Accies media reporter Mark Gillespie with his report from Saturday’s derby defeat…
New Douglas Park,Foys Stadium,
Saturday 24thAugust 2019, at 3pm
Hamilton Academical 1 Motherwell 3
Going two goals and a man down after just 21 minutes made it a tall order to salvage anything on what was to be a disappointing derby afternoon. Peter Hartley’s header already had Accies on the back foot, before 17 year old Jamie Hamilton was dismissed for deliberate handball in the box. Liam Donnelly stroked home the resulting penalty to give us an uphill struggle.
Despite Ross Cunningham striking back immediately from the spot with his fifth strike of the season, we just never looked like taking anything from the game. Chris Long’s early second half strike made sure of Well’s first three points of the campaign to move them up to seventh spot.
Brian Rice had no complaints about the result but wants to see more clarity over the new handball rules.
“We were up against it for 70 minutes, but I’m not here to make excuses or blame referees. Motherwell were the better team, eleven v ten.”, he said post-match.
“We’re all in the same boat with the new rules, the players, coaches and officials. I don’t know what was wrong with football before the changes. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but to me we’re taking the game away from the people.”
“The ref’s called the handball as he’s seen it and I thought he had a good game overall. Young Jamie will be fine, and we move on to Tynecastle next week.”
The manager named a very youthful Accies line up, with an average age of 22. George Stanger got his Accies debut in the only change from Rugby Park last week, starting in place of the injured Scott McMann.
Motherwell’s two switches from last weekend were to make a goal scoring impact. Hartley returned in place of the injured Tait, with Long starting up front in place of Hylton.
The warning signs came early as the visitors posed all the early danger. A first sight of goal came on five minutes as Seedorf burst through the heart of the Accies defence, but Fon Williams parried to safety.
They posed danger at set pieces, with Polworth and Hartley glancing free headers wide inside 15 minutes. But Hartley took his second chance to open the scoring, nodding home a Polworth cross from the right touchline in the 16th minute.
It went from bad to worse as they doubled their advantage on 21 minutes from the spot. Campbell set up Scott inside the Accies box with Hamilton adjudged to have stopped a goal with his upper arm. Fon Williams guessed right but couldn’t get down to Donnelly’s spot kick, down to his right.
We hadn’t offered anything as an attacking force, but were right back in the game almost immediately. Handball was awarded against Hartley in his own box and Cunningham gave us fresh hope from spot on 23 minutes. It was his 5th goal of the season, but his first league goal for Accies.
It was to prove Accies only shot on target though as the visitors continued to dominate possession, we reshuffled and reorganised, as our opponents exploited the space and the extra man. Half time came as a welcome respite, just a goal down and with a chance to regroup.
But the visitors emerged to control the second half, and Long put any doubts to rest with an angled strike through a crowded box on 50 minutes.
Despite positive Accies attacking changes, with the introduction of Miller and Ogkmpoe, it was to be very quiet afternoon for the Motherwell ‘keeper. Instead it was the visitors who came closer to extending their lead late on. Long came close again with a shot from a tight angle deflected just wide.
Sub Jermaine Hylton passed up another great chance to rub salt in Accies wounds, clean through but denied by Fon Williams.
Accies: Fon Williams, McGowan, Collar, Oakley (Ogkmpoe, 59), Gogic, Cunningham (Miller, 45), MacKinnon (c), Stubbs, Stanger, L Smith, Hamilton; Subs Unused: Southwood, Fjortoft, Hughes, Moyo, Mimnaugh
Goals: Cunningham (pen), 23
Sent Off: Hamilton, 21
Motherwell: Gillespie, Grimshaw, Hartley, Gallagher, Dunne, Campbell, Polworth (Maguire,88 ), Donnelly, Scott (Cole, 67), Seedorf, (Hylton, 55),Long;Subs Unused:Carson, Ilic, Livingstone, Semple
Goals:Hartley, 16, Donnelly (pen), 21, Long, 50
Cautions: Donnelly, 88
Referee: Andy Dallas, Assistants: Graeme Stewart and Andy Milne; Fourth Official: Craig Napier