Accies media website reporter Martin McConnell was here at NDP on Wednesday evening….
at Foys Stadium, New Douglas Park, Hamilton
on Wednesday, 3rd March, 2021, kick off 6pm.
Hamilton Academical 1 St. Johnstone 1
A disappointed Accies succumbed to a late St. Johnstone equaliser and force a share of the points, when moments earlier all three looked certain. It leaves us remaining bottom equal on 25 points with Killie with a game in hand and one point behind County.
Hamilton went ahead towards the end of the first half thanks to a fantastic team effort that was struck home by Ross Callachan. Accies defence had dealt with the constant threat of Saints attack all night until Guy Melamed scored within minutes of the full time whistle being blown.
Head Coach Brian Rice said afterwards, “We’re all disappointed to come so close to the winning line. I think we defended ever so well and managed to score a fantastic goal. I’m a wee bit aggrieved as I think the goal may have been offside. It’s all done now and all done and dusted but we were so close tonight.”
“We’ve now got to take each and every game as it comes. Tonight was a tough game, many people thought St. Johnstone would come here and struggle after a party at the weekend. It’s not like that with football these days, players treat every game like a cup final like the one on Sunday. They came here buoyant after that win.
“I knew it would be a very hard game but when we went in front I felt okay, then as the second half progressed I felt that we were comfortable enough. But as I say, I’m disappointed to lose a late goal, for the lads and for everybody.”
Accies made a couple of changes to the side that started away at Easter Road, with Aaron Martin replacing Jamie Hamilton (injured) and David Moyo replacing Marios Ogkmpoe (injured). Saints made four changes to their cup winning side, with Tanser, Bryson, May and Melamed coming in for McCann, Booth, Conway and Kane.
Accies made a bright start to proceedings without ever really threatening Zander Clark’s goal, before Saints began to impose themselves on the game after around ten minutes of play. The first chance fell the visitors way when Tanser volleyed wide after making a good contact from a corner kick.
They went closer still, when the ball eventually found Melamed on the edge of the box from an Easton clearance. The Israeli striker struck low but Ryan Fulton watched it all the way before making a good save.
Accies then had a chance when Hakeem Odoffin made a late run into the penalty area to head just wide of the back post from a corner. Fulton had to be on it once again and save Hamilton after Melamed spun and shot from the corner of the six yard box from a Stevie May ball inside.
When Accies struck it came as a bit of surprise. Started by Fulton, Anderson and Callachan worked the ball between themselves up the left hand side. Finally, Anderson received close to the corner flag before playing back to Callachan at the corner of the box. He took a touch, then sent the ball sailing over the outstretched ‘keeper and into the net at the back post top corner.
Saints started the second half in much the same vein, Fulton having to excel with a save at the near post from a Melamed diving header. But again, Accies created a great team effort when Anderson brought a high ball under control then finding Moyo out wide via the feet of Callachan, then rattled the top of the post from the 18 yard line.
With the time nervously ticking down, Hamilton were caught almost completely by surprise when a long ball forward by Gordon fell like a stone inside the penalty area. Melamed somehow got his nose in front for the chase, took a touch to then slot home to put the cherry on a fine individual display.
Accies: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann, Easton, Anderson, S Martin (Hughes 80), Trafford (Stirling 85), A Martin, Moyo, Hodson, Callachan. Subs Unused: Gourlay, Stanger, Mimnaugh, Winter, Munro, Thomas, C Smith.
Cautions: Callachan, Anderson.
Saints: Clark, Tanser, McCart, Kerr, Gordon, Wotherspoon, Bryson (O’Halloran 66), May (Middleton 66), Melamed, Rooney (Brown 50), Craig. Subs Unused: Parish, Conway,Gilmour, McCann, Booth, Ferguson.
Goals: Melamed 87.
Cautions: Wotherspoon, Craig, McCart.
Referee: Grant Irvine. Assistants: Alan Mulvanny & Graeme Leslie. 4th Official: Nick Walsh.