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Saturday’s report

Web reporter Martin McConnell with Saturday’s match report from Fir Park

Ladbrokes Premiership

Fir Park, Motherwell

Saturday 17th September 2016 at 3pm.

Motherwell 4 Hamilton Academical 2

Our search for a second league win continues for at least another week after losing 4-2 to Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell at Fir Park. Hamilton had the better of the steelmen for spells during the exciting derby match, and but for a devastating start by Motherwell that Accies failed  in dealing with, might well have taken something from the game.

A tumultuous opening 20-minute spell saw Accies go 3-0 down thanks to a Louis Moult hat trick. Accies fought back to reduce the deficit, after the steelmen seemingly took their foot of the gas and letting the pace of the match drop. Hamilton took heart, fought back, and dominated for the last quarter of an hour. An Ali Crawford goal and several near misses giving ‘Well something to ponder at the break.

The second half couldn’t have started any worse for Accies, when Moult added a fourth from the penalty spot with only four minutes gone. We then dominated most of the rest of the game and pulled to within 2 goals for a second time and missed several more chances. After Crawford got on the end of a low cross from Bingham to slot home from 10 yards, we battled on but without much success for our efforts.

Scorer Ali Crawford said, “After going 3-0 down we were always chasing it, but I thought the turning point was when my free kick hits the post.  If that goes in, its 3-2 and game on again but we went in at half time 3-1 down and they come out and score straight after half time which kills the momentum. I’m not saying that we would have got anything from the game but we weren’t good enough today”.

Martin Canning made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 last week at Tynecastle. Back from injury was Mikey Devlin for Dan Seaborne, who was himself injured, Louis Longridge for Greg Docherty and Eamonn Brophy started up front in place of Alex D’Acol. Motherwell made just the one change, with the injured Joe Chalmers being replaced by last weekend’s goal scorer Louis Moult.

Motherwell had the better of the exchanges and opened with a Scott McDonald strike from a Cadden cross, but his curled effort went well wide of goal.  Seconds later a Louis Moult header found the back of the net but was ruled offside. The warning wasn’t heeded and Moult then put ‘Well in front after he latched onto a ball over the top, and calmly stroked past Remi Matthews for a 1-0 lead.

That was only the start from Moult as he bagged his second just five minutes later, when the unmarked striker lay in wait at the back post to head a Cadden ball over Matthews and into the net. Accies almost pulled one back when Imrie squared for Crawford to send flying inches wide of the target.  But Moult’s hat trick came on 20 minutes when he powered a 15-yard strike into the goal to leave Accies reeling.

After a lull in play, Hamilton found some fight and gamely put the score line behind them, and pulled one back after Ali Crawford curled a shot beyond Samson and in off the back post. Mikey Devlin headed wide from a Crawford corner, then the goal scorer almost netted once again when Samson touched his shot from a 22-yard free kick onto the goal post. It fell to Sarris but he couldn’t slot home.

With a few minutes of the second half played, Eamonn Brophy tested Samson with a shot from wide, but the ‘Well keeper raced out and managed to block with his body. The home side were then awarded a penalty kick when Darren Lyon stuck out a stray foot to bring down Ryan Bowman. Only one man was ever going to take it, he did, and Moult slotted home his fourth of the afternoon.

Brophy teed up and struck over from 20 yards just on the hour, before that man Crawford did it again and grabbed his sixth of the season. The ball was played forward to Rakish Bingham out on the left. His cross was delivered low into the penalty area for Crawford to slam home from 10 yards, much like he did at Tynecastle last week. Accies continued to punish Motherwell as they fell apart at times. It was all Accies as the possession stats later revealed.

Brophy slammed a shot on goal from wide, Samson parried and the ball fell to Longridge whose strike was blocked in front of goal before Samson gathered to relieve his troubled defence. Bingham almost opened his Hamilton account but his header was cleared from the Well goal line. Brophy then had a free header from seven yards, but sent Imrie’s cross a yard wide of the near post before time ran out.

A disappointed Martin Canning said, “In the first 20 minutes of the game, we didn’t start at all. We didn’t compete and that was something we stressed before the game, how important regardless of what had gone on up until that point, whether we were winning, losing or drawing. In a derby game first and foremost you’ve got to compete from the first minute and we didn’t.

“It took us 20 minutes to start competing and from there we created a lot of opportunities, and on another day might have scored more than two goals. I think it’s always difficult coming back from three goals down to give yourself a chance. Had we got it within one with the opportunities we created, even at 3-1, Eamonn goes through on goal and misses, they go up the park and get a penalty.

“Had we got it within a goal even at 4-2, we had three or four good opportunities to score. I think twice its off the line and had it then gone 4-3, we could have potentially gone and taken something from the game. It speaks volumes for the players in terms of not giving up. It can be easy to start the game 3-0 down and then chuck it, but they never, they kept going.”

Motherwell: Samson, Tait, Hammell, Heneghan, McManus, Moult (Ainsworth 60), Bowman, Cadden, Lasley, Clay, McDonald. Subs Unused: Brill, Lucas, Thomas, McFadden, Ferguson, MacLean.

Goals: Moult 7, 12, 20, 49 penalty.

Cautions: McManus, Lasley, Clay.

Accies: Matthews, Devlin, Gillespie (Kurtaj 80), Imrie, Crawford, Longridge, MacKinnon (Redmond 73), Brophy, Donati, Lyon (Bingham 51), Sarris. Subs Unused: Thomson, Docherty, D’Acol, Want.

Goals: Crawford 35, 63.

Cautions: Donati, Gillespie, Imrie, Devlin.

Referee: Willie Collum. Assistants: Kylie McMullan & Anthony Cooper. 4th Official: Colin Steven.

Attendance: 4514.

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