Reporter Martin McConnell and interviewer Mark Gillespie report from Saturday’s League Cup win over Stenhousemuir which saw us top the group….
BetfredLeague Cup, Group Stage
at The SuperSeal Stadium
Saturday 29th July 2017 at 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 3 Stenhousemuir 0
Accies put the midweek performance behind them, comfortably taking all three points in a one sided 3-0 victory against visitors Stenhousemuir. The win meant that we finished top of Group G, two points ahead of Rovers after they drew 2-2 away to Queens.
Although the game was a little bit short of action in the first half, Ali Crawford’s stunning free kick from near 30 yards put Accies in front. Crawford’s contribution was outstanding throughout, but it was David Templeton that finished with a classy strike from the edge of the penalty area for the second, then Steven Boyd sneaking a third in from his head.
Afterwards Accies boss Martin Canning said, “Yes, I’m happy to be through. Obviously these games can be difficult at times, when teams sit behind the ball and they make it difficult for you to play. But again, I thought Stenhousemuir did well and worked hard, that was East Kilbride, Albion Rovers and Queens just the same. They were all difficult games and I’m just glad to be through out of the group, and now looking forward to Sunday against Aberdeen.”
Accies rang the changes for the second successive match, with eight players being replaced after the side’s showing at Cliftonhill on Tuesday night. The only players keeping their place being Ioannis Skondras, Dougie Imrie, Danny Redmond. The Warriors made three changes, with Smith, Ferry, McGuigan starting in place of McMinn, Blockley, McMenamin.
Accies started the last of their Betfred group matches with some pretty impressive crisp, one touch passing from back to front, albeit breaking down in front of the Stenhousemuir penalty area. Then with a quarter hour played, Accies were awarded a free kick after Ferry brought down Crawford, 28 yards out, which the midfielder duly struck low into the bottom corner.
Crawford almost turned provider moments later, whipping a cross into the six-yard box that would almost certainly have made it 2-0, but for Marsh clearing inches from the head of Redmond. Chances were somewhat thin on the ground, but Bingham made the most of what came his way, striking one wide before making the keeper save from both head and foot.
With Accies only having the one goal advantage, there was every chance that the Warriors would get a sniff at goal before half time. They did, three minutes from the whistle. When Harry Paton sent a dangerously dipping free kick into the six-yard box, but Scott McMann put in a challenge that took the ball from an opposition foot and over the cross bar for a corner kick.
Within a minute of the restart, Stenny gave the Accies fans a fright after a 30-yard Ferry strike crept over the cross bar, struck the fencing behind the goal then into the netting. Giving the appearance of goal for a fraction of a second. Hamilton looked decent going forward, but again, like midweek, it proved difficult to pick out a player with a ball through the centre.
That all changed when Bingham won possession inside the centre circle before playing forward for Longridge. The Accies winger picked out David Templeton on the edge of the penalty area, moved the ball from his left to right foot before slotting past the diving Chris Smith. Redmond then Boyd had chances, Smith saving from Redmond and Boyd striking over.
However, that miss didn’t seem to dent the young striker’s confidence, as he put Accies three goals to the good and netting his second for the club, after Redmond swung in a chipped ball into the space between Boyd and the keeper. Boyd read it nicely and snuck in to clip a header over the top of the top of the keeper and into the net.
Goal scorer David Templeton was pleased to get his first of the season and put the tie beyond the reach of the Warriors. “Yes, it was good to put that away. Stenhousemuir had defended well in the first half and we knew we needed to get a second to make sure of the game. I was just pleased to get a good touch and finish.”
Accies fans will be glad to hear that the wingers fitness is progressing nicely after playing for an hour, David saying “Yes, I’m feeling good every game now. Obviously, the gaffer has been careful not to push things too quickly, but hopefully I can kick on now and get through the full ninety minutes in the games ahead.”
He was optimistic on Accies chances ahead of the visit to Pittodrie on Sunday “We’re looking forward to it. Obviously, they’re a top side who had a great season last year and they’ve recruited well in the close season. We know it will be a tough game, but our aim is to put in a decent performance and get a positive result next weekend.”
Accies: Woods, Skondras, McMann, Tomas, Gillespie (Docherty 69), Imrie (c) (Longridge 51), Bingham, Redmond, Crawford, Templeton (S Boyd 60), MacKinnon. Subs Unused: Donati, Lyon, Want, Jamieson.
Goals: Crawford 14, Templeton 55, Boyd 72.
Stenhousemuir: Smith, Meechan, M Dunlop, R Dunlop, Marsh, Ferry, McGuigan (McMenamin 80), Paton, Longworth (Ferns 67), Halleran (Gilmour 59), Donaldson. Subs Unused: Sinclair, Gracie, McMinn.
Referee: Steven McLean. Assistants: Graeme Stewart & Drew Kirkland.