It was our Mark Gillespie who had the pleasure of writing our first match report of the new year, and a great derby win at that….
at Foy Stadium, New Douglas Park, Hamilton
on Saturday 2nd January 2021, kick off 3pm
Hamilton Academical 3 Motherwell 0
Our biggest win of the season and a third derby win on the bounce make for the perfect start to 2021. Accies are back off the bottom of the league, leapfrogging our local rivals into tenth spot.
Our best start of year win over our rivals since New Year’s Day 2015 saw us win 5-0.
Goals from Hodson, Callachan and sub Calum Smith secured the points. A fourth clean sheet in seven games delighted boss Brian Rice
“That was a first-class performance. We’re trying to build things on the back of clean sheets and defending strongly. I’m absolutely delighted for everybody”, he told Accies TV.
“The key to it is everybody doing their job to the best of their ability. There’s going to be days when players have off days, but as long as they give everything for that jersey is what counts.”
“We have a group of players here who are giving it everything. We’ve had tough times here. I’m the first to admit that. When I state the facts about injuries or Covid there’s no excuses.”
“I’m just a wee bit saddened that there was no one here to see it because there’s nothing like beating your local rivals at new year. That’s for all the fans today. We appreciate everything they do for us.”
The manager opted for continuity from Perth as we made just one change in attack, Ross Callachan replacing the injured Nathan Thomas from the draw in midweek.
There were three changes to the Motherwell side defeated at the weekend. Aaron Chapman started between the sticks in place of the injured Trevor Carson, with Bevis Mugabi and Jake Hastie also featuring in interim manager Keith Lasley’s starting plans.
Indeed the Motherwell defence had three current internationalists.
Accies perhaps sensed a side lacking in confidence, without a win in 10 games. We were on the instant front foot inside five minutes, Hodson forcing Chapman into tipping a shot wide.
Hodson clearly had an eye for goal and made the breakthrough a few minutes later. Andy Winter found the advancing full back in space inside the box, to angle a low shot past the Motherwell keeper from 12 yards. It was Lee’s first goal for us, and his first goal since December 2016.
Accies were well on top, Callachan with another effort deflected wide on 16 minutes. But with Brian Easton withdrawn through injury on 20 minutes there was a shift in the game’s momentum. Accies regrouped with Scott McMann taking over the armband.
Motherwell began to venture forward and win more possession, as sub George Stanger slotted into the Accies back four. Tony Watt had a first effort on target for the visitors on 23 minutes, held by Gourlay. For all the Motherwell possession a solid Accies back line looked very comfortable.
Instead, we almost caught the visitors out as another attack broke down on 25 minutes, a long clearance catching Chapman in no man’s land off his line. Andy Winter took the ball wide but in trying to get beyond then past the adrift ‘keeper could only blast high and wide of the open goal.
Motherwell finished the half on top, Gourlay with a couple of good stops to retain the lead. Good reactions denied a Devanti Cole header on 32 minutes, and also Liam Polworth’s effort from the edge of the D two minutes from the break.
The visitors might have been sensing an equaliser, but half time broke the momentum. Instead, Callachan had us in charge three minutes into the second half. Another long ball through caught out the Motherwell defence, Moyo nipping to cut back for the Accies man to fire home his sixth goal of the season from 16 yards.
Against an uncertain defence, Accies posed a threat with every ball into the box, Odoffin with a header chopped off on the hour mark for a foul. But there was no doubt as Callum Smith got on the scoresheet on 64 minutes to all but wrap things up. Another ball over the top allowed Callachan to get to the right byline and hang a cross for the Accies forward to flick home from close range for his first Accies, and first top flight, goal.
Motherwell still threw numbers forward trying to claw one back, sub Jordan Wright’s edge of box effort punched clear by Gourlay on 69 minutes but there was to be no way back.
A resolute Accies defence won their headers and cleared their lines, the Accies ‘keeper tested no further. Late efforts from Polworth and Grimshaw were off target as we played it out to earn a massive and more than deserved three points.
Accies: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling, Easton (c) (Stanger 20), Hamilton, A Martin, Winter (Munro 82), Moyo, (C Smith 58 ), Hodson, Callachan (Trafford 82); Subs Unused: Scully, Hughes, Mimnaugh, Owalabi, Johnson
Goals:Hodson, 9, Callachan, 48, C Smith, 64
Motherwell: Chapman, O’Donnell, Carroll, Gallagher, Mugabi, Polworth, Grimshaw, Campbell, Cole (White, 55), Hastie (Maguire, 66),Watt; Subs Unused: Morrison, McGinley, Johnston, Devine, Crawford, Cornelius, Seedorf
Bookings: Gallagher, 61
Referee:Colin Steven; Assistants:Alan Mulvanny and Craig Ferguson; 4th Official: Duncan Williams