New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Wednesday 30th December 2015
Hamilton Academical 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4
An injury time wonder strike was enough to deny Accies a share of the spoils, after a battling second half performance saw them get back onto level terms after having been 0-2 down. Accies started brightly, but heads went down after Greg Tansey scored a fantastic free kick against the run of play.
Thistle’s lead doubled when Liam Polworth struck home from 20 yards, a devastating blow that Accies didn’t look likely to recover from. Carlton Morris’s second half appearance had a positive effect and an immediate impact when he got one back, Ziggy Gordon then equalised on 80 minutes.
Thistle took the lead again thanks to another Tansey free kick, before Christian Nade pulled Accies level for a second time. The match had entered into the second minute of injury time, when out of nowhere Polworth stole all three with another twenty yard strike. Three goals in the closing minutes!
Manager Martin Canning made only the one change to the starting XI, with Eamonn Brophy replacing Carlton Morris up front. Thistle boss John Hughes, was able to name the same line up that drew 2-2 with second placed Aberdeen on Boxing Day.
Accies began well and passed the ball about nicely at times, but still without the cutting edge that has been sorely missed of late. Ali Crawford had the first attempt on goal from a Lucas Tagliapietra ball to the back post, but could only volley over.
Ross Draper then intercepted a loose Accies ball and sent forward for Miles Storey to run in one on one with Michael McGovern, with four Accies defenders closely giving chase. He struck from 18 yards but McGovern remained calm and closed the gap to save with an outstretched foot.
Then the opener came against the run of play, ICT were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Tansey’s ferocious strike flew past the wall and straight into the net, the power and speed more than enough to leave McGovern with no chance, 0-1.
The second Thistle goal was equally spectacular, with Hamilton looking lost, the ball was played deep down the right hand side for Polworth. He ran toward goal just behind the retreating Accies defence, and without a challenge, unleashed from 20 yards, 0-2.
Martin Canning felt forced to change things up front, with Carlton Morris coming on just short of the hour mark. We went close after Jesus Garcia Tena played Crawford in with a great ball forward, but his 15 yard strike was brilliantly saved by Williams.
This seemed to spark some defiance, and within moments, Morris had volleyed in from the edge of the six yard box, 1-2. Accies were back in the game and with ten minutes left, were awarded a free kick. Crawford sent into the penalty area and Gordon headed into the corner of the net, 2-2.
With less than two minutes of time left, a free kick was given away on the edge of the penalty area, Tansey stepped up and curled his second into the top left hand corner, 2-3. Within the minute, Hamilton had gone upfield and won a corner kick. Crawford sent in, the ball came off a defender and Nade headed over the line, 3-3.
No one could quite believe what they were witnessing, the difference in the Hamilton performance was night and day. Then as both sets of fans had come to terms with a share of the points, the ball was played forward to Polworth just outside the penalty area. With the last touch of the match, the ball was sent sailing into the top left corner, 3-4.
Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards “I’ve said time and time again, when things aren’t going for you, last week it was a miss hit that bounced over Michael. At 2-0 you can say we weren’t in the game, we hadn’t done enough and you could say we lacked belief, I think we needed a wee spark that would give the boys that belief back. We get the goal and it goes 2-1 and I thought we we’re excellent, from there we are in the ascendancy and probably looking to go on and win the game.
“I’m so disappointed for the boys, because they’ve put in so much effort in the second half, it would have been easy for a lesser group to have chucked it at 2-0 and not tried to get back into the game, not do the right things and continue to work hard. That’s not the case, they’re such a good bunch, they put in so much and I’m gutted that they didn’t get anything out of it.
“I’ve never been involved in anything like that even as a player, I don’t remember ever having a low like that, when that goal goes in. But that’s football, when things aren’t going your way, you can’t feel sorry for yourselves. We’ve got a big match on Saturday and we’ve got to bounce back and go and get a win on Saturday.
Two of the goals are free kicks when you look at them, the first one moves in the air as Michael tries to save it. The third goes into the top corner and there’s not a lot you can do to stop it, the fourth is the same and into the corner.”
Hamilton defender Ziggy Gordon reflected, “I’ve never played in a game that has had so many ups and downs that’s for sure, to go 2-0 down possibly against the run of play, particularly the first goal and then to come back into the game, not once, not twice but three times, it’s sickening to be honest. I’ve been in four, five and six nil defeats in my career and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as low as that one.
“You can only hope that our luck goes in a circle and if that’s the case, then we have a lot of luck coming. That’s what we will always believe and you can always say that you create your own luck, but everyone can see how hard we worked and we just don’t seem to get the run of the ball at all.
“It’s been a bad run, it’s four defeats in a row and it never looks good but we’ll take the positives out of it, we’ve come back into the game three times and were beaten by the last kick of the ball, from 25 yards into the top corner. What as a team do you really want to do about that, it’s a bit of talent that the boy’s got.
“We will approach the derby like we do every other game, and that is to win the match first and foremost. It’s no different, we’re not going to go into our shells and think that luck isn’t on our side and what are we going to do, nothing like that. It will be pedal to the metal and we’ll go all the way.”
Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Gillespie, Imrie (Redmond 90), Crawford, Longridge (Morris 58 ), MacKinnon, Brophy (Nade 75), Garcia Tena, Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Sendles-White, Docherty, Boyd.
Goals: Morris 65, Gordon 80, Nade 89.
Cautions: Gillespie, Imrie.
Inverness: Williams, Raven, Tremarco, Vincent, Warren, Draper, Devine, Wedderburn (Williams 87), Tansey, Polworth, Storey. Subs Unused: Esson, Lopez, Roberts, Sho-Silva, Vigurs, Mutombo.
Goals: Tansey 17, 88, Polworth 50, 90+3.
Cautions: Draper, Raven, Tansey.
Referee: Euan Anderson Assistants: Alan Mulvanny & Alasdair Ross 4th Official: John Beaton