New Douglas Park, Hamilton
19th September 2015.
Hamilton Academical 1 Motherwell 0
Accies were looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to St. Johnstone and the 1-0 midweek loss to league leaders Aberdeen at Pittodrie, three changes were made to the side with Carlton Morris, Darren Lyon and Greg Docherty all making the first eleven. The first half was a pretty tight affair, we had the best of the chances and came closest when Ali Crawford struck the cross bar but Motherwell probably had more of the attacking opportunities, fortunately the Accies defence coped well with the task at hand. The second half saw Accies step up their game and pressured the Motherwell defence throughout, their graft paid off when Dougie Imrie rose to head in from an Antons Kurakins cross which proved to be enough to give Accies the valuable three points.
Both sides started the match positively and this was to be the prevailing theme throughout the ninety minutes, although the final ball would let both sides down much of the time. Accies pressed home some early attacks without result but it was Motherwell that fired the first volley of the match when a clearance was deflected towards Louis Moult in front of the Accies penalty area, he knocked the ball on for Theo Robinson who kept his shot on target from 15 yards but McGovern was able to get down and make his save look comfortable. We had the ball in the back of the net when Keith Lasley brought down Carlton Morris, Ali Crawford struck his free kick into the Motherwell penalty area where Lucas Tagliapietra rose with Motherwell keeper Ripley in a challenge for thehigh ball, the ball sailed straight into the net direct from the free kick and the referee blew for a free kick for the challenge on Ripley.
Theo Robinson had another decent attempt on goal when Motherwell broke up field and the ball fell to Lionel Ainsworth out on the right, he raced inside and cut his cross low and back from the edge of the six yard box to Robinson, 15 yards from goal, but could only direct it into the safe hands of Michael McGovern. Robinson found himself in a good position once more when he got on the end of a Keith Lasley cross on the edge of the Accies penalty area, but could only manage to send his shot high over the cross bar. Ali Crawford received the ball in midfield before making a strong run and shooting high over the crossbar from 20 yards, his next strike was way more accurate when Imrie found Kurtaj out wide, his cross was cleared and found its way out to Crawford who managed to evade a couple of challenges on the edge of the penalty area to shoot and strike the ball off the Motherwell cross bar.
Dougie Imrie then went close after Gramoz Kurtaj won the ball in midfield before passing to Carlton Morris, the big English striker sent the ball wide to Imrie who then cut back inside and struck from the edge of the penalty area, his shot went straight to the keeper and both sides went into the break with everything to play for in the second half.
We started the second half well and had the first decent chance on 50 minutes when a well worked Accies attack petered out and was cleared towards Grant Gillespie, 35 yards from the ‘Well goal, Connor Ripley was off his line and Gillespie tried a cheeky lob that just missed the cross bar and landed on top of the net. Gramoz Kurtaj then went close when his 20 yard shot was saved by the Motherwell keeper, Antons Kurakins then had an attempt sail over the cross bar from a similar distance. Hamilton were starting to dominate but Motherwell showed that they were still a threat when on the hour mark, Josh Law broke down the wing and crossed into the box for Robinson, his shot from eight yards looked to be on target but fortunately took a deflection off an Accies player and out for a corner kick.
Christian Nade who was not long on the pitch after replacing Carlton Morris in the 53rd minute, found himself with half a chance after Grant Gillespie struck a quick ball up field for Nade to chase down, he raced against Motherwell keeper to be first to the ball, the Motherwell keeper managed to get there a fraction earlier and kicked to safety. Dougie Imrie then found himself free out on the right, he came inside and cut his pass back for Ali Crawford who managed to belt his best chance of the match over the cross bar from close range. The dead lock was broken in the 71st minute when Dougie Imrie scored his first of the season. Latvian internationalist Antons Kurakins crossed from the left to the back post and Dougie Imrie rose with Joe Chalmers to head across goal and into the net for a well-deserved lead, 1-0.
