Accies media reporter Martin McConnell reports on a well earned draw on Saturday at Rugby Park..
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Saturday 27th October 2018 at 3pm
Kilmarnock 1 Hamilton Academical 1
We remain ninth after a well deserved point from a 1-1 draw away at Rugby Park. That leaves Accies with seven points and two clear of Motherwell in tenth, three ahead of St. Mirren and four from Dundee.
For the most part, the first 45 minutes of the match were unremarkable and nondescript, that is until each side scored a pretty decent goal towards the end of the half. It was Accies that opened scoring when Imrie headed in from a Keatings delivery, but the lead lasted all of ten minutes when McKenzie struck low past Woods with a minute of time left.
The second half was competitive enough in the centre of the park but Accies certainly edged it in terms of chances, with Brustad having an effort saved and Keatings missing a golden opportunity to put Accies ahead. Then, with the match in to injury time, Steven Boyd was sent off when he received a second caution after coming on less than 20 minutes earlier
Accies boss Martin Canning said, “I said after the game against Rangers that our performance level dictates what we take from games, we were unfortunate last week and some decisions didn’t go our way. Today we came down to a place that you guys told me, Kilmarnock would be top of the league if you’re taking it from the calendar year in terms of points.
That tells you that they’re a good side and doing a lot of things right. We knew it would be difficult to come down here and take points but we believed we could, and were maybe a little bit unfortunate not to win the game again with Keatsy’s chance. But the form that Kilmarnock are in, there’s no guarantee that you’d come away with the win.”
We made two changes to the side that lost to Rangers on Sunday, with Matt Kilgallon and James Keatings coming in for Scott McMann and Alex Penny. Likewise, Kilmarnock also made a couple of changes too, with Boyd replacing Broadfoot and McKenzie in for Burke.
The match burned on a slow fuse with neither side able to make an impression until ex Accie Eamonn Brophy hooked wide in the 12th minute. Accies fans didn’t wait long for their side to contribute after being awarded a free kick deep inside Killie territory. Keatings delivered to the back post were Tshibola forced a save from MacDonald under pressure from McGowan.
With half an hour played, Woods saved comfortably from a McKenzie shot from the edge of the 18 yard line despite the unexpected bounce. A few moments later and Accies had a free kick in a dangerous area when Taylor brought down Mickel Miller.
James Keatings swung the ball low into empty space at the near post, evading his marker, Dougie Imrie made the run in and ducked low enough to head across goal past MacDonald and in at the back post.
Accies looked as if they’d take the lead in to the break but fortune conspired against them when Kilmarnock pulled level with a minute left to play. MacDonald booted a free kick up field where the ball was switched from left to right. McKenzie cut the ball inside for Stewart on the edge of the box, got it back then drove the ball low past Woods.
Hamilton started well and went close to taking the lead a few minutes in to the second half when Miller stole the ball from Taylor, played through for Brustad who then had his shot saved from wide.
The ensuing corner was cleared, but only as far as Scott Martin who was able to slide in to a challenge and send the ball inside the penalty area for Imrie. He brought the ball under control, turned and struck the ball low across the six yard box where Keatings struck wide of the back post from a couple of yards out.
With the match into injury time, Imrie struck the ball high in to the corner of the Kilmarnock box, Miller headed down for Bingham to strike. The shot was a little tame and MacDonald gathered. The drama however was far from over, when Boyd was given a second caution and marching orders for a late challenge on Scott Boyd.
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Taylor, Findlay, S Boyd, O’Donnell, Enobakhare, Power (Dicker 76), Tshibola, McKenzie (Byrne 64), Brophy (K Boyd 63), Stewart. Subs Unused: Mackey, Ndjoli, Wilson, Burke.
Goal: McKenzie 44.
Cautions: Tshibola, Byrne.
Accies: Woods, McGowan, Gordon, Tshiembe, Kilgallon, Imrie, Keatings (Boyd 73), Miller, MacKinnon (c), Martin, Brustad (Bingham 64). Subs Unused: Fulton, McMann, Penny, Want, L Smith.
Goal: Imrie 34.
Cautions: Imrie, MacKinnon, Martin, Boyd
Red Card Boyd, second yellow
Referee: Euan Anderson. Assistants: Sean Carr & Daniel MacFarlane. 4th Official: Craig Thompson.