Accies media team reporter Mark Gillespie was at NDP on Saturday for our first post split match…
at New Douglas Park, Hamilton
on Saturday, 10th April, 2021, kick off 3pm
Hamilton Academical 0 Dundee Utd 1
We created chances, but for the second week running took nothing from a game we had the better of. Marc McNulty’s early goal was enough to ensure league safety for the visitors, even more frustratingly the result of an Accies mistake. We lifted ourselves but couldn’t capitalise on a barrowload of chances either side of half time.
Defeat leaves Brian Rice’s side a further point adrift of Kilmarnock at the foot of the table. The Head Coach remains upbeat that his players have what it takes to beat the drop.
“I can’t believe we didn’t win the game, given the amount of chances we’ve created. I thought today was the best we’ve played all season. After the effort we put in today and knowing how big the game was, not to take anything is hard to take. The only thing that was missing today was a goal”, he said post-match.
“We’ve got players out and we’ll deal with that. I had to make a few tweaks today, but I couldn’t ask any more. I’m a great believer that if you keep doing the right things, it will change. With the young players, there’s absolutely no fear. I put young Kyle Munro in today and I thought he was outstanding.
“It’s one of those days where we made a mistake and got punished for it. Dundee United have done a job on us. We just need to make sure we don’t get too down. Of course we’re disappointed but there’s a big derby match coming up. If we carry that performance into it, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Both sides made changes in goal from cup weekend, Kyle Gourlay making his seventh start of the season in goal. Scott Martin and David Moyo also dropped out of the Accies starting line-up, Kyle Munro and Jamie Hamilton returning to the side. There were two changes in the visiting line up, Siegrist in goal, and Liam Smith at the back.
Accies wanted to make a statement from kick off, moving the ball quickly and penning United back. For the first five minutes it was looking good, Scott McMann forcing Siegrist to punch away just inside the box. But the momentum was halted on five minutes, United presented with a gift to take the lead. A loose clearance by Gourlay found Leandro Fuchs lurking on the edge of the Accies box, to slide McNulty clean through and return past the ‘keeper off his line from close range.
It settled United down for 20 minutes or so. It was almost two when McNulty picked out Shankland inside the box on 15 minutes, but the striker couldn’t connect and slipped his volley wide.
United were on top in midfield for the opening half hour, Fuchs and McNulty enjoying the space offered as Accies sat deep. But we gradually worked our way back into it with a flurry of chances up to half time. McMann’s dangerous cross went begging on 28 minutes, before he had another go himself on the half hour, his shot beaten away by Siegrist.
McMann was rampaging down the flank but tried switching the play on 33 minutes, his long diagonal picking out Kyle Munro on the right flank. It was a good strike from the edge of the box, again beaten away by a busy United keeper.
Accies were posing all the questions now, Good pressure on the edge of the United box then allowed Lee Hodson and Bruce Anderson to set up Ross Callachan on 35 minutes, but he could only lift onto the top netting. Ronan Hughes was up next, going wide from a tight angle, with Hakeem Odoffin heading wide from another McMann cross.
You had the sense that Accies needed to capitalise on this good spell of pressure, but United were holding on to the interval, Jamie Hamilton heading just wide at the near post from a McMann corner on the half time whistle.
Chances kept falling Accies’ way after the break, with Callachan and Anderson seeing efforts stopped. Another Callachan effort rebounded to Munro inside the box on 48 minutes but he couldn’t get over the ball, blasting high and wide.
Munro had another effort blocked four minutes later, Ronan Hughes heading over on 52 minutes after more good build up play. Odoffin was next up on the hour mark, the ‘keeper getting a touch at his near post to tip an edge of box effort wide.
All in all, we were to mount 27 efforts on goal, but it was starting to look like one of those days. United had lived a charmed life but almost grabbed the killer second midway through the second half, Shankland played clean through but only lobbing over Gourlay’s bar.
Accies had thrown everything at it, and the levels dropped for a niggly last 20 minutes. Penalties were denied at both ends, McMann going down in the box at the death, but sadly Bobby Madden only blowing for full time.
Accies: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Easton (c) (C Smith, 78 ), Hamilton, Anderson, Hughes, A Martin, Munro, Hodson, Callachan; Subs Unused: Scully, Stirling, Stanger, Moyo, Redfern
Booking: A Martin, 75
Dundee Utd: Siegrist, Smith, Sproule (Pawlett, 56), Reynolds, Edwards, Robson, Butcher, Harkes (Clark, 56), Shankland (Appere, 83), Fuchs (Hoti, 71); Subs Unused: Mehmet, Connolly, Chalmers, Bolton, Smith
Goal: McNulty, 5
Bookings: Robson, 70, McNulty, 75,
Referee: Bobby Madden; Assistants: David McGeachie & Andy McWilliam; 4th Official: Matthew MacDermid