We lost to a 3rd minute peach of a strike by Livingston’s Steven Lawless in this Ladbrokes Premiership encounter at Almondvale on Saturday afternoon.
Chances were few throughout the game, which saw debuts for Matt Kilgallon, Scott Martin and Fredrik Brustad, while James Keatings came on as sub for his first game back in his second spell, which was his 46th appearance for us.
Dougie Imrie’s first half sub appearance brought him up to 250 as an Accie.
Accies website reporter Mark Gillespie reports on the game…
at the Toni Macaroni Stadium, Almondvale, Livingston
Saturday 15th September 2018 at 3.00 pm
Livingston 1 Hamilton Academical 0
An early candidate for goal of the season was enough to lift the hosts to third spot in the table, as we now drop the other way to second bottom. Stevie Lawless’s strike came in just the third minute, but Accies struggled for the remainder to find a way back into the game.
Martin Canning got exactly what he expected from hard working, well organised opponents, but was frustrated at his own side’s failure to rise to the challenge on the day.
“We lacked that spark in the final third. Too many times the ball up isn’t good enough. Ultimately we’ve lost the game to a fantastic finish. But I think in terms of performance we didn’t do enough to get something from the game.”
“Our boys are good football players, but we need to take the ball in better than we did today. The Livi strikers did that really well in the first half, and it allowed them to get up the park and be an attacking threat.”
“As much as I’m disappointed by our performance, you have to give credit to Livi. They make it hard for teams to play against them. It’s not an easy place to come and play. Today’s performance shows why they are in the premier league. For us, we dust ourselves down and go again next week.”
Canning gave three players their debuts in a changed line up from a fortnight ago. Kilgallon, Martin and Brustad got their first taste of the action in place of Taiwo, Want and Boyd. Sowah returned to the side, with McGowan on the bench.
The hosts meanwhile stuck with a winning formula, as Gary Holt named the same eleven who defeated Hibernian a fortnight ago, as we made our first trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena in four seasons.
And Livi had their dream start in just 3 minutes, as Lawless brought down a Jacobs free kick on the edge of the box, to fire an unstoppable left foot shot into Woods’s top corner from 25 yards.
The hosts kept their foot on the gas with Accies continuing to live dangerously. There was a narrow escape as Robinson pounced on a loose Sowah pass to get into the box. Appeals for a penalty were waved away as the Accies man did just enough to make amends with a last ditch challenge.
We were struggling to keep possession of the ball, with ex Accies youth player Scott Pittman starting to run the midfield for the hosts. Meanwhile Menga always looked a threat with some dangerous runs in behind the Accies rearguard.
Lawless looked in the mood for more after his spectacular opener, flashing a near post header just wide on 31 minutes, with another effort from the edge of the box held by Woods.
A Menga effort flashed just wide from the angle of the box on 38 minutes, in a very strong first half for the home side. Accies hadn’t been able to create anything meaningful at the other end, with Brustad and Bingham looking isolated up front.
Half time came as a respite as we escaped just a goal in arrears. But Accies were almost caught napping again at the start of the second half, as Jacobs picked out Gallagher on the box to head off the inside of Woods’ post.
Menga should then have finished things on 53 minutes, Lamie nodding him into space six yards out, but he could only pull his shot wide.
Livi hadn’t pressed home their advantage, and Accies saw some more possession in the final third in the closing half hour. But a solid defensive line soaked it up and Accies just couldn’t capitalise on a few set piece opportunities to come our way.
Late shouts for Accies penalties were waved away firstly as Imrie went down in the box, as he ran down the left on 84 minutes. The ball then seemed to come off Halkett’s arm from a Gordon cross 3 minutes later, but it was adjudged to have not been deliberate.
All in all, an afternoon to forget as Accies now target better performances and points from back to back home ties with the other sides who make up the bottom three.
Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Lithgow, Halkett, Byrne, Jacobs, Pittman, Lawless (Lawson, 66),Menga (Burns, 89), Robinson (Hardie, 75);Subs: Stewart, Cadden, Hamilton, Kaja
Accies: Woods, McMann (Imrie 32), Gordon, Tshiembe, Kilgallon, Bingham, Miller, MacKinnon (c), Martin, Brustad (Boyd 66), Sowah (Keatings 83). Unused subs – McGowan, Taiwo, Want, Fulton
Referee: AlanMuir, Assistants: Alastair Mather, Mark McLean Fourth Official:Craig Thomson
Livingston Goal : Lawless, 3′
Livingston Bookings : Gallagher, Halkett
Accies Bookings :Bingham, MacKinnon
Att 1342 (255 Accies)