We suffered our first home league defeat of the year, and, outwith the two December games v the old firm, our first home defeat since 29th October when Dundee won here, when bottom six rivals Kilmarnock won with two early first half goals.
We were without the suspended Darian MacKinnon and Ioannis Skondras, but welcomed back Ali Crawford after his suspension. Louis Longridge came on as sub, his first appearance since 21st January, however he unfortunately limped off injured with a thigh injury with a few minutes remaining.
The defeat was our first at home this year, and the result means that this fixture, whether Accies or Killie at home, hasn’t seen a home win for either side for 11 games now.
Saturday 29th April 2017 at 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 0 Kilmarnock 2
We slipped to tenth, level on points with local rivals Motherwell, after Kilmarnock ended their four-match unbeaten run. Despite Dougie Imrie striking the bar and having another effort pushed onto the woodwork by the keeper, a couple of first half lapses led to Killie taking a two-goal lead into the second half, that we just couldn’t peg back.
In a fairly even first half, Dougie Imrie struck the back post with a shot from wide after Accies started brightly, before the visitors went ahead against the run of play thanks to a Conor Sammon effort. Jordan Jones made it two on 23 minutes, Accies dug in and gave it a go and went close again when Imrie’s header was brilliantly saved by Freddie Woodman.
The second 45 didn’t see much in the way of action from either of the sides, the visitors being more than happy to sit off and defend well enough to stifle any Hamilton incursions into Killie territory. Accies tried as well as they could to get back into the match but on this occasion, they just didn’t have enough quality to trouble the seventh placed side.
Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “It was a strange game, as I thought we were the better team. I felt we controlled a lot of the game, albeit that Kilmarnock sat off in the second half and I don’t think that they had a shot on target. It was frustrating as we didn’t defend our box properly, and that chance Dougie had was saved fantastically by the keeper.
“Then we didn’t defend from a set piece, they get the ricochet and then get the break and go onto score from it. The second goal came from a long throw in into the penalty area and we just don’t defend. Michael doesn’t get to the first one and Blair doesn’t do the job second time around, and its then two nil Kilmarnock.
“That then plays into Kilmarnock’s hands and then allows them to sit off, and for us, we just kind of huffed and puffed without a real glaring opportunity. They defended their box really well, and had three really good blocks at crucial moments that stopped us from getting a goal and getting back into the game.
“We didn’t get a break, Dougie strikes the outside of the post in the first couple of minutes and I havent watched it back yet, but how the keeper got that off the line with his feet I don’t know. It’s just one of those days for us and we’ll have to dust ourselves down and get on with it, go again, as every game gets bigger and next week is another huge game.”
Martin Canning made just two changes to the side that took all three points at Dens Park, with Blair Adams and Ali Crawford coming back in for the suspended Ioannis Skondras and Darian MacKinnon. Lee McCulloch’s Killie side also made a couple of changes, with Steven Smith replacing Martin Smith and Conor Sammon coming in for Cal Roberts.
With just over two minutes on the clock, Massimo Donati played an inch perfect ball into the edge of the Killie penalty area for Dougie Imrie. The midfielder cut inside and sent his shot sailing past the keeper and off the inside of the post. Killie responded almost immediately with Conor Sammon heading over the Accies cross bar from a Greg Taylor ball.
Ali Crawford then struck low and wide of goal from the edge of the penalty area, but it was Killie that opened the scoring minutes later. From Jones’ corner, a Killie foot sent the ball in the direction of Steven Smith, his shot was blocked a couple of yards short of the Accies goal line, where Conor Sammon was waiting to pounce from close range.
Despite going a goal behind, Hamilton began to knock the ball around with a bit of style, but again went another goal behind when it seemed they were on top. From a Hendrie throw in deep inside the Hamilton half, Kris Boyd got a touch and headed on for the unmarked Jordan Jones to volley past Remi Matthews, six yards out at the back post.
Greg Docherty responded with a strong run through the centre, powering past defenders and shrugging off challenges, before sending wide to Scott McMann who shot wide of goal. Within a minute, Imrie got onto a McMann cross at the back post and head on goal, Woodman got down low to touch onto the bar before safely gathering into his arms.
The second half started quietly and continued in much the same vein, Hamilton made a change in midfield, with Danny Redmond coming on for Ali Crawford. The first and almost only action came after ten minutes, when a Massimo Donati ball found Greg Docherty on the edge of the Killie penalty area, with his shot being well save by Woodman.
Two further changes were made by Hamilton in an attempt to change the course of the game, Louis Longridge making his return to the side for Dougie Imrie, and Eamonn Brophy replacing Blair Adams. An Accies free kick found Rakish Bingham inside the Killie box, the big striker took a touch and shot on goal from eight yards out, but his effort was blocked in front of goal.
We ended up down to ten as Longridge later limped off injured after all subs had been committed.
Accies: Matthews, Devlin (c) , Imrie (Longridge 59, ret’d inj 88 ), Docherty, D’Acol, Crawford (Redmond 52), Bingham, Donati, McMann, Adams (Brophy 69), Sarris. Subs Unused: Gogic, Watson, S Boyd, Woods.
Kilmarnock:Woodman, S Smith, Dicker, K Boyd, Jones (Frizzell 90+3), Longstaff (Kiltie 77), Sammon, Ajer, Taylor, Hendrie, Wilson. Subs Unused: MacDonald, Osborne, Roberts, Graham, Cameron.
Goals: Sammon 10, Jones 23.
Cautions: Jones, Taylor, Boyd.
Referee:William Collum. Assistants: Kylie McMullan & Graeme Leslie. 4th Official: Craig Charleston.