Web reporter Martin McConnell wuith his take on Saturday’s draw at Inverness.
In nine league visits to the Caledonian Stadium, we have only lost once.
Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
Saturday 10th December 2016 at 3pm
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1 Hamilton Academical 1
With all but Partick taking a point from the weekend’s matches, not much changed for Accies after our fifth straight draw, but opponents ICT did manage to move away from the foot of the table. It was a fairly even match over the course of the ninety minutes, with both sides dominating for spells without creating too many good clear cut opportunities.
However, Hamilton did take the lead after Ali Crawford scored another spectacular free kick, this time finding the back of the net when everyone was expecting a cross rather than a shot on goal. The home side had a penalty appeal after the ball appeared to hit Seaborne’s hand, however as the defender later admitted, he couldn’t get out the way, which the referee seemed to agree with.
But ICT fought back toward the end of the half and beginning of the second, and their hard work paid off when Larnell Cole struck from within the penalty area to equalise five minutes into the second period. Both sides did have further chances to win the match as the game opened up, with Williams in the Inverness goal doing particularly well to earn his side a point.
Martin Canning felt a sense of déjà vu with the day’s result saying, “It’s seems to be that you could script it, I was just saying to the players that Ali Crawford scores and we draw 1-1. It seems to be a recurring theme just now, but it’s a difficult place for us to come to and we’ve earned a point and we’ll take it and move on, but disappointed not to have taken the three.”
There were four changes to the Accies side that started in Inverness. With Scott McMann, Greg Docherty, Louis Longridge and Georgios Sarris starting in place of Devlin, Donati, Bingham and Sowah. Devlin, Sowah and Lyon had picked up knocks while Kurtaj is still out. Dougie Imrie skippered the side against one of his former teams, on his 175th Accies appearance.The hosts made three changes to the side that lost in Perth last week and Mulraney, King and McKay replaced Warren, Doran and King.
Both sides struggled to get on top with the windy conditions inside the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in the opening stages of the match. With the ball remaining airborne for much of the opening ten minutes or so, until Larnell Cole intercepted a ball inside from Draper, and after rounding Woods, was disappointed to be ruled offside.
Moments later Hamilton threatened when Louis Longridge sent a low ball across the Inverness goal mouth, but the ball was cleared for a corner with Alex D’Acol lurking at the back post for the tap in. But never mind, Ali Crawford surprised everyone by scoring direct from near 30 yards wide on the left with a cheeky free kick that beat Owain Fon Williams low at the near post.
It was then a full ten minutes before Accies next threatened, when Alex D’Acol bravely won the ball with his head before sending his shot a foot high of the cross bar.
As the match entered the closing stages of the first half, Inverness looked increasingly threatening on the break. And when Iain Vigurs played Greg Tansey through, it looked like the Caley Thistle man would level the scoreline. Fortunately some untidy footwork at the crucial moment, carried the ball toward Woods, allowing the Accies keeper to block from close range.
Minutes into the second half and D’Acol had the first attempt on goal, after Docherty dinked a nice wee pass through for Crawford who then played the striker through to test the keeper at the near post. But no sooner had the chance past, and Accies found themselves pegged back when Larnell Cole levelled with 12 yard strike off the underside of the cross bar.
Accies toiled after the goal, looked brittle at the back and a second ICT goal looked increasingly likely. But Ali Crawford eased some of the that pressure when he shot wide of goal from 20 yards after making a good run through the centre, then Darian MacKinnon followed that up by forcing a magnificent fingertip save from Williams in the home goal.
Further chances followed for Hamilton as the clock ran down, Crawford sent a shot sailing over the cross bar from a Longridge ball, after the midfielder brought a high ball beautifully under control to set him up. But Fon Williams ensured the sides would share the points by saving a Rakish Bingham strike, then denying Crawford from a 90th minute free kick.
Thistle: Williams, Tremarco, Meekings, Draper, Vigurs, Mulraney, Tansey, Horner (King 86), McKay, Doumbouya, Cole. Subs Unused: Esson, Doran, Sutherland, Gilchrist, Robertson, MacLennan.
Goals: Cole 50.
Cautions: Draper, McKay, King.
Accies: Woods, Seaborne, Gillespie, Imrie (c), Docherty, D’Acol (Bingham 67), Crawford, Longridge (Redmond 67), MacKinnon, McMann, Sarris. Subs Unused: Thomson, Brophy, Donati, Cunningham, Hughes.
Goals: Crawford 15.
Cautions: Imrie, Gillespie, McMann.
Referee: Greg Aitken. Assistants: Douglas Ross & Ross Haswell. 4th Official: Scott Millar.
Attendance: 3643 (100 Accies).