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St Johnstone 2-1 Accies, 23rd September

Accies web reporter Mark Gillespie at McDiarmid Park…

Ladbrokes Premiership

McDiarmid Park, Perth

Saturday 23rd September 2017 at 3pm

St. Johnstone 2 Hamilton Academical 1

After a performance which promised more, the home side overturned Greg Docherty’s first half goal to move up to second in the table. Murray Davidson’s late header left Accies Manager Martin Canning bemoaning missed opportunities as Accies suffered a third defeat on the bounce.

 

He said, “It’s not acceptable to be as in control of that game and lose. It’s something I thought we’d learned in terms of games like this. You’ve got to pick up points away from home. Ultimately you take your point in games like these, but to go and lose it is really disappointing.”

 

“The biggest thing for me today is the concentration, and not defending our box properly, and not being able to take chances. It’s a bad combination.”

 

“You’ve got to be equally clinical at both ends of the park. We’re playing well and not winning games. That’s got to change. Our decision making in the final third should be better, and defensively we have spoken about it, we need to make sure players are picked up in the box. Paton had 10 yards of space to score the equaliser.”

 

“Technically we probably don’t deserve to take anything from the game, but again there will be things I can take from the game in terms of performance. But that’s the second week running we have been the better side for spells but we haven’t taken the points.”

 

Martin Canning made three changes from last weekend’s defeat to Hearts. With David Templeton likely to be out for a few weeks, Louis Longridge came in. Martin Canning shuffled his side to a back three, with Gogic and Donati replacing the injured Sarris and McMann. Gillespie remains injured.

 

Opposite number Tommy Wright made three changes to his line-up last week. Murray Davidson and Stefan Scougall replaced Wotherspoon and Johnstone, with Graham Cummins coming in for O’Halloran.

 

We hadn’t won at McDiarmid Park for two seasons, and were hoping to get back to winning ways after back to back defeats. After a tentative start, we slowly began to pick up where we left off in the Hearts game to dictate the early tempo.

 

Greg Docherty was getting into advanced areas, and had the first sight of goal on 20 minutes. Crawford’s weighted ball in behind the Saints rearguard broke to the Accies man inside the box, but he blasted well over.

 

But he was off his mark with his first of the season a few minutes later, right after Accies survived a scare at the other end. Cummins had rounded Woods, but the Accies keeper recovered well to palm off his line.

 

Gogic duly cleared a long ball forward, with Docherty inside the box to control and fire a composed finish past Mannus. Looking good value for the lead, we almost, almost doubled the advantage two minutes later, Crawford flashing a shot just wide after a driving run by Imrie.

 

Hamilton continued to have the better of the opening forty-five, but looked vulnerable to through balls. Saints almost caught them out on 38 minutes, Davidson playing Steven MacLean clean through on goal. Luckily his powerful effort struck the woodwork, with Cummins firing the rebound well over the bar.

 

It had been a first half were we would live to regret not taking opportunities. Crawford could have doubled the lead right on the interval, Mannus reacting to tip to his shot to safety.

 

The game sprang to life after the interval. Saints emerged for the second half looking for more width in their game, harsh words from Tommy Wright ringing in their ears. They should have been level just a minute in, Cummins passing up a free header from a Paton delivery.

 

But Accies had another golden chance of their own just a minute later, as Tomas headed a Crawford corner off the bar and over. It was a miss to regret as Saints drew level on 48 minutes, in bizarre circumstances. The Accies defence failed to deal with a Cummins delivery from the left, and at the second time of asking Paton bundled a rebound past Woods from on the floor. Woods would be replaced through injury a couple of minutes later, Darren Jamieson coming on for his debut.

 

The hosts looked a changed side from the first half, with Cummins and Paton continuing to pose a threat. Accies tried not to fall back too deep, as Saints continued to work the ball into good areas.

 

We soaked it up though and continued to find space in midfield, Longridge spearing wide after a driving run, before Bingham passed up an even more gilt-edged chance on 73 minutes, put through by Docherty one on one with Mannus, but only shooting straight at the Saints keeper’s legs.

 

Hamilton brought on new loanee Botti Biabi for the final 15 minutes as the game began to stretch. Neither sides looked for a winner and Accies continued to carve out chances, Bingham unable to convert another chance on 77 minutes after Imrie’s byeline cut back.

 

Two minutes later and MacLean almost won it for the hosts, getting on the end of a cross, but Gogic was quick to clear off his line. But the hosts had the final say on 83 minutes, as Davidson popped up in space to nod another delivery past Jamieson.

 

It went from bad to worse in injury time as MacKinnon saw red for being deemed to have denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity in injury time, bringing down Paton. Accies will miss his experience for the forthcoming game against Rangers.

 

Saints: McManus, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Davidson, MacLean, Paton, Foster (Wotherspoon, 79), Scougall (Millar, 86),, Easton, Craig (Tanser, 62), Cummin. Subs Unused: Clark,  Johnstone, Thomson, Gilchrist.

 

Goals: Paton 48, Davidson 83.

 

Cautions: Scougall.

 

Accies: Woods (Jamieson, 54), Skondras, Tomas, Imrie (c), Docherty, Bingham, A Crawford, Gogic, Longridge (Biabi, 76), MacKinnon, Donati (S Boyd, 90). Subs Unused: Redmond, Lyon, Want, Cunningham, 

 

Goals: Docherty 23.

 

Cautions: Imrie, Red Card MacKinnon 

 

Referee: Willie Collum Assistants: David McGeachie & Frankie Connor 4th: Barry Cook
Att: 2880 (181 Accies)

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