power for Branescu to keep out. Accies are now four games unbeaten ahead of the trip to Dingwall next weekend.
Accies: Southwood, McGowan (c), McMann, Alston (Collar, 40), Gogic, Moyo (Templeton 64), Want, Martin, L Smith, Hamilton (Miller, 20), Ogkmpoe; Subs Unused: Fulton, McKenna, Hunt, Winter
Goals: Ogkmpoe, 89 pen
Bookings: Want, 13, Miller, 66, Smith, 72
Red Card: Miller 77
Kilmarnock: Branescu, O’Donnell, Hendrie (Hamalainen, 74), Power, McKenzie (Kiltie, 74), Dicker, Brophy (Connell, 86), Findlay, Broadfoot, Kabamba, Burke; Subs Unused:Koprivec, Millen, Del Fabro,Taylor
Bookings: Broadfoot, 63, O’Donnell, 88
Referee: Willie Collum; Assistants:Graham Chambers and Michael Banks; 4th Official: David Munro