Accies returned to competitive action on Friday night with a victory against Premier Sports Cup rivals Edinburgh City. The match was watched by a reduced capacity crowd and here is how the action unfolded.
We started the game on the front foot with attacker Lewis Smith looking keen to make up for lost time as he spent most of the previous season on the sidelines.
As Smith began to work his magic the Edinburgh City defence was left struggling to deal with his quality. The pacy winger drew a foul on the edge of the box in the opening exchanges. However, the side was unable to direct the chance on target.
It was clear the men from Hamilton were here to put on a show for the travelling support who found a way into Ainslie park and were vocally getting behind their side. Moments later David Moyo rose highest to meet the first corner of the match but his effort was over the bar.
Accies showed their ability to defend as a unit throughout the match. As the clock hit 20 minutes the side turned defence into attack. As the side broke forward Head Coach Brian Rice instructions echoed the thought of every supporter as he demanded his side fed the ball to winger Lewis Smith.
Smith’s magic again proved too much for the City defence as he skipped past two defenders and his shot brought the first shot on target of the match.
Accies passed and probed and midfielder Reegan Mimnaugh fed the ball to Lewis Smith and his through pass found attacker Callum Smith who’s effort was enough to give Accies a well-deserved lead.
The side continued their spell of dominance throughout the first half. However, they were unable to turn possession into goals as they headed into the break with a well-deserved lead.
HALF TIME Edinburgh City 0 – 1 ACCIES
Accies looked to continue their dominance in the opening stages of the second half and on 47 minutes a ball in from right-back Ben Stirling was able to find scorer Callum Smith, who nearly added to his tally, his effort struck the crossbar.
In the opening stages of the half winger, Lewis Smith was substituted for fellow academy graduate Kyle Munro. Head Coach Brian Rice later revealed Smith is fresh out of a spell of self-isolation and as a result had not trained as much as was hoped.
However, after the match, Rice shared his delight with Lewis Smith’s performance.
He said: “Everyone knows what I think of Lewis Smith, he lights things up and gets on the ball doing stuff other players can’t do.”
Despite Accies hopes of kicking on in the half, it was Edinburgh City who looked to build momentum. However, the men from Lanarkshire defended well as a unit and City were unable to turn momentum into clear cut chances.
As the minutes ticked down Accies regained their composure and battled well to maintain their lead. However, a 90+3 minute City counter-attack saw a cross find Ryan Shanley free at the back post. His effort was heading goalward until stopper Joe Hilton was able to get his body in the way and ensure Accies headed home with a vital three points.
Head Coach Brian Rice later revealed the side is without 12 of the first-team squad and shared his delight with getting off to a winning start.
The win sees us move top of our Premier Sports Cup group and with a tough away fixture against Falkirk next Brian Rice and his side will be looking to build on tonight’s victory.
FULL-TIME Edinburgh City 0 – 1 ACCIES
Man of the Match: Callum Smith
Accies – Hilton, Odoffin, Stirling, Easton (c), MacDonald, L Smith (Munro 57), Want (Hamilton 61), Hughes, Mimnaugh, Moyo (Redfern 79), C Smith. Unused subs J Smith, Garrad, Meikle, McGowan, Gaffney, McGinn
Goal: C Smith 24
Yellow card: Odoffin
Referee: Craig Napier; Assistants: David McGeachie & Steven MacDonald