Accies website reporter Mark Gillespie with his take from the weekend win over Killie..
New Douglas Park,
Saturday 10th August 2019, 3pm
Hamilton Academical 2 Kilmarnock 0
Goals either side of the break by Lewis Smith and George Oakley secured the points and a first home league win over the Ayrshire side since April 2010.
Killie looked in the ascendancy but were stunned by Smith’s exquisite 20th minute opener. Oakley’s strike just after the interval came as another sucker punch. Ten man Accies spent long spells defending their box as the visitors threw everything at us. But despite Brian Easton’s dismissal early in the second half Killie were kept at bay by a resolute Accies defence.
One week on from the disappointment of Dingwall this was exactly the response Brian Rice demanded of his side.
“Last week we didn’t make Ross County work hard enough, but I think today you saw what Hamilton’s all about. We played for 35 minutes with 10 men and we’ve kept a clean sheet.”
“Lewis Smith is an exceptional young talent. I see it every day. He scored a fantastic goal and had a hand in the second. More pleasing for me was his work ethic off the ball, especially when we went down to 10 men. I try to give him as much confidence as I possibly can.”
“A word also for Owain Fon Williams. I knew what I was getting when I brought him here and I thought he was absolutely magnificent today. His baby girl’s been in hospital all week, but there was never any doubt he’d play. It’s just the character the guy is.”
“I also thought Sam Stubbs was outstanding. He marshalled the defence, he’s a talker. He was everything I saw down south watching him. He just gets the head down and gets on with it.”
The new signing was one of three changes to the side from Dingwall. Easton was fit again to return, with Smith preferred up front. McKenna missed out through injury, with Hunt and Ogkmpoe starting this one on the bench.
Killie were out to respond to their own opening day defeat, their one switch seeing Liam Millar replace El Makirini in Angelo Alessio’s line up.
They carried much of the early momentum, pegging Accies back and winning a series of corners. Former Accie Eamonn Brophy was almost in behind the defence on 13 minutes, but Fon Williams did just enough rush out and block behind.
But Accies soaked it up and pounced on 20 minutes. The opener was top drawer, McGowan setting Smith up on the edge of the D from Easton’s through ball. He still had plenty to do, but with a drop of the shoulder he worked the space to curl exquisitely into Branescu’s far corner.
Killie sought a quick response with Fon Williams punching another Brophy effort clear a minute later. The visitors continued with the bulk of possession, Broadfoot heading wide from a corner on 24 minutes.
They were vulnerable to the quick counter though, Alston putting Smith through one on one with Branescu on 29 minutes, but the Killie ‘keeper held on.
Smith continued to be the main Accies threat, taking on defenders, working himself some space on the edge of the box but firing wide of the post on 38 minutes.
The visitors saw out the half on top, without any killer instinct. For all of their possession there was a defensive fragility that Accies exploited right after the interval.
Oakley started and finished the move, on the end of a high through ball. His cut back fell to Alston whose shot was blocked, but Smith fed it back it for the striker to tap in his first league goal of the season from close range.
Decisions then went against us in a frantic two-minute spell. There were strong claims for a penalty on 51 minutes with Oakley going down in the box under a hefty challenge. Play rushed to the other end with Easton receiving a straight red for a far touchline lunge at Liam Millar a minute later.
Accies now had a lot of defending to do, but regrouped and focused, with Alex Gogic slotting in at the back alongside Stubbs. Fon Williams showed great acrobatics to deny Brophy on 69 minutes, from a high Burke ball to the far post.
Killie searched in vain for a goal back, the Accies ‘keeper called in to action to tip Alan Power’s 30 yarder over in the closing stages. The visitors had huffed and puffed all afternoon but were to get no joy against a solid and determined Accies defence.
Accies: Fon William, McGowan, McMann, Oakley (Ogkmpoe, 75), Alston, Gogic, Cunningham (Miller, 70), MacKinnon (c), Easton, Stubbs, L Smith (Hunt, 81); Subs Unused: Southwood, Fjortfoft, Collar, Mimnaugh,
Goals: Smith, 20, Oakley, 48
Caution: Alston, 47
Red Card: Easton, 52
Kilmarnock: Branescu, O’Donnell, Taylor, Broadfoot (Cameron, 68 ), Power, MacKenzie, Dicker, Brophy (Thomas, 79), Millar (Kiltie, 76), Findlay, Burke; Subs Unused: MacDonald, Bruce, El Makrini, Millen
Cautions: Burke, 84
Referee: Bobby Madden, Assistants: Dougie Potter, Ross MacLeod; Fourth Official: Colin Steven