Web reporter Mark Gillespie with his take on Saturday’s draw against Aberdeen
The SuperSeal Stadium
Saturday 4th November 2017 at 3pm.
Hamilton Academical 2 Aberdeen 2
After a creditable point against the SPL’s second top side, the only frustration was that it could have been so much more. Results elsewhere mean we drop to 9th in the table, but the difference in league position wasn’t reflected in the run of the ball in this pulsating match.
Dougie Imrie’s free kick strike gave Accies a stunning lead, only for a below par Dons to equalise with their first opportunity and then take a second half lead. But before Accies fans could think it was the same old story David Templeton was to pop up at the other end and rattle home a deserved equaliser.
Accies finished the game the better side with manager Martin Canning full of praise for the battling spirit and endeavour from his side.
“It was pleasing that we got got back in the game in the second half, and it shows the character that we have here. To be 2-1 down in a game we probably should have been winning and show the belief we did to get back in the game says a lot about us.” he said.
“Our only complaints are that we haven’t won the game. We had opportunities to win, but if you’d said before the game we’d get a point against Aberdeen, we have probably taken it. On the basis of play we were a bit unfortunate not to get all three.”
“The first half was probably as well as we’ve played this season, in terms of creating. We could have been 3-0 up before Aberdeen scored. Aberdeen have scored from a straight ball through the middle and I felt it was harsh at half time.”
“I thought Rojano and Templeton were a real threat for us. Temps will be disappointed tonight that he hasn’t taken the couple opportunities that he got, but I said to him at half time to just keep going because he’d get more chances. Thankfully he managed to take one in the second half.”
“There were lots of positives all over the pitch today. Darren Lyon hasn’t played a lot of football for us in the past 12 months, but came into the middle of the park and I thought he was excellent. Scott McMann is playing at a high level against the top teams in this league, and I thought Greg Docherty was our best player on the pitch today.”
Canning made two changes to his side which won last week at Dens, goal scorer Rojano in for Rakish Bingham. Lyon replaced the suspended Massino Donati in midfield. Derek McInnes meanwhile made just one change to his starting line up from last week with Gary Mackay-Steven starting in place of Scott Wright.
After a forgettable opening quarter hour Accies suddenly sparked the game into life. Skondras and Docherty began to combine well down the right flank, as Accies started to get a grip of the midfield.
The opener arrived on 18 minutes, and it was a cracker. Templeton was fouled outside the Dons area by Scott McKenna, and Imrie stepped up to curl an exquisite finish around the wall and past a helpless Lewis.
Aberdeen looked briefly stunned, and it could have been even better for Accies three minutes later, as Docherty floated a ball over the top for Templeton, Lewis only just first out of his box to beat the Accies striker to the ball.
Templeton spurned another great opportunity on 25 minutes, volleying over a Docherty cross, before the Dons were level with their first chance of the game. It was a threaded through ball by Shinnie which caught the Accies back four out and Greg Stewart was clean through to beat Woods with a composed finish from close range.
Being pegged back didn’t seem to dishearten an Accies side continuing to look sharp at the other end, Docherty and Skondras worked good space again to set up MacKinnon on edge of the D, but his shot was held by Lewis on 35 minutes.
The stage was set for an engrossing, end to end, second half. A sub par Dons side tried to step things up in the second half, but Accies matched up well, with Lyon and MacKinnon denying their opponents space and time.
Accies continued to have the pick of the chances, with Templeton just wide from the edge of the box on 61 minutes, after linking up with Rojano on a swift counter attack. Darren Lyon was next in on goal a minute later, pushed wide left of the Dons area, but could only find the side netting.
The Dons looked most dangerous from the set piece, ex Accie Stevie May a danger in the area and from corner kick deliveries. And it was May who helped the Dons take the lead on 73 minutes, sending a corner into the box, with Arnason the first in a tangle of bodies to bundle over the line.
But Accies continued to show great endeavour and battling spirit to draw level two`minutes later, as the ball broke to Templeton on the left angle of the box to drive low past Lewis.
Accies continued to look the likelier side going into the closing stages, but will settle for an encouraging point going into the two week break.
Accies: Woods, Skondras, McMann, Tomas, Imrie (c), Docherty, Gogic, Templeton (S Boyd 84), MacKinnon, Rojano (Bingham 76), Lyon (Redmond 73); Subs Unused: Jamieson, Biabi, Ferguson, Cunningham
Goals: Imrie, 18, Templeton, 75
Cautions: MacKinnon, 39, Skondras, 90+2
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, O’Connor, McLean, Stewart, Mackay-Steven (Rooney 79), Arnason, McKenna, Christie, May (Maynard 88 ); Subs Unused: Rogers, Considine, Reynolds, Wright, Tansey
Goals: Stewart, 25, Arnason, 73
Referee: Nick Walsh. Assistants: David McGeachie & Gary Hilland. 4th Official: Andy Dallas.