Web reporter Martin McConnel gives his report from Saturday’s draw with Partick Thistle
SuperSeal Stadium, Hamilton
Saturday 3rd December 2016 at 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 1 Partick Thistle 1
It was another case of déjà vu at the SuperSeal Stadium as we were pegged back for our ninth draw of the season and fourth on the bounce. Despite the setback, we moved up into eighth, just two points behind Killie in sixth and one more than ICT at the foot of the table, in what is proving to be an incredibly tight bottom half.
As the result and the one point difference between the sides would suggest, there wasn’t much to separate the sides throughout the 90 minutes, although Thistle did have the clearer cut chances. Accies got their noses in front when Alex D’Acol took advantage of a defensive error inside the Thistle penalty area from a Massimo Donati ball forward.
The second half at times looked as if it was Thistle’s for the taking, and with the amount of opportunities that they created, it did seem only a matter of time before they would equalise. And they got that equaliser when Sean Welsh fired home from a loose ball inside the penalty area, then had the ball in the net for a second time only to see it ruled out for offside.
Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “It’s another game that we’ve drawn, you can look at it both ways if you like, we picked up points and have moved up the league into a better position than when we started. But I think we put ourselves in a position to go on and win the game, but saying that, I didn’t think we deserved to win the game today and I think a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game. There has been other games were we have been more dominant than that.”
He then added, “It’s not as if we gave them lots of opportunities or it was backs against the wall sort of stuff, I still thought we posed a threat ourselves. I think Rakish goes through one on one at a slight angle to the keeper at 1-0, to make it 2-0. There’s probably somethings we’re not doing well enough. We’re maybe expecting to hold onto a one goal lead, rather than go and get the second goal and win the game which is something that we’ll address.”
The Accies boss made just the two changes to his side that turned out against County last Saturday, with Alex D’Acol starting in place of the injured Gramoz Kurta and Dougie Imrie replacing Georgios Sarris. Thistle made three changes, with Cerny, Azeez and Edwards starting in place of Stuckmann, Amoo and Erskine.
Thistle settled into the match right from the off, but it wasn’t until the eighth minute that Sean Welsh was able to send a dipping thirty-yard strike over the Hamilton cross bar. But Accies gradually edged themselves into the match with a few forays forward into the Thistle penalty area, ultimately without too much trouble for Jags stopper Tomas Cerny.
The match definitely seemed to be moving in Accies direction when they took the lead after Massimo Donati played the ball into the penalty area towards Alex D’Acol. The Italian striker did well to control the ball, but didn’t look likely to profit as Lindsay blocked his path. But he got a second touch which took him across goal before battering home from six yards.
Rakish Bingham then tested former Accies ‘keeper Tomas Cerny with a shot from wide after he had skipped inside past two Thistle defenders. The match then entered a phase where both sides looked to outdo each other with the amount of misplaced passes and basic mistakes, until Thistle began to look increasingly dangerous as the half drew to a close.
Ziggy Gordon headed over the cross bar from a Sean Welsh free kick, then with only Gary Woods to beat from 12 yards, Ade Azeez sent his finish sailing over both keeper and cross bar. The next chance went even closer when a ball from the left hand side was met by the head of Kris Doolan and struck off the Accies post.
Within a minute of the restart Hamilton fans hearts sank and the travelling Jags support were ecstatic at least for a second or two, when it looked as if Thistle equalised after Chris Elliot struck into the side netting. At the other end Bingham was next to try his luck with a shot from just inside the box that flew inches over the Jags goal after being played on by MacKinnon.
A real chance fell Thistles way when a long ball forward was knocked down wide for Ryan Edwards by Ade Azeez. The Aussie midfielder did well to cut inside and find a gap between a couple of Hamilton defenders before firing a testing shot low toward the near post for Gary Woods to smother.
The pressure on the Hamilton defence did bear fruit just after the hour mark, when Sean Welsh managed to latch onto a loose ball inside the penalty area and drive his shot into the corner of the net. Ten minutes later Callum Booth had the ball in the back of the net for Thistle after some good play between Edwards and Erskine but the assistant ruled it offside.
Accies: Woods, Seaborne, Devlin, Gillespie, Imrie, D’Acol, Crawford, Bingham (Brophy 70), MacKinnon, Donati (Docherty 52), Sowah. Subs Unused: Thomson, Redmond, Longridge, Lyon, Sarris.
Goals: D’Acol 15.
Cautions: Gillespie, Seaborne, Crawford, MacKinnon.
Thistle: Cerny, Booth, Welsh, Lindsay, Osman, Doolan, Barton, Elliot, Azeez (Erskine 60), Edwards, Gordon. Subs Unused. Stuckmann, Amoo, Lawless, Devine, Wilson, McDaid.
Goals: Welsh 61.
Referee: Don Robertson. Assistants: Alasdair Ross & David Doig. 4th Official: Graham Beaton.