Martin McConnell reports from NDP on Tuesday’s goalless draw with newly promoted Livi in the group stage of the League Cup. The West Lothian side took the bonus point on the penalty shoot out.
Betfred Cup Group Stage
New Douglas Park
Tuesday 17th July 2018 at 7.45pm.
Hamilton Academical 0 Livingston 0
(Livingston win 6-5 on penalties).
We left themselves with the slimmest possibility of qualification for the knockout stages of the Betfred Cup, after losing out to Livingston on penalties after the match finished goalless in the 90 minutes. It now leaves Accies trailing leaders Annan by five points and second placed Livingston by four, whilst Airdrie and Berwick have yet to bag a point.
The game itself was a bit of a damp squib, and if truth be told, neither of the sides looked likely to score in the 90 minutes. The match was played at a lethargic pace as the sides tried to find their feet in a contest that had more than a touch of the preseason about it. When the sides next meet in the league they’ll surely play at a much higher tempo when there will be much more at stake. So, from that point of view, not too much can be read in to the result.
Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “In the first half I thought we were the better team without creating a lot of clear cut opportunities. I thought we moved the ball around well and looked sharp, maybe our decision making in the final third wasn’t quite as good, but I thought we looked comfortable in the game.
In the second half I thought we didn’t create as much. Livingston changed their shape after the break and matched us up. We weren’t good enough to go and break them down or to even create enough opportunities to hurt them. That being said, defensively it was a pretty safe game for us and we didn’t have a lot to do. We need to do better, and we know that.”
Hamilton made only one change to the side that lost 1-0 at Galabank on Saturday, with attacking midfielder Sam Kelly replacing Mason Bloomfield on his debut for the club. Visitors Livingston also made one change from the line-up that started against Airdrie, with Callum Crane in for Alan Lithgow.
Hamilton opened proceedings when Bingham dummied Lamie before crossing low in to the box, the ball being left for Imrie to shoot over the cross bar from outside the box. Accies were looking good on the ball and next up, Darian MacKinnon headed narrowly over the cross bar from an AaronMcGowan cross.
In answer, Livingston started to look lively for a spellwhen Gary Woods was forced in to saving from a Scott Robinson strike and out for a corner kick. The corner sailed high over towards the back postto be headed back across goal where Declan Gallagher pounced to head over the Hamilton goal.
Accies regained control for the remainder of the half, testing the Livingston defence without threatening Liam Kelly’s goal or really creating anything in the way of clear cut chances. McGowan heading wide from a McMann cross,then Bingham and Miller narrowly failing on separate occasions to get on the end of great balls in to the six-yard box by Sam Kelly.
The second half failed to spark at all for both sides, the first half chance fell to Livingston with 15 minutes to go when Gallagher headed straight at Woods. Then with a minute of time left, Livi almost stole the match when a Robinson shot took a fortunate deflection off Sibbald inside the penalty area before rolling just wide of the post.
With the shootout finely poised after the first six penalties all put away, Woods saved from Robinson. The next two hit the back of the net leaving MacKinnon the chance to take the glory but his shot went well over. Now in sudden death, Crane and Cunningham scored. Gallacher missed and McGowan’s was saved. McMillan scored, and Lyon had his strike saved.
Accies: Woods, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Imrie, Bingham, Miller (Cunningham 70), Taiwo (Lyon 85), Penny, MacKinnon (c), S Kelly. Subs Unused: Fulton, Phillips, A Smith, Want, Sowah.
Cautions: McMann, Imrie, Taiwo.
Livingston: Kelly, Lamie, Crane, Halkett, Gallagher, Byrne, Pittman, Robinson, Cadden (McMillan 72), L Miller (Hamilton 72), K Miller (Sibbald 82). Subs Unused: Stewart, Lithgow, Saunders, Knox.
Referee: John Beaton. Assistants: Paul O’Neill & Graham McNellie. 4th Official: Grant Irvine.