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Match Report Vs Ross County

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Ladbrokes Premiership,

Victoria Park, Dingwall.

Saturday 20th February 2016.

Ross County 2 Hamilton Academical 1

Hamilton walked away with nothing, from a match which we dominated for the best part of 60 minutes. We were caught out from a header from Alex Schalk, in added on time at end of first half, then with mere seconds of the second half gone, Jamie Reckord brought Dougie Imrie down as he made a run on goal and was shown a straight red.

Accies piled the pressure on the buckling Staggies defence, and it wasn’t long before Dougie Imrie equalised with his head. Hamilton didn’t let up in their quest for a winner, but it just wasn’t their day when County scored from a free kick. Ian McShane struck the set piece perfectly beyond the keeper’s reach and into the corner of the net. Accies just couldn’t find a reply as the match fizzled out.

Accies manager Martin Canning named only two changes to the side that drew with Dundee United at NDP. With Darian MacKinnon and Jesus Garcia Tena both back from suspension, they returned to replace Grant Gillespie and Mikey Devlin (who was suspended). County manager Jim McIntyre named three changes to his side. With Davies, Schalk and Reckford, in for Fraser, Robertson, and Franks.

Both sides struggled to adapt to a pitch that was very heavy underfoot, especially as the conditions continued to deteriorate under a torrential downpour. With ball after ball being struck way too long by both sets of players. Ian McShane was first to attempt a strike on goal. When he shot high over the Hamilton cross bar from 22 yards, with 17 minutes on the clock.

It was another eight minutes before Michael Gardyne shot hard and low from way out on the left, the tricky shot was gathered by Michael McGovern. That was followed at the other end by a Dougie Imrie attempt from 25 yards. Both sets of players were beginning to look a little more comfortable on the ball, and it showed in the game.

County created a great opportunity to take the lead, when Jackson Irvine struck a slide rule pass wide to Alex Schalk. The Dutchman passed inside for Liam Boyce, whose 15 yards strike was saved brilliantly by McGovern. The ball was cleared from immediate danger, but found its way out to McShane who shot wide from 18 yards.

The last 15 minutes of the half, saw the match swing Accies way. Ali Crawford made a run deep into the County half, before unleashing wide from distance. Then a Darren Lyon cross drifted a bit too close for Staggies keeper Scott Fox, and had to make a last ditch save over the cross bar. Kurtaj struck wide, then a low cross into the County six yard box, was sent inches wide by a Staggies defender.

Accies were getting closer to opening their account, as a Kurtaj cross was cleared from the line before finding its way out to Crawford, but he shot wide as Fox lay on the ground. With all the hard work done and only seconds remaining of the first half, Ross County took the lead. An Andrew Davies ball was met by the head of Alex Schalk and sailed beyond the grasp of Michael McGovern. It was the first goal we had conceded in 316 minutes.

With seconds of the restart, County went down to ten men. Crawford threaded the ball into space for Imrie to chase, but Jamie Reckford had other ideas and brought the Accies man down. The referee immediately reached into his pocket and produced a red card. Then from a Ziggy Gordon cross, Lucas Tagliapietra headed on goal. Richard Foster blocked on the goal line and Fox was able to smother.

In a fantastic move from Accies, Crawford slipped the ball into the penalty area for Kurtaj to cross in for Darian MacKinnon. He struck from ten yards, and only a magnificent save from Scott Fox, who was with Accies at u11s, kept his side in front. We threw everything at the home side, with Morris shooting inches past the post from just inside the penalty area.

Then from out of nowhere, Accies finally equalised. When a deep cross into the penalty area from Gramoz Kurtaj, was met at the other end by the head of Dougie Imrie. The ball was headed back across the County goal and beyond the reach of the helpless keeper. As Accies chased the winner, Oumar Diaby was brought on to replace Carlton Morris up front and make his Accies debut.

A pass inside from Kurtaj was met by the foot of Ali Crawford, and smashed a foot wide of the post from 25 yards. After having been put through the wringer by Hamilton, County were awarded a contentious free kick 20 yards from the Accies goal whilst on a rare trip out of their half. Ian McShane curled the ball over the wall, beyond Michael McGovern and into the corner of the net for the win.

A disappointed Martin Canning said afterwards “I think we should have won the game and in the second half we were excellent and I said that to the players. I can’t fault them, and when they walked in afterwards, you could see that their heads were down and rightly so when they’ve just lost the game. But you’ve got to try and pick them up because they didn’t deserve that today, it was really harsh on them. I thought we created numerous opportunities and worst of all, I’ve seen it back and the free kick wasn’t a free kick which makes it even worse.”

“I think we battled hard in the conditions and the pitch was poor. We knew it was going to be a scrappy game, in the first half I thought there was nothing in it and they obviously scored a goal from a set piece. In the second half, Dougie does great to try and get through on goal, but was brought down and it was a red card. From there, only one team in my opinion was going to win the game, we did everything but win the game and created chance after chance, had a couple of scrambles in the box as well. As I say, how we lost that I don’t know.”

“I said to the boys in there, I have absolutely no interest in where this puts us in the league, I don’t even know the other results because it’s all about what we do. It’s about us making sure that we get enough results so that we stay in the league, so I’m not even looking at that. Today is disappointing from that point of view as it would have been a good three points to get, but we’ve just got to dust ourselves down and go again.”

Ross County: Fox, Gardyne (Murdoch 51), Irvine, Davies, Schalk (Robertson 61), M Woods, Foster, Boyce (Goodwillie 86), Reckord, Quinn, McShane.Subs Unused: G Woods, De Vita, Franks, Graham.

Goals: Schalk 45+1, McShane 77.

Cautions: Davies, Quinn

Red Card: Reckford

Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Imrie, Crawford, Kurtaj (Docherty 85), Morris (Diaby 69), MacKinnon, Lyon (D’Acol 57), Garcia Tena, Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Gillespie, Brophy, Mandiangu.

Goals: Imrie 65.

Cautions: Garcia Tena, Kurakins.

Referee: Greg Aitken. Assistants: Frankie Connor & Jordan Stokoe. 4th Official: Prof. John McKendrick.

Attendance: 3059.

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