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Match Report vs Dundee Utd

1 Mikey save  

Hamilton Academical 0 Dundee United 0

Ladbrokes Premiership, Saturday 13th February at NDP

Three points would have been greatly appreciated by both sides but it wasn’t to be. On a positive note,  we kept our fourth clean sheet in five and moved into eighth. Hamilton had a great chance to steal all three points after being awarded a penalty kick late on. But a fortunate save by United’s Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima denied Accies the win.

For long periods of the match, neither side looked likely to score. Both sides had a few chances that flew close from long range, but only a single shot on target each. Simon Murray with a close range effort that Michael McGovern saved, and at the other end Kawashima blocked from Gramoz Kurtaj. The Accies midfielder put away the rebound but his effort was ruled offside.

Hamilton manager Martin Canning named only one change to the side that beat Killie 1-0 at Rugby Park, with Grant Gillespie back in the side for the suspended Darian MacKinnon. After Dundee United’s recent run of good form, Head Coach Mixu Paatelainen named the same starting XI that beat Partick Thistle 1-0 at Tannadice last weekend.

Accies started positively and won themselves a corner within the first 30 seconds, and continued the pressure for a good ten minute spell. Unfortunately without reward. The game then entered a scrappy phase, marked out by wayward pass after wayward pass. Hamilton still held sway, but the crowd were awoken by a 30 yard Demel strike that sailed harmlessly over the Accies cross bar.

Guy Demel’s strike seemed to have a restorative effect on the visitors, and they gradually fought themselves back into the match. But it was Accies that had the next attempt when Sean Dillon wrestled Carlton Morris to the ground, 30 yards from goal. Ali Crawford curled the ball to the back post and Morris headed toward goal, struck a defender’s head and Kawashima gathered.

That was soon followed by a Hamilton move that saw Ali Crawford make a surging run through the centre, and unleash the ball a foot over the United goal. The best move of the match came moments later when McKay crossed into the penalty area for Rankin. He rolled the ball forward to Simon Murray, who toe poked from seven yards and McGovern blocked for a corner kick.

Then as the first half entered added on time, Carlton Morris cut the ball back for Ali Crawford on the edge of the penalty area. Just as he was about strike, Paul Paton slid in and sent the Accies midfielder airborne. Crawford attempted to put the ball over the wall toward the left hand post, but it took a slight deflection and went a couple of feet wide.

Accies threatened first after the break. Gramoz Kurtaj raced inside from the touchline and touched on for Grant Gillespie to fire wide from 25 yards. Then it was United’s turn when Billy McKay shot from just inside the penalty area, but Mikey Devlin was on hand to block. Minutes later, Simon Murray shot high and wide from inside the penalty area.

Coll Donaldson then kept the pressure on the Hamilton defence when he made a run from wide into the Accies penalty area. Fortunately instead of capitalising on his position, he decided to take a tumble without a challenge being made. United continued to press, Dow slipped the ball through for Murray inside the penalty area, a last ditch Ziggy Gordon tackle saved the day though.

From the corner, the ball was sent to the near post, headed on toward the back post for Gavin Gunning to shoot high. Accies then had the ball in the back of the net, after Dougie Imrie dinked the ball over the heads of the United defence. Kurtaj met and shot, Kawashima saved, then Gramoz battered into the roof of the net. Only for assistant referee Kylie McMullan to be spotted with an already raised offside flag.

Then dramatically on the 84th minute, Accies had a chance to break the deadlock after being awarded a penalty kick. Dougie Imrie made a surging run to the bye line but was brought down by a challenge from Paul Paton. Ali Crawford ran up and struck low and to the centre, Eiji Kawashima went right but his trailing foot deflected the ball away from goal.

At the other end of the field, United searched for a late winner after their unexpected life line. With the Hamilton defence having to scramble the ball away from goal on a couple of occasions. The drama hadn’t quite ended when Accies suffered a blow in 90+2’. Mikey Devlin was shown a second yellow, and we were reduced to ten men.

Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards “I would rather have had all three points, I think there wasn’t a lot in the game and I think it was a bit of a towsy match, you can see what’s at stake at this stage of the season. I thought for us it was pleasing yet again, as that’s our fourth clean sheet in five which is a positive. But I think to miss a penalty so late in the game, feels like we have lost and that’s a feeling that I’m trying to get out of the dressing room just now.

“Like I say we have kept a clean sheet, there wasn’t a lot in the game either way, and we had the one big chance that we’ve spoken of before. Whether it’s a set piece or it’s somebody going through, a penalty whatever it is, if it wins you the game it would have been nice to take the three points.”

When asked about the late penalty miss, Martin said “I’ll never attach blame to anyone for taking a penalty and missing it, that’s part of football, and Ali’s won games this season and he’ll win us games going forward in the future. That’s just part of football, it’s a team game and it’s ironic that a defender can make a mistake that costs a goal and cost you points. Ali obviously misses the penalty and that’s unfortunate at that end of the pitch, but as I say, a goalkeeper or defender can make a mistake too. It’s just part of football and it happens, but it’s disappointing none the less as the boys put so much in, and if we’d taken the points it would have been a big three points for us.”

Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Devlin, Gillespie (Docherty 82), Imrie, Crawford, Kurtaj (Canning 90+2), Morris (D’Acol 65), Lyon, Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Diaby, Brophy, Mandiangu.

Cautions: Devlin, two yellows and sent off.

United: Kawashima, Dillon, Paton, McKay, Rankin, Dow (Fraser 77), Murray (Ofere 77), Gunning (Durnan 77), Spittal, Donaldson, Demel. Subs Unused: Zwick, Dixon, Knoyle, Sinama-Pongolle.

Referee: Steven McLean Assistants: Kylie McMullan & Gordon Crawford 4th Official: Mat Northcroft.

Attendance: 3902



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