Accies media website reporter Mark Gillespie was at Tannadice for our weekend fixture….
at Tannadice Park, Dundee
on Saturday, 21st November, 2020, kick off 3pm
Dundee United 2 Hamilton Academical 1
There have been a few tough defeats this season, but this one was perhaps the hardest to take. Ross Callachan’s opener had a more solid looking Accies in front going into the latter stages, but a double from Nicky Clark (son of ex Accies Manager Sandy) snatched victory for the hosts in a late five minute spell. Callachan then had the chance to rescue a point for us from the penalty spot but blasted agonisingly over the bar.
A fifth straight league defeat leaves us four points adrift at the foot of the table. The Accies midfielder fronted up for his teammates, as he spoke straight after the match.
“I’ve been taking the penalties recently and practice all the time. The best players in the world miss them. It just wasn’t to be”, Callachan said.
“I’m personally gutted, but we need to take positives from today. We got beaten, but today’s the best we’ve played in a long time. We need to kick on, starting with Aberdeen on Wednesday,”
His manager Brian Rice likewise takes encouragement from the performance and commitment shown on Tayside:
“I don’t think anyone can question what we put in today. A point is the least we deserved from the game”, he said.
“I thought today we defended fantastically well. After the Stranraer game I decided to change the shape and worked at it for seven or eight days. We’ve limited a good attacking team to so few chances. But then we got caught with a sucker punch. We just can’t get a break.”
“Ross was brave enough to take the penalty. He’s scored a goal and played really well in the match. We just get on with it. There’s absolutely no blame attached to anybody.”
“I’m going to get criticised. I deserve that if my team don’t win. Just as long as it doesn’t get personal. I take it on the chin. We’re doing our best out there, scrapping for every ball and tackle. I couldn’t ask any more today.”
There were three changes to the side from last time out, Stirling, Hodson and Ogkmpoe back into the starting eleven after the Betfred defeat at Stranraer. The hosts made just the one change, as Benjamin Siegrist returned in goal.
After a very tight first half the game came to life. A resolute looking Accies had restricted the hosts to long range efforts, a Clark free kick just wide on 20 minutes the closest either side came to an opener.
Accies looked compact without threatening much at the other end. Ogkmpoe was the focal point, flashing an early header wide. We hadn’t tested Siegrist for the opening 45.
Both sides were toiling but Accies showed a bit more purpose after the break. Efforts from Odoffin were off target from the edge of the box. United then came close, as McNulty flicked him through on 54 minutes, Fulton quick off his line to gather.
There was more resolve to Accies and we grabbed the opener on 65 minutes. Finally, we found some quality into the box, Scott McMann delivering a perfect ball to the back post for Callachan to nip in and head past Siegrist.
The hosts immediately changed their shape from the bench and the game stretched. Accies sat in and countered and almost doubled the advantage as McMann ran through, almost sliding Ogkmpoe in on goal on 75 minutes.
United made us swiftly pay as a defence splitting pass allowed Liam Smith down the right to pick out Clark in the box to fire home first time.
And five minutes later the game had turned on its head as McNulty helped on a Smith high ball forward for Clark half volley past Fulton from the edge of the box.
The chance to rescue a point came just a minute later, Jamie Robson adjudged to have handled an Accies ball into the box. But Callachan went for power and Accies hopes went high and wide, over the bar.
There wasn’t to be a better chance. Instead United might have extended their advantage in the closing stages, Fulton beating away McNulty’s effort from sub Lawrence Shankland’s cut back.
United: Siegrist, Smith, Sporle, Connolly, Reynolds (Robson, 66), McMullan (Shankland, 54), McNulty, Clark, Edwards, Butcher, Fuchs (Harkes, 60); Subs Unused: Denis, Powers, Fotheringham Appere, Neilson
Goals: Clark, 75, 80
Bookings: Butcher, 44. Fuchs, 59, Clark, 85
Accies: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling, Easton (c) (Moyo, 90), S Martin, Ogkmpoe, A Martin, Hodson, C Smith, Callachan; Subs Unused: Gourlay, Hamilton, Hughes, Stanger, Mimnaugh, Winter, Munro, Thomas
Bookings: A Martin 25, Odoffin, 26, Easton 90
Referee: Craig Napier; Assistants:Calum Spence & Graham McNeillie; 4th Official: Andy Dallas