Accies 1-2 Heart of Midlothian
Saturday 16th September 2017
All the goals came in the first half of this encounter in which we were unlucky not to get a point. Martin McConnell reports
Hamilton Academical 1 Heart of Midlothian 2
We were disappointed not to pick up something from a game in which we dominated for large spells, making it hard for ourselves after going behind when Ross Callachan and Kyle Lafferty put Hearts two goals in front. Rakish Bingham pulled one back before half time, but we couldn’t add to it in a second half that lacked chances but not effort.
A clearly disappointed Martin Canning said afterwards, “The first 15 minutes you can’t do that, you can’t do that against anyone in this league and give them a two-goal start. From there going forward, we were the better team by a distance. It’s frustrating but what I’m not going to do is the same as last year when I’d talk about the performance being a good performance.
It was a good performance, but ultimately we’ve got to win the game, and Craig Levein will sit in here if he hasn’t yet and be delighted with the three points and that’s what matters. So, for me I’m bitterly disappointed that we’ve given a side that I believe we’re better than, a two goal start and then given ourselves a mountain to climb to get back into the game.”
Hamilton made just the one change to the side that faced champions Celtic eight days previously, with David Templeton replacing Steven Boyd, who had picked up an ankle niggle earlier in the week. Visitors Hearts made a total of three changes, with Michael Smith, Ashley Smith-Brown and Kyle Lafferty starting for Connor Randall, Don Cowie and Aaron Hughes.
Accies began well and knocked the ball around quite nicely until Hearts stung them with agoal after only a couple of minutes. In a move started by Jamie Walker, the ball was knocked out wide to Michael Smith, who cut inside and played the ball into the six-yard box where Ross Callachan ran in to stick past Woods from close range.
Accies heads didn’t go down though, and plenty of corners and half chances followed. Ioannis Skondras and Ali Crawford both had shots deflected wide for corners, Scott McMann had a 20-yarder whistle past the post, then on 15 minutes, Greg Docherty scooped an effort over the top from the 18-yard line.
But the best chance of all came from a quick Crawford ball through the Hearts defence that found Rakish Bingham perfectly placed to try a shot from 12 yards. Unfortunately, the ball was maybe a little too quick for the big striker but his touch sent the ball goalward, struck the keepers leg and out for a corner kick.
Despite their best efforts, they went further behind after the referee awarded a penalty kick when Skondras ended a Goncalves run along the inside of the 18-yard line, with less of a challenge and more of a softish one. Nevertheless, Goncalves went to ground and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, which Kyle Lafferty duly stuck away.
It seemed that Accies would do all the graft without any of the reward, when David Templeton stole the ball on the edge of the box from a dithering Grzelak. The former Hearts man then chested the ball forward, looked up and waited a second or two before sending his cross low along the six-yard box, where Bingham ran in to guide over the line.
Accies looked for an equaliser before half time, a Templeton overhead kick struck a defender before the keeper saved, Bingham headed wide of the back post from a curled Crawford ball into the edge of the six yard box, then Ali gathered the ball in the Hearts half, beat a defender before sending the ball just wide of goal.
The first ten minutes or so of the second half, didn’t produce much in the way of action from either side until Crawford skewed a shot wide. Accies were then awarded a free kick 19 yards from goal after Steven Boyd had been upended. As usual, Ali stepped up and sent the ball on its way towards the top corner but McLaughlin was at his best and touched wide of goal.
The match began to get fiery, no more so than between Jamie Walker and Darian MacKinnon, as the challenges flew in. Accies took inspiration and looked the more likely to score. Yet neither side were able to produce chances on goal, the closest and only effort coming on 83 minutes when Lafferty struck past the back post from wide.
Accies: Woods, Skondras, McMann, Tomas, Imrie (c) (Redmond 74), Docherty, Bingham (Longridge 83), A. Crawford, Templeton (S. Boyd 52), MacKinnon, Sarris. Subs Unused: Gogic, Biabi, Donati, Jamieson.
Goals: Bingham 33.
Cautions: Crawford, Tomas.
Hearts: McLaughlin, Smith, Smith-Brown, Souttar, Berra, Walker (Milinkovic 90), Lafferty, Djoum (Buaben 45), Callachan, Grzelak, Goncalves (Cowie 72). Subs Unused:Stockton, Currie, Baur, Hamilton.
Goals: Callachan 2, Lafferty 20 pen.
Referee:Bobby Madden. Assistants: Gordon Crawford & Brian Templeton.4th Official: Kevin Graham.
Accies: Woods, Skondras, McMann, Tomas, Imrie (c) (Redmond 74), Docherty, Bingham (Longridge 83), A Crawford, Templeton (S Boyd 52), MacKinnon, Sarris. Unused subs Gogic, Biabi, Donati, Jamieson
Referee: Bobby Madden Assistants: Gordon Crawford & Brian Templeton 4th official: Kevin Graham