Report from our defeat at Dingwall from Martin McConnell
Victoria Park, The Global Energy Stadium
Saturday 21st October 2017, kick off 3pm.
Ross County 2 Hamilton Academical 1
In turned out to be Groundhog Day all over again after a gruelling 90 minutes Dingwall. Once again we got our noses in front, only to surrender the hard-earned advantage. Greg Docherty’s early second half header had given us hope, only for Alex Schalk and Thomas Mikkelsen to take advantage of slack defending to secure the three points for County.
We now sit just a point above the bottom placed sides after a sixth straight defeat. Martin Canning reflected post match on a familiar story and has called for leadership on the pitch to turn this run around.
“It’s difficult to take. I think that’s four of the last six where we’ve gone ahead and we’ve lost every one of them”, he told BBC Scotland.
“It’s the same thing that’s causing us problems again – it’s a lack of leadership and a lack of someone taking control and making sure we’re organised.”
“It’s driving me crazy. We’re competitive and we’re giving ourselves the best opportunity to win these games and take points, but we’re so naive defensively at times it’s scary, and it’s costing us.”
“We need to get one or two of the injured boys back, a bit more experience in the team, and hopefully that will help us out. I am confident that this group will start to turn things around.”
The Accies boss made two changes to the first XI that narrowly lost out to local rivals Motherwell last weekend, with Ioannis Skondras and Massimo Donati being replaced Darren Lyon and Steven Boyd. Opposite number Owen Coyle meanwhile made just the one change to the side from the home defeat to Hearts, with Billy McKay replacing Ross Draper.
A very even, physical first half contained few clear cut chances at either end. Accies had Ryan Fulton to thank with the one great chance for the hosts on 23 minutes, reacting well to a Billy McKay header.
County went on to have a good spell around the half hour mark, with Jason Naismith and Davis Keillor-Dunne looking the liveliest danger. But Accies kept them at bay for the most part, defending compactly enough for the first 45.
At the other end we had plenty of possession without working Scott Fox. Half chances fell to Biabi and Bingham and our most likely route to goal looked to be from the set piece.
And after grinding out the first half we looked to have grabbed the all important breakthrough early in the second half. From a corner kick on 51 minutes. Steven Boyd swung a delivery in from the left, and with the home defence switching off, Greg Docherty nipped in to bullet home a header into the roof of the net for his second of the season.
Soon after Boyd fired over as Accies sought to capitalise on the breakthrough. Docherty had a great chance to add his second on 58 minutes, but fired just wide of the post, with the home side looking briefly rattled.
County went to a more attacking shape on the hour mark bringing on Mikkelsen for McKay. Accies might have expected the kitchen sink flung at them for the closing half hour, but we soaked things up going into the closing the hosts’ best opportunity falling to Keillor-Dunne, who fired straight at Fulton on 67 minutes.
But the leveller arrived on 69 minutes, and a flowing move down the right. Naismith crossed for Schalk in space at the far post to head past Fulton.
A point would have been a creditable result for Accies, but all the hard work was undone five minutes from time. To add the the frustration we were actually on the front foot with Scott McMann, but a long clearance forward caught the defence out, finding Schalk on the edge of the box to pick out Mikkelsen who found Fulton’s bottom right corner.
County now move up to eighth in the table as we drop down a place. Thistle on Tuesday gives us the chance to return to winning ways, as we hope not to drop further after an encouraging start to the season.
County: Fox, Fraser, Naismith, Gardyne, Curran (Schalk 66), Davies, Lindsay (Draper 81), McKay (Mikkelsen 61), O’Brien, Van Der Weg, Keillor-Dunn. Subs Unused: McCarey, Kelly, Chow, Dow.
Goals: Schalk 69, Mikkelsen 85.
Cautions: Davies, O’Brien.
Accies: Fulton, McMann, Tomas, Imrie (c), Docherty, Bingham (Rojano 45), Gogic, Biabi (Longridge 64), MacKinnon, Lyon, S Boyd (Templeton 79). Subs Unused: Skondras, Donati, Ferguson, Jamieson.
Goals: Docherty 51.
Cautions: S Boyd, Longridge.
Referee: Stephen Finnie. Assistants: Willie Conquer & Calum Spence. 4th Official: Steven Reid.