New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Saturday 5th March 2016.
Hamilton Academical 0 Motherwell 1
Motherwell moved five points clear of us and into 7th place, after their first victory at NDP since May 2009. At the end of a first half that saw both sides squander a load of chances, Motherwell took the lead on forty five minutes. Louis Laing picked up the second ball from a corner kick and struck home from six yards. Accies had the better of the chances by far in the first half.
The second half saw the visitors have more chances and possession. Motherwell had a chance to seal the win with a penalty kick in the 80th minute, but McGovern saved from Moult. Martin Canning named the same starting XI that earned a point against Celtic the week before.
After an uninspiring opening 20 minutes in which we had three players booked and Scott McDonald strike wide from a free kick, the visitors were first to create an opening. Chris Cadden picked up the ball wide on the right and somehow managed to sneak past Antons Kurakins on the bye line. His cross found McDonald but his shot was blocked by Ziggy Gordon.
Accies raced straight up the park, winning a corner kick. Ali Crawford crossed to the back post for Mikey Devlin, who out jumped the Well defence and headed off the base of the post. A second chance soon followed, when Carlton Morris teed up for a Dougie Imrie shot on the edge of the penalty area. Imrie’s shot was a tad high and sailed a foot high of the cross bar.
Hamilton had a great chance to go in front on 32 minutes, after moving the ball down the right hand side. Kurakins rolled the ball forward for Imrie, who then struck inches wide of the far post. Imrie’s pressing paid off when he picked up a loose pass in the Motherwell half, the ball found its way across to Gramoz Kurtaj who shot wide from 15 yards.
Motherwell then produced a good chance against the run of play, when Stephen Pearson scuffed a shot low on goal, forcing a fine save from Michael McGovern. From the corner the ball was headed over by an Accies head. The second corner went straight to the back post, McDonald struck from close range but Darian MacKinnon threw himself into make the block.
Chance after chance were being created by both sides, Kurtaj shot wide from 15 yards and then Crawford dinked the ball into the Motherwell penalty area for the German midfielder. Kurtaj was facing away from goal and had a defender on his back, but was still able to head on goal and force a save from Connor Ripley.
After a whole host of chances from both these rivals, it was Motherwell that took the lead on the stroke of half time. An in swinging corner was headed on goal from close range by Louis Moult, the ball was blocked just in front of the line and rolled out to Louis Laing. He bettered the ball from six yards and it flew high into the top of the net.
Motherwell threatened the Accies goal straight from kick off, when Cadden went down the right and crossed deep to the back post. Marvin Johnson bombed in and headed over the bar from six yards. Louis Laing then picked up a loose ball and sent inside to set up a race between McDonald and McGovern, fortunately the Accies keeper was quicker off the blocks and gathered at the Aussies feet.
Motherwell created another decent chance when Hammell sent the ball wide into space for Johnson, he crossed low and hard across the goal mouth. The pace beat everyone and the ball over shot, McDonald gathered, turned and shot into the side netting from twelve yards. On 72 minutes, Carlton Morris struck a 25 yard free kick over the Motherwell goal.
Then in a controversial moment, Chris Cadden went down under an apparent challenge from Michael McGovern and the referee awarded a penalty kick. Louis Moult stepped up and struck low to the left, but McGovern got across his goal mouth to touch round the post for a corner kick. A late Accies free kick was headed on goal by Eamonn Brophy, but the Well keeper saved.
Accies Manager Martin Canning said afterwards, “It was a hard one to take as I thought we had the best opportunities in the first half. Dougie’s attempt on goal, Gramoz was through then Dougie was through again with Ali and Carlton supporting him and it didn’t look like we would score. It’s so frustrating as there is so little between the teams, so little in the games, that the first goal is so important. When you have the opportunities that we had to day and we don’t take it, we know at this level that you’re never going to dominate or have all the chances over the 90 minutes, so it’s crucial that you put your chances away and today it went for them.”
“If we were getting dominated and if we were getting battered from pillar to post, or we were doing something wrong. As you could see today that there wasn’t a lot wrong and we created the best chances, we should win the game and we don’t. It’s frustrating as everyone is trying as hard as they can to get the three points, the players and the staff, everybody, but putting the ball into the back of the net is the main part of the game. If you don’t put the ball into the back of the net it’s going to cost you and today it did.”
A gutted Darian MacKinnon said, “It’s a bad result for us and bad performance too, we didn’t play we’ll at all, and Motherwell fully deserved their win. We had three chances that I remember, Dougie clear with the head and should have put it away, it was against the run of play and could have changed it for us. I’d just asked the ref how long have we got to go and he said a minute, then after some criminal defending and we go and lose the goal and we’re put on the back foot.”
“We did try to play football but everything was long ball, it’s strange for us as we always try to play football and that’s the way we play, but I don’t know what happened, it’s just a really bad day at the office. “
“I thought that after we got the result against Celtic, usually you have a wee dip afterwards but I thought the derby was the one to come right back into it as it’s a good game to come into. None of us enjoyed that today and it feels like we got the run around for a lot of the game and I think their extra man in the middle killed us. The gaffer changed it and it still didn’t make much of a difference, I don’t know what happened.”
Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Devlin, Imrie, Crawford (Brophy 64), Kurtaj (Docherty 55), Morris, MacKinnon, Lyon (Diaby 83), Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Gillespie, D’Acol, Boyd.
Cautions: Gordon, Kurakins, Kurtaj, McGovern, Morris.
Motherwell: Ripley, Hammell, Laing, McManus, Pearson, Johnson, Lasley, Moult (Kennedy 87), Cadden, Hall, McDonald. Subs Unused: Samson, Ainsworth, McFadden, Fletcher, Law, Leitch.
Goals: Laing 44.
Referee: Kevin Clancy Assistants: Ross Haswell & Anthony Cooper 4th Official: Gavin Duncan.