Accies web media reporter Mark Gillespie with his take on Saturday’s derby day victory at Fir Park
Fir Park, Motherwell
Saturday 11th August 2018 at 3pm.
Motherwell 0 Hamilton Academical 1
A wonderstrike from 21 year old Steven Boyd was enough to secure the local bragging rights and the all important three points to get us off the mark in this season’s Premiership. This lacklustre game was crying out for just that moment of magic as Accies turned to the bench on 66 minutes. And it duly arrived.
On came Ross Cunningham to take a free kick, which rebounded off the wall for his fellow sub to volley home from 20 yards and stun the home support, and send ours into loud cheers and celebrations.
We could have finished ‘Well off with a few late opportunities, but winning that little bit ugly and with a clean sheet all added up to a very satisfying afternoon for boss Martin Canning
“We spoke all week about the importance of defending our box, winning that first ball. We’ve defended properly and resolutely. Motherwell are one of those teams who make you defend, and if you don’t do it they beat you.”
“It’s nice when a double substitution like that works. I told them both to relax and go and play. There was no pressure as we hadn’t been doing anything going forward.”
“Boydy’s got so much magic in him, and Ross had two good chances late on. He’s made great progress over the summer and he’s now at the forefront of my mind if I want to make a change and get an impact.”
”I’d still like to add another two or three to the squad. But we’ve got good young boys coming through still. If we can add that bit of experience and get that balance right we can hopefully look forward to a good season”
Both sides were desperate to bounce back from opening day defeats. We made two changes from last weekend. Aaron McGowan got his league debut in a reshuffled back line, with Tom Taiwo replacing Dougie Imrie in midfield, who dropped to the bench. Darren Lyon has since departed.
The hosts meanwhile made three switches from defeat at Easter Road, with Aldred, Campbell and Bigirimana starting in place of Donnelly, Taylor and Grimshaw.
It was to be a largely forgettable first half. ‘Well perhaps shaded things with a couple of openings in a very scrappy encounter. The chance of the half fell to Bigirimana on 16 minutes, Cadden picking him out in the box for a close range header. But Gary Woods was equal to it with an instinctive stop down to his right.
Otherwise this was a tough watch, one paced, and with the ball spending a lot of time in the air on a perfect playing surface. Both sides struggled to find the quality and string some passes together. We hadn’t done much in an attacking sense, whilst defending resolutely enough as a unit.
‘Well looked to try and up the tempo as the second half began, and Main should have found the target one minute in, picked out by Tait in the box, but the striker could only push wide.
Bigirimana then forced Woods into action a minute later, his set piece pushed away by the Accies keeper and cleared by the defence.
But after some increased urgency from the home side, things seemed to settling back into that first half pattern. Main again snapped at a half chance on 57 minutes, shooting at the side netting from a tight angle, when a cut back looked the wiser ball.
We had soaked it up, without offering much at the other end until that miracle double switch on 66 minutes. Accies had finally strung a good move together as Bingham and Miller linked up to win a free kick on the edge of the box. Miller was replaced before the kick could be taken and Cunningham’s effort rebounded off the wall and fell for Boyd to volley home from 20 yards with his first touch of the ball.
‘Well flung numbers forward to no avail as Accies defended the high balls well. Space was opening up as the hosts took some risks, and Cunningham might have put us out of sight on 74 minutes, picked out by Bingham but only flashing over Carson’s bar.
Another golden chance arrived in injury time as Taiwo laid the ball on a plate for Cunningham, but with the goal gaping, he could only strike the outside of the post.
Motherwell: Carson, Tait (Frear, 64) McHugh, Aldred, Hartley, Cadden, Campbell (Johnson, 64), Main, Rose (Rodriguez-Gorrin, 77), Bigirimana, Sammon; Subs Unused: Gillespie, Taylor-Sinclair, Maguire, Scott
Cautions: Sammon, Hartley
Accies: Woods, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Bingham, Miller (Cunningham, 66), Taiwo, Penny (Tsthiembe, 74) MacKinnon (c), Want, Kelly (Boyd, 66); Subs Unused: Fulton, Philips, Imrie, Bloomfield
Goals: Boyd, 67
Cautions: Want, MacKinnon, Woods
Referee: Nick Walsh Assistants: Graham Chambers and Joe Lawson 4th Official: Greg Aitken
Attendance: 4,807 (390 Accies)