We platyed the final game in our Betfred League Cup group stage on Saturday, and picked up the bonus point after the draw with Airdrieonians. Accies web reporter Martin McConnell gives us the details…

Betfred League Cup Group F

at The Hope CBD Stadium

Saturday 28th July 2018 at 3pm.

Hamilton Academical 1 Airdrieonians 1

(Accies secure bonus point after 3-0 penalty win.)

Although the match was effectively a dead rubber for Hamilton, a draw was still a disappointing end to the cup campaign. Airdrieonians scored a deserved equaliser with ten minutes of the game left which meant the sides were left to face a penalty shootout, which Hamilton won comfortably to secure the bonus point on offer after ‘keeper Gary Woods saved all three of the visitors spot kicks.

Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “Well, it was a mixed bag from us. I thought at times we looked good and at other times the intensity wasn’t quite there. Particularly in the first half, we weren’t as at it as we should have been. The second half, we spoke about it at half time and I thought we had a good second half. We weren’t creating enough and that’s a wee issue for us just now.

I think at the top end of the pitch we got in to some good areas, and maybe over hit a pass or under hit a pass or crossed when we should have shot or shot when we should have crossed it. I think the decision making at the top end wasn’t as good as it should have been, and I think the game would have been more comfortable in the second half if we had been more clinical.

We weren’t and were hit by their only attempt up the park in the second half which they score from. Which again, is about being clinical defensively and doing your job well. Overall obviously for us it’s disappointing as we would expect to win this game. But we know what we’ve got to do now in preparation for Saturday.”

We made a couple of changes to the side that started against Berwick Rangers midweek, with Gary Woods replacing Ryan Fulton and Rakish Bingham in for Mason Bloomfield. The Diamonds also made just the two changes to the side that beat Annan Athletic, with Kyle Wilkie and Dale Carrick replacing Miller and McIntosh.

The visitors had four ex Accies in their ranks in Kieran MacDonald, Jonathan Page, Kyle Wilkie and David Hutton, while Kieran Millar missed out through injury.

The fairly uneventful first half finished goal less despite a couple of decent chances from both sides. The pick of the bunch saw Rakish Bingham head a McMann cross on goal which the Airdrie keeper managed to save. However, Airdrie had the better of the efforts when Duffy shot fractionally wide of goal, followed moments later by Carrick striking the cross bar.

For the most part, the second half was much the same although Accies looked good on occasion whilst Airdrie rarely reached the last third. Bingham was able to finish off a nicely worked move on the hour which gave Accies a lead, but not for too long, when Portuguese striker Joao Victoria scored to send the tie to penalty kicks.

The match was only a couple of minutes old when Rakish Bingham headed on goal from a Scott McMann cross. Gallacher saved, the rebound flew back for Dougie Imrie to volley toward goal, but the effort was blocked before being cleared. A 25-yard Conroy free kick gave Woods a spot of bother almost 20 minutes later in an otherwise quiet start to the match.

Bingham was able to stretch a foot out to make contact with a Steven Boyd cross that was sent high and deep toward the Airdrie back post. Unfortunately, the ball was just a shade beyond his reach and he wasn’t able to direct any control or power that might have otherwise troubled Scott Gallacher in the visitors goal.

Darryl Duffy found himself with a good chance to put the visitors in front just short of the half hour when he shot low across goal and inches wide of theback post. But within the minute they went closer still when Dale Carrick headed off the underside of the Accies cross bar, before the ball was hurriedly cleared from the goal mouth.

Bingham then had a shot from distance saved, then minutes later produced a fantastic touch that took two Airdrie players out the game, allowing him to switch play with a perfectly struck ball across the pitch to Imrie inside the penalty area. The veteran midfielder cut the ball back nicely for Steven Boyd but his effort from outside the box was lifted a bit too high of the goal.

An action-packed opening few minutes to the second half saw plenty happen, unfortunately it wasn’t a taste of things to come. Lenny Sowah had to be helped from the field after sustaining an injury when he went in for a challenge, Carrick forced a great save from Gary Woods from distance and Adam Phillips curled a free kick a foot wide of the Airdrie post.

However, Hamilton were the ones to finally break the dead lock just after the hour, when Airdrie keeper Scott Gallacher’s miss kick found Steven Boyd inside the centre circle. The striker ran straight toward the Airdrie goal before picing out Mickel Miller inside the penalty area, a touch inside found Bingham and his strike beat the keeper from twelve yards.

With a win looking likely, Airdrie didn’t seem to have an equaliser in them as Accies looked for a second. That changed when Joao Victoria came on to strengthen the Airdrie resolve as the game entered its final stages. The change was immediate, and he made his presence count with a goal from wide. Airdrie now looked the likelier to steal a late winner and MacDonald almost did just that with a narrowly missed shot but the game was destined for a shootout.

Airdrie were first up when Woods saved from Conroy. Adam Phillips followed that with a confident strike that put Accies in front. Woods saved from Crighton before Sam Kelly put Hamilton two to the good. Woods then made it a hat trick of saves when he stopped Carrick’s strike with his outstretched foot, leaving it for Rakish Bingham to secure the point with a shot beyond the keeper’s reach.

Accies: Woods, McMann, Gordon, Phillips, Imrie (S Kelly 65), Bingham, Miller, MacKinnon (c), Want, Boyd (Lyon 86), Sowah (Penny 47). Subs Unused: Fulton, Taiwo, Cunningham, Bloomfield.

Goals: Bingham 61.

Airdrie: Gallacher, Robertson, MacDonald, Page (Victoria 80), Crighton, Wilkie (Cairns 66), Gallagher, Conroy, Duffy, Carrick, Edwards (O’Neil 45). Subs Unused: Hutton, Russell, McIntosh.

Goals: Victoria 82.

Cautions: Duffy, O’Neil.

Referee: Craig Thomson. Assistants: Drew Kirkland & Jordan Curran.

Attendance: 1316.