Hamilton were on the hunt for a second, an Ali Crawford free kick was sent to the back post for Lucas Tagliapietra to head down to Darren Lyon, but his close range shot was smothered comfortably by Connor Ripley in goal. The Motherwell keeper then made a good block to deny Greg Docherty, Ali Crawford sent one over the cross bar and a Gramoz Kurtaj strike flew wide of the post. Late on Motherwell won a free kick just outside Accies penalty area when sub Jesus Garcia Tena brought down Jake Taylor, but Scott MacDonald could only manage to hit the Hamilton wall. Then as the match entered injury time, Motherwell had a penalty shout when they felt that the ball struck Garcia Tena’s arm but referee Craig Thomson waved their pleas away and the match finished 1-0 for the Accies.
After the match, Hamilton boss Martin Canning spoke about his sides 1-0 victory “I think in a derby game you’ll take any win, I don’t think however you win the match is important, just winning the match, in saying that, I think we deserved to win the match. I thought we controlled the game for large spells and it was a fantastic goal from Dougie at the back post, and something we’ve said to Dougie, if he can add a couple more goals, obviously, for the work he puts into the team, he puts in some shift for everybody, he works his socks off and I’m delighted to see him get his goal.”
The Accies manager then went on to praise the effort of goal scorer Imrie “It was the same for me, it was slow motion as well, and as I say, I was delighted he got the goal, I’m delighted for Dougie, like I say, he puts in so much hard work and for him to go and get on the end of it and obviously when its 1-0 as well, and it’s your goal that makes a difference, it’s a nice day.” He went further “it’s something we said before the game, if we can hit the back post, he is decent in the air, Dougie, for someone relatively small, and it’s a good ball into the back post and I think everything about him, his desire to get there and to win the header gets him the goal.”
When asked about his sides great run of results against local rivals Motherwell, Martin said “I don’t know if there is anything we do different, in fact, I know there’s nothing we do different in terms of any other game, it’s just a case of trying to motivate the players and make sure they’re up for it, and go and try and do what we do and pass the ball and be brave to go and play, and I thought we were up for it for large spells of the game. “Some of our passing movements were excellent and a bit unfortunate not to lead to goals as well, no, but I thought the game in general, we deserved to win the match.”
Goal hero Dougie Imrie was delighted to get his side the winner “I just said there, obviously delighted to get the goal but the most important thing is to get the team performance and getting that win, after the last couple of results over the week there. I think from Michael right the way up to Carlton, everyone was excellent today. I didn’t think it was going in to be fair, it was the only place that I could really score, it was a great cross but there wasn’t much pace on it and I just thought to myself I’ll have to put it back across because it’s no really got much pace to get some power in it to go near post, so I thought I’d just loop it back over the goalie and thankfully it went in.”
Dougie was full of praise for his manager and his team mates after an unforeseen last minute change to the side that faced Motherwell “Yeah, the manager’s been great, to be fair we had a couple of pull outs, we had to pull out one yesterday as he couldn’t make it as well, we had to reshuffle the pack as big Jesus got caught up in an accident on the motorway and we had to change it again. So it shows you the character of the team as well for people to come in and nothing change, we know we have good players here and whoever plays, we’ll give all for the jersey and it’s good that we’ve got that strength in depth as well.”
Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Gillespie, Imrie, Crawford, Kurtaj, Morris (Nade 53), Docherty (Longridge 82), Lyon (Garcia Tena 76), Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, D’Acol, Redmond, Sendles-White.
Goals: Imrie 71.
Motherwell: Ripley, Grimshaw, Law, Chalmers, McManus, Lasley (MacDonald 76), Kennedy, Taylor, Ainsworth (Thomas 82), Robinson ( Johnson 68), Moult. Subs Unused: Twardzik, Lang, Leitch, Clarkson.
Cautions: Lasley, McManus.
Referee: Craig Thomson Assistants: Alasdair Ross & Anthony Cooper 4th Official: John Beaton.