Web reporter Martin McConnell’s take on Saturday’s game
The SuperSeal Stadium, Hamilton
Saturday 13th August 2016 at 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 1 Kilmarnock 2
Our poor home form against Killie continued (yet we keep winning at Rugby Park), after going down 2-1 in a match that looked like ours for the taking. And all it took was a couple lapses in concentration within the space of four minutes, and Killie scored twice from their only shots on target.
The first half was unremarkable with not much in the way of action, Killie perhaps the better in the centre of the park, Accies with the chances. Killie should have gone in front when Boyd struck over the cross bar from six yards, but it was Louis Longridge that gave Hamilton the lead on 25 minutes.
The second half took a while to liven up and when it did, it was Hamilton that created the chances. Killie never looked like scoring in a month of Sundays when from out of nowhere Kris Boyd headed home an equaliser, then Souleymane Coulibaly with the winner moments later.
The Hamilton side started with three changes to the side that played midweek against Morton. With Darren Lyon, Massimo Donati and Alex D’Acol all making the starting XI, and Antons Kurakins, Darian MacKinnon and Steven Boyd all missing out this time.
Accies created an early half chance when Mikey Devlin spotted Dougie Imrie waiting to make a run through the Kilmarnock backline. Devlin delivered a perfect ball over the top for Imrie but the midfielders volley was hooked high into the air allowing Jamie MacDonald to easily gather.
Then on six minutes Kris Boyd sent a shot sailing over the Hamilton crossbar from close range, after the ball was sent in from the left. Accies countered almost immediately when Ali Crawford’s ball found Imrie in space, his 20 yard strike going close over the cross bar.
Then Hamilton produced a great wee break down the left with Longridge combining well with Grant Gillespie. Longridge delivered a dangerous ball into the penalty area that Imrie attempted to head on goal, it deflected wide for Alex D’Acol to try his luck but his shot was blocked and eventually cleared.
The uneventful spell that followed was soon forgotten when Accies went ahead on 25 minutes, with Ali Crawford’s ball sending D’Acol through. The Italian striker’s shot was blocked but Greg Docherty latched on and sent wide to Longridge, who fired in low at the near post from 12 yards.
The second half got off to a slow start and it wasn’t until 57 minutes that the ball was played up the right for Imrie to chase. The midfielder hooked the ball into penalty area for Crawford to strike superbly, then watch as MacDonald denied him with an equally impressive save.
Accies began to look quite comfortable and started racking up the pressure on the Killie defence, the fans broke into song as the atmosphere changed. Another chance followed when Matthews found Imrie with the ball, he passed inside to Docherty but could only find the keeper with his shot.
Then from nowhere Killie went in front when an unmarked Kris Boyd headed in at the back post from a Jordan Jones bye line cross. Things then went from bad to worse for Accies minutes later when Coulibaly curled a shot beyond Matthews from just inside the 18 yard line.
Hamilton were again in a position where they needed to find a goal, and again made it difficult for themselves. But chances did come when Imrie headed on goal from Longridge cross, then Richard Roy scuffed a shot seconds after coming on which MacDonald was able to touch wide for a corner.
As the 90 minutes approached Gillespie was brought down by McKenzie, 30 yards from the Killie goal. Ali Crawford stepped up and struck the near post with his free kick, the rebound came out to Grant Gillespie but his 20 yard effort was blocked and the chance for an equaliser was lost.
Martin Canning said afterwards, “It was a strange one as I thought we had played really well for large parts of the game. I thought we controlled the match and got the ball down, passed it and created opportunities but the only thing we didn’t do was getting that second goal. If you don’t get that second goal it keeps it a game, we didn’t defend well on two occasions and it cost us the game.”
When asked if he was worried that his side had missed some crucial attempts on goal, Martin responded, “I would be more worried if we weren’t creating the chances and deserved to lose, but I believe that we were the better side and created enough chances to win the game. We didn’t do that and weren’t clinical enough at either end. We couldn’t stop the ball going into our net and couldn’t put it in at the other end. “
“I think if we’d have done that and it then went 2-0, we could have gone on and won the game comfortably. I couldn’t see where the Kilmarnock goals where coming from if I’m being honest. I also felt that in the second half, that it was a second yellow for the boy Boyle. I think that Docherty had gone round him and was moving into the box, when he goes beyond him and was brought down.
“I felt it was a second yellow and with them down to ten men added to the amount of chances that we were creating, I’d have fancied us to go and win the game. But it was just one of those days when our finishing has let us down, some decisions haven’t gone our way and we’ll just have to dust ourselves down and go again next week.”
Accies: Matthews, Devlin, Gillespie, Imrie (Roy 83), Docherty, D’Acol (Brophy 70), Crawford, Longridge, Donati, Lyon, Sarris. Subs Unused: Woods, MacKinnon, Want, S Boyd, Hughes.
Goal: Longridge 25.
Killie: MacDonald, S Smith, Addison, Boyle, M Smith (McFadzean 68), McKenzie, Dicker, Boyd, Jones (Waddington 90), Taylor, Green (Coulibaly 53). Subs Unused: Davies, Burn, Cobain, Morrison.
Goals: Boyd 69, Coulibaly 72.
Cautions: Boyle, Green, McKenzie.
Referee: Steven MacLean. Assistants: Stuart Stevenson & Graeme Stewart. 4th Official: Nick Walsh.