Cinch SPFL Championship
Wednesday 9th February 2022
at Gayfield Park, Arbroath, kick off 7.45pm
By Nickolas McInally
It was midweek football for us as we travelled to face league leaders Arbroath in the rearranged cinch Championship match, originally postponed at end December. However, we were without Head Coach Stuart Taylor who missed the match through a one game SFA suspension.
First team coach John Rankin was in charge in the dug out as the game promised to be a closely fought contest as Accies looked to build on their point away to Raith Rovers the previous Saturday.
The game was also unusual in that Arbroath had three players named Hamilton in their starting line up, we of course had Jamie Hamilton, tough night for the commentators!
At a very windy Gayfield Park Accies took advantage of the toss and played with the wind behind them for the opening 45 minutes. This advantage was one they clearly looked to make use of in the opening exchanges.
High pressure from midfielder Reegan Mimnaugh won the first corner of the match. However, the side were unable to create a clear-cut opportunity as the ball fell on the edge of the box.
Mimnaugh again sought to rejuvenate the attack, but his slack pass was intercepted by the home side who broke down the Accies left.
Attacker Jack Hamilton crossed to Craig Wighton but his effort sailed over the bar of Joe Hilton without posing much of a threat.
Accies continued to push forward with the conditions behind them. Striker Andy Ryan chased down a long ball forward on 15 minutes. However, his effort from the left cannoned into the side netting.
On 24 minutes Accies dominance manifested into another dead ball opportunity as Josh Mullin prepared to whip a corner into the Arbroath penalty box. His cross found the rising Dan O’Reilly who nodded past the Arbroath ‘keeper to score his first goal for the club.
From here, Accies pushed for a second goal. However, on 37 minutes the home side were awarded a penalty, after Mihai Popescu was judged to have handled in the penalty area.
It was an opportunity which, despite the best efforts of Joe Hilton, was dispatched by Nicky Low who brought the sides level with less than 10 minutes remaining of the half.
Despite their disappointment Accies continued to assert their dominance. A driving run forward by right-back Jamie Hamilton presented a crossing opportunity as he found Andy Ryan at the back post who was able to head the men from Lanarkshire back in front right on the stroke of half time.
Arbroath 1-2 Accies
With an assist already to his name Jamie Hamilton looked to continue the second half as he ended the first. A lung bursting run forward and cross presented shooting opportunities for Ryan and David Moyo. However, both had their efforts blocked.
As the match began to turn into a midfield battle Scott Martin found himself on the end of a Colin Hamilton tackle which saw the Arbroath player booked. However, a few moments later forced Martin off with a nasty foot injury.
With the home side determined to get themselves back level it took both Brian Easton and Daniel O’Reilly to stop a goalward effort from Craig Wighton on 62 minutes.
Accies, defending well, showed their ability to turn defence in to attack as a transitional run from Josh Mullin fed through Ryan. The striker was able to find space for a curling effort. However, this was not one to trouble the Arbroath net.
As the match hurtled towards the final whistle Accies had managed to hold on to their lead. With the home side doing everything they can the defence of Accies remained resolute.
On 89 minutes a tackle from captain Brian Easton inside the box was judged to have fouled the Arbroath attacker and the hosts had a golden opportunity to snatch a point in the match.
With what was the last meaningful action of the game Michael McKenna fired the ball in to the roof of the net to bring the home side level.
Accies; Hilton, Popescu, Easton (C), Jamie Hamilton, MacDonald, Martin (Spence 63’) , Ryan (Winter 85’), Mullin, Mimnaugh, Moyo, O’Reilly
Unused subs; Fulton, L. Smith, Hughes, Kennedy, Lawson, Redfern, Brown
Arbroath; Gaston, Thomson, Colin Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Low, McKenna, Chris Hamilton, Jack Hamilton, Wighton and Stewart
Referee: Gavin Duncan AR1 Graeme Leslie AR2 David Dunne