SPFL Cinch Championship
Sunday 26th December 2021
New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Hamilton Academical 2-3 Kilmarnock
By Declan Hughes
It was Kilmarnock who ran out narrow 3-2 victors in our cinch Championship match.
Sunday’s match marked the first in which recent restrictions imposed by the Scottish government limited the number of people in attendance to maximum of 500.
Following on from our victory against Inverness CT there was a real sense of optimism as Stuart Taylor and the side looked to end 2021 on a high.
Our visitors from Ayrshire were lead by stand in boss James Fowler after Tommy Wright left his post the previous week.
The optimism within the Accies camp was only heightened when on just two minutes a cross from Lewis Smith was controlled by David Moyo and fed into the feet of Ronan Hughes who smashed the ball home to put us in front.
This early goal served as the introduction for what proved to be a highly entertaining bout. it wasn’t long before another goal arrived – this time from the visitors. A cross from ex Accie Lee Hodson on the right side of the field was ruled to have hit the hand of Matt Shiels after his best efforts to clear it from danger and referee Beaton awarded a penalty.
St Johnstone loanee Callum Hendry stepped up and drilled the ball under Joe Hilton to bring the men from Ayrshire level in the 7th minute.
This goal did not dishearten the men in red and white as they pushed on in search of a goal to take the lead.
Attackers David Moyo and Andy Ryan both came close to doing just that but both efforts were narrowly wide. However, as the clock struck 20 minutes the momentum Accies had with them appeared to falter.
Stopper Joe Hilton was forced into a strong save as he denied Callum Hendry his second of the match. Unfortunately for Accies, this was a sign of things to come.
Ten minutes from half time a Kilmarnock corner left Accies unable to clear their lines as the Kilmarnock captain netted a curling shot into the top corner.
ACCIES 1-2 KILMARNOCK
As the second half got underway it was clear that neither side had any desire to drop the intensity seen from the beginning of the match.
However, it was Kilmarnock who benefitted from this intensity as they added their third goal of the match.
Defender Jamie Hamilton was dispossessed by Scott Robinson who squared the ball to Fraser Murray who fired past a diving Joe Hilton.
Despite conceding Accies looked for an instant response. A long ball forward by Kieran MacDonald was flicked by Andy Ryan into the feet of David Moyo and as the striker looked to make space for a shot the ball was handled by the Kilmarnock defender.
Referee John Beaton pointed straight to the spot and Accies had an opportunity to provide an instant response.
Much to the frustration of Stuart Taylor and the Accies side, the resulting effort from Ryan was saved.
This push from Accies to get back into the match continued, and with that saw the Lanarkshire side win themselves another penalty, and the third of the match.
A high press from a Kilmarnock throw in saw Ronan Hughes pushed as he worked his way in to the Killie box.
However, Zimbabwean David Moyo was also unable to convert from 12 yards.
With Accies unbeaten run of three matches at stake the side continued to mount their charge forward. A long ball forward was sent in the path of Andy Ryan who latched onto it, his touch was enough to divert the ball past the on-rushing Zach Hemming.
However, Ryan was brought down by the Kilmarnock keeper who was shown a red card by the referee.
This sending off gave Accies further motivation as just moments later a fantastic free-kick effort from Josh Mullin out on the left nestled in the top corner with substitute goalkeeper Sam Walker left helpless.
Despite the late pressure and a missed golden opportunity from Andy Ryan in the dying embers of the game, the Ayrshire blues managed to hold on to their narrow advantage.
The result sees Accies remain in 6th place, whilst Kilmarnock find themselves in 4th, one point ahead of Partick Thistle.
Accies: Hilton, Virtanen, Popescu, Hamilton, MacDonald, Ryan, L Smith (Winter 69′), Hughes, Mullin, Moyo, Shiels (Redfern 81′)
Subs unused: J.Smith, Munro, McGinn
Goal: Hughes 2’
Bookings: Popescu 37’
Kilmarnock: Hemming, Hodson, McGowan, Stokes, Sanders, Haunstrup, McGinn, McKenzie, Murray, Hendry, Robinson
Bookings: Hendry 75’
Red card: Hemming 78’
Referee: John Beaton Assistants: Steven Traynor and Andy McWilliam