Betfred League Cup
The SuperSeal Stadium
Tuesday 9th August 2016 at 7.45pm
Hamilton Academical 1 Greenock Morton 2
We failed in our attempt to secure a quarter final place in the Betfred League Cup after going down 2-1 to a more than competent Morton. Jim Duffy’s side didn’t muck around and more than held their own despite going behind to an early goal. Their brand of pacy direct football combined with accurate passing was just too much for a Hamilton side that struggled at times on the night
The visitors made an impressive start but that was soon forgotten when Accies were awarded a penalty kick that was slotted home by Dougie Imrie. Morton almost equalised on several occasions, but had to wait until the second half when Ross Forbes scored spectacularly from a free kick. Accies were still reeling when Jai Quitongo scored what was to become the winning goal four minutes later.
Accies manager Martin Canning made only a couple changes to the side that secured a point against Rangers three days earlier. Steven Boyd replaced Alex D’Acol after the Italian-Brazilian striker picked up a knock at Ibrox, and Darian MacKinnon returned from his one match suspension to start in place of Massimo Donati who was on the Hamilton bench. Morton started with three ex Accies players who had come through our academy in skipper Lee Kilday, Michael Doyle and Jai Quitongo.
Despite a promising start, it was Hamilton that got their noses in front on seven minutes when Dougie Imrie was brought down inside the Morton penalty area by Lee Kilday after he had latched onto a perfectly placed Ali Crawford ball. Arm wrestling from Kilday who dragged Dougie down. Imrie then stepped up and struck the ball into the centre of the net as Derek Gaston dived to his left.
Within minutes Morton had a chance when Doyle cut the ball right across the face of the Hamilton goal, fortunately Nisbet misjudged the pace and the chance was lost. Remi Matthews then gave Accies fans another glimpse of his quality when he saved a 15 yard Quitongo strike, a Kilday header then an awkward low shot from on loan Celtic youngster Aiden Nisbet.
Morton didn’t get it all their own way and Hamilton did threaten, Dougie Imrie being a case in point when he intercepted a loose ball deep inside Morton territory. He did well to keep the ball until back up arrived then the ball was moved across to Louis Longridge on the left. He cut inside the penalty area, let loose from 12 yards and saw his effort turned round the post by Gaston.
Morton continued to cause Hamilton problems as half time approached and Matthews had to be at his best when he saved a Michael Tidser diving header. Kilday then headed over the cross bar, another save this time from a Quitongo strike and a scuffed Tidser shot struck the cross bar. And if that wasn’t enough Thomas O’Ware guided the ball just wide of the post with his head.
Accies had a lucky escape at the start of the second half when Sarris slipped as he attempted to make a clearance. The ball found Quitongo inside the penalty area and his 8 yard shot struck the side netting. Accies countered with a decent chance of their own moments later when Ali Crawford fed a ball through to Grant Gillespie, but his shot was scuffed as it took a bobble just as he struck.
Morton proved to be as effective at going forward as they had in the first half, and equalised just before the hour when Ross Forbes struck a 20 yard free kick beyond Remi Matthews and in at the top corner. Not long afterwards Matthews turned away another Nesbit attempt before Jai Quitongo put the visitors ahead when he buried the ball into the corner of the net from ten yards.
Hamilton attempted to throw everything at the Morton defence, but with their eagerness crucial passes never quite found their mark and they produced only a couple of chances of note. A long range Darren Lyon strike that was deflected wide and then Mikey Devlin header from 8 yards tested the ability of Derek Gaston to the fullest.
Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “Morton were the better team tonight and it was frustrating. I don’t normally name any names but Grant Gillespie, Remi Matthews and Massimo Donati were the only players that that deserved pass marks. That was frankly unacceptable from us tonight.”
Accies: Matthews, Kurakins (Lyon 31), Devlin (c), Gillespie, Imrie, Docherty, Crawford, Longridge, MacKinnon (Roy 75), S Boyd (Donati 45), Sarris. Subs Unused: Woods, Want, Cunningham, Tierney.
Goals: Imrie 7 penalty.
Cautions: Kurakins, Sarris, Crawford, MacKinnon.
Morton: Gaston, Kilday, Lamie, O’Ware, Doyle, Oliver (McAleer 90), Forbes, Lindsay, Nesbitt (Tiffoney 90+4), Tidser, Quitongo (McDonagh 80). Subs Unused: McNeil, Scullion, Tennent, Strapp.
Goals: Forbes 59, Quitongo 63.
Cautions: O’Ware, Quitongo, Forbes.
Referee: Stephen Finnie. Assistants: Ross Haswell & Sean Carr. 4th Official: David Munro.