Accies media reporter Mark Gillespie with Saturday’s winning details…
Saturday 3rd November 2018 at 3pm
Hamilton Academical 1 Livingston 0
It all looked like petering out in the swirling rain, but sub Mason Bloomfield’s late strike turned a stalemate into a huge three points. We remain in 10th spot, but move six points clear of the bottom two. After a second straight loss in a week, Livi, meanwhile drop to 6th place.
For the third game running we had a player sent off late on, and with the dismissal of Mickel Miller we might have settled for a point. But the on loan Norwich man popped up a minute later, racing onto Steven Boyd’s through ball to net his first competitive goal for the club.
Martin Canning was delighted to grind out such a crucial victory, and see an end to a five game winless streak, as he gave his post match thoughts.
“Credit to big Mason. He’s not had many opportunities, but his attitude has been spot on. That’s a lesson today for everybody that regardless of where you’re at, if you work hard you get your opportunity. I’m pretty sure Mason will feel like a million dollars tonight and deservedly so.”
“Overall there wasn’t a lot in the game. It’s a great one to come out on top of. Livi do what they do really well. They make you defend your box, and we did that well today. I thought our midfielders picked up a lot of second balls. Where we could have improved was to counter better with those opportunities.”
“We missed Darian MacKinnon and Dougie Imrie for games like these. But, to still have enough in the tank to go and win this type of game is really great. Tom Taiwo’s not trained for a month, but has put himself forward with Darian and Dougie out. I thought he put in a really honest shift.”
Taiwo was one of two changes to the starting line up from midweek. James Keatings got his second start of the season, with Scott McMann dropping to the bench. Livi meanwhile made three switches to the side which lost in midweek, for what was already a third competitive meeting with Accies this season.
A swirling wind looked to be a big factor as the sides struggled to get the ball down and play in an untidy opening. Ricki Lamie almost brought things to life, with a half volley just wide of Gary Woods’ near post on 22 minutes.
Accies should have been in front a minute later, with Brustad clean through from a Martin through ball. Liam Kelly was quick off his line to make the stop. As the ball bounced clear Keatings then went down under a Halkett challenge, but the ref waved away the penalty appeals.
Livi had slightly the better of it in the run up to the break, winning a number of set pieces in promising positions, but Accies defended the high balls well in difficult conditions. Ziggy Gordon was to the rescue on 41 minutes, as Declan Gallagher, formerly in our youth set up, squared across a congested box from the left, but the Accies stopper was on hand to clear the danger.
We looked more at it as the second half began, trying to move the ball forward quicker. Miller always looked a threat with the ball at his feet, and he came close just two minutes in with a rasping effort just over from 25 yards from a Brustad lay off.
Former Accies youth player Steve Pittman should then have put Livi ahead on 50 minutes, as Sibbald put him through one on one with Woods, but the Accies ‘keeper stood up well to make the stop.
We remained content to play on the counter, with the defence looking solid and organised for the most part. There was just one blemish on 60 minutes, Tshiembe misjudging a pass outside his box, allowing sub Stevie Lawless to put Menga clean through on goal. As the crowd held its breath the shot fizzed just wide of Woods’ left hand post.
Accies almost broke the deadlock five minutes later, Aaron McGowan bursting onto a Gordon cross from the left, but Kelly got a fingertip to his effort to make the save.
This had carried the look of 0-0 about it for most of the second half, but everything changed in the closing minutes. Miller saw red for his second yellow on 85 minutes, and then one minute later two subs combined to give us a dramatic winner.
We mopped up a Livi attack, and on the quick counter Steven Boyd this time found the perfect through ball for Bloomfield to race clear and beat Kelly with a low shot into the corner.
Livi threw everything at it in response into the closing stages, with sub Burns rattling the Accies bar inside the box in injury time, but Accies hung on to secure what could come May be a very precious three points.
Accies: Woods, McGowan, Gordon, Tshiembe, Kilgallon (c), Bingham (Boyd, 65), Keatings, Miller, Taiwo (Penny, 72), Martin, Brustad (Bloomfield, 80). Subs Unused: Marsden, McMann, L Smith, Sowah
Livingston: Kelly, Lamie (Burns, 70), Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Byrne, Pittman, McMillan (Lawless, 53), Sibbald (Kaja, 69), Lawson, Menga; Subs Unused: Stewart, Jacobs, Robinson, Hamilton
Accies Goals:Bloomfield, 86
Accies Cautions: Taiwo, Gordon, Miller, Tshiembe
Red card: Miller, for 2nd yellow
Livingston Cautions: Lithgow, Burns, Menga
Referee: Alan Muir Assistants: Calum Spence & Gary Hilland 4th Official: David Dickinson