Web reporter Martin McConnell gives us his take on Monday’s six goal thriller, as well as Martin Canning’s comments post match
SuperSeal Stadium, Hamilton
Monday 21st November 2016 at 7.45pm.
Hamilton Academical 3 Heart of Midlothian 3
We moved up one place and into 10th after an incredibly entertaining match that swung one way then another, although maybe less so for both sets of fans. Walker opened for Hearts, before Ali Crawford levelled spectacularly from a free kick. Rakish Bingham then sent Hamilton fans into utter jubilation after scoring his first goals and giving us a deserved 3-1 lead.
Hearts didn’t hold back and worked hard to get back into the game, winning a spot kick that Walker converted. Robbie Neilson then took the opportunity to introduce three fresh sets of legs to proceedings and the Hearts juggernaut threw everything into getting a third, and it came with four minutes of time left from the boot of Callum Paterson.
A frustrated Hamilton boss Martin Canning said, “I feel like I’m saying the same thing week in and week out and it’s really frustrating. We got ourselves into a great position, and then for us not to come away with all three points, it feels like a defeat. It’s a hard one to take, not for the way the game went but for the fact that we gave ourselves a two goal lead.
“When you have a one goal advantage, the game can always swing on the back of a wee mistake or one moment here or there. But when you give yourself a two goal lead, we should always have enough out there on the park to see the match out.”
The opposing managers started with fairly settled selections, both only making the one change to their starting XI’s. Accies boss Martin Canning deciding to bring back Dan Seaborne for a start at left back rather than in the centre, with Greg Docherty making way. Hearts manager Robbie Neilson leaving Igor Rossi out to bring Alim Ozturk into the back four.
Hearts made the most of a massive gap that opened up right through the Hamilton centre with only a minutes on the clock, allowing Tony Watt to test Gary Woods with a strike from the 18 yard line. Minutes later Johnsen sent a looping cross in from the left, Georgios Sarris headed clear, but the ball fell kindly for Jamie Walker to fire into the Accies net on the half volley.
Walker had another chance on 15 minutes when Dan Seaborne switched the ball from left to right. The ball fell in no man’s land right between two players and the midfielder intercepted, made a strong run through the middle and unleashed from 20 yards. Woods saved, Accies woke up, and responded with salvos of their own.
A ball back into Hearts penalty area was just beyond the reach of Jack Hamilton, the Hearts keeper and Gramoz Kurtaj raced for possession, Kurtaj won the challenge and the ball spilled wide. Gramoz caught the ball and sent it back into the penalty area for Rakish Bingham to head low toward the bottom corner, but Souttar was on hand to make the goal line clearance.
Accies levelled the scores after Prince Buaben fouled Dougie Imrie close to thirty yards from the Hearts goal. Up stepped Ali Crawford to slot the ball just inside the left hand post beyond the reach of the keeper. The Accies midfield maestro should have doubled his tally when Kurtaj slipped the ball through for Ali to shoot from the 18 yard line, but Hamilton denied him.
Hearts gave Accies a reminder of their potential threat when Alim Ozturk blasted a twenty yard strike inches over the crossbar. Buaben followed with a low pacey ball across the Accies six yard line, Bjorn Johnsen stooped down to head across goal. And only a brilliant reactive save from Gary Woods denied the Tynecastle men a 2-1 lead.
The second half was just 13 seconds old when Rakish Bingham put Accies in front. Massimo Donati knocked forward for Crawford who in turn played the striker on, Bingham won the race and slotted past the keeper. Kurtaj then fancied his chances with a shot come cross that was struck low toward the near post, Hamilton had no choice but to turn out for a corner kick.
Hearts piled on the pressure following the goal, but had to make do with skirting around the penalty area as Accies stayed tight and allowed them possession outside. But just before the hour mark a change of tack saw the delivered straight into the six yard box, right at the feet of Ozturk. The defender’s two yard strike was blocked out by Gary Woods.
Accies went 3-1 up after Darian MacKinnon won and challenge and knocked on for Kurtaj, who quickly played into space on the left. Bingham took up the challenge and cut inside the penalty area, and shot past the keeper from what looked like an impossible angle, right past the astonished keeper and in at the back post!
But Hearts got themselves back into the game with a penalty, but correct all the same when Seaborne took a tumble and in turn sent Cowie sprawling to the ground. Jamie Walker did the honours and converted from the spot. Accies responded immediately with a Crawford cross, that Kurtaj headed across the face of goal and inches wide of the back post.
Hearts were now completely dominant in the closing stages, with Accies struggling to cope with wave after wave of attack. Walker rattled the bar with a strike from distance, then Callum Paterson raced into head the follow up on goal, Woods saved again. The inevitable happened minutes later when Paterson poked the ball into the net from 15 yards.
Accies: Woods, Seaborne, Devlin, Gillespie (Docherty 71), Imrie (Sowah 90), Crawford, Kurtaj, Bingham (D’Acol 88 ), MacKinnon, Donati, Sarris. Subs Unused: Thomson, Redmond, Longridge, Brophy.
Goals: Crawford 23, Bingham 46, 67.
Hearts: Hamilton, Paterson, Ozturk, Kitchen, Walker, Buaben (Djoum 79), Souttar, Cowie, Johnsen (Sammon 79), Smith, Watt (Rherras 79). Subs Unused: Noring, Nowak, Muirhead, Currie.
Goals: Walker 7, 72 pen, Paterson 86.
Cautions: Ozturk, Rherras.
Referee: Steven McLean. Assistants: Alan Mulvanny & Stuart Hodge. 4th Official: Steven Kirkland.