The SuperSeal Stadium at New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Saturday 27th August 2016 at 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 1 Ross County 0
We secured a first home league win of the season and moved into the top six of the Ladbrokes Premiership, after a second half Dougie Imrie goal was enough to see off Ross County. The winner came just moments after Ross County almost took the lead, when a Michael Gardyne header was brilliantly saved by Remi Matthews, leading to a counter attack that ended with Imrie’s strike from close range.
Hamilton player / boss Martin Canning was forced to name two changes to the side that started against Dundee at Dens last Friday night. With Gramoz Kurtaj and Greg Docherty starting in place of Louis Longridge and Ali Crawford, after Crawford received a head knock in training and Longridge a problem with his hamstring. County remained unchanged from the side that beat Killie 2-0.
Accies suffered an early scare when County won themselves a corner from a Georgios Sarris pass back. Martin Woods delivered the corner into space at the near post, Andrew Davies ran in and sent a glancing header off the woodwork. Accies responded with a series of counter attacks, with a couple going nowhere and Dougie Imrie testing the keeper with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Until the quarter hour mark, County looked the more threatening side. That was until Donati set a counter attack in motion that ended with Fox (who was with Accies as far back as u11s) saving a 20 yard Docherty strike. Alex D’Acol then had a header saved from ten yards, followed by another save from a 25 yard Donati shot. That was the end of the first half action as the game petered out with unconvincing performances from both sides.
Four minutes into the second half and we went close with a Greg Docherty shot from the right hand side of the penalty area. It looped over the goal and on top of the net after taking a touch off Chris Routis. Then on 55 minutes, Imrie set up Gramoz Kurtaj for a 12 yard strike but unfortunately the midfielder was off balance as he wheeled and shot inches past the back post.
Accies sub Danny Redmond had a half chance to put us in front when he managed to latch onto a ball inside the County penalty area, but Fox came out to challenge and his touch took the ball wide. Moments later Eamonn Brophy shot narrowly short of the back post from a tight angle, after getting onto the end of a Darian McKinnon ball seconds after coming on for Alex D’Acol.
For the first time Hamilton really began to get on top in an otherwise tight match, but almost succumbed to a sucker punch when an unmarked Gardyne headed on goal from a Schalk cross. It looked a certain goal, but Remi Matthews was able to get across his goalmouth, palm away and start the move that would lead to Accies victory.
The ball was moved quickly up the park and into the County penalty area, and after a scramble, Imrie sent the ball into the net from close range in the 73rd minute. On 84 minutes, the ball was sent forward to Brophy who sat tight with the County centre backs. He calmly gathered and then shot inches high of the cross bar. Minutes later, Brophy went close with another shot over the top, then Imrie shot wide of the post.
Accies finished strongly, but still everyone from the fans to the manager were disappointed when five minutes of injury time was shown by the fourth official. With two of the five played, Imrie sent a looping header over the cross bar from a Danny Redmond cross. Another scare at the back was survived before Imrie took the ball into the corner and saw the game out for a crucial three points.
Martin Canning said afterwards, “It was probably the third week in a row were we have played well to have won a game and that’s the first time that we’ve managed to get the three points. I think for the boys, it’s important for their belief as they’ve been working hard and have been performing at a high level. It’s important that we now pick up points and I’m delighted that we could take them today.”
When asked about goal scorer Dougie Imrie’s hard working performance, Martin said, “It’s great that guys like Dougie get their reward, as they all work so hard week in week out regardless of the outcome of the game. They put everything they’ve got into the game and it’s nice to see him get the winning goal in a match like that.”
Glad to get his first home win of the season, Martin added, “We’ve spoken about that and we’ve performed well at home, and in the Kilmarnock game a couple of weeks ago, we played well enough to win the match but ended losing that one. At Dundee we did the same and played well, today we also played well and I’ve said before that if we perform to a high level and the guys play to their peak, there’s no doubt that we can win games.”
Man of The Match Darian MacKinnon felt he and his team mates deserved their victory, commenting, “We played really well and we have been playing well, but the difference is that we managed to get the goal and the three points which we thoroughly deserved.” When asked about the importance of the win at the SuperSeal Stadium, Darian added, “Yes it’s massive for us, but to be honest I didn’t really think about it during the game. It was just afterwards as you don’t want to keep playing and not win, I’m just glad that we could win.”
Accies: Matthews, Devlin, Gillespie, Imrie, Docherty (Seaborne 88 ), D’Acol (Brophy 69), Kurtaj (Redmond 58 ), MacKinnon, Donati, Lyon, Sarris. Subs Unused: Woods, Roy, Bingham, McMann.
Goals: Imrie 73.
Cautions: Docherty, Gillespie, Redmond.
County: Fox, Cikos, Routis (Chow 58), McEveley, Gardyne, Woods, Boyce, Curran (Schalk 53), Davies, Franks (Dingwall 68), Quinn. Subs Unused: McCarey, McShane, van der Weg, Morrison.
Cautions: McEveley, Quinn.
Referee: Greg Aitken. Assistants: Willie Conquer & Ross Haswell. 4th Official: John Beaton.
Attendance: 1609 (184 County fans)