Game 2 in our Betfred Cup group stage saw a 2-1 home win over Ayr United.

Accies media reporter Martin McConnell was there…

 

Betfred Scottish League Cup, Group Stage

Foy Stadium, New Douglas Park, Hamilton

Saturday 10th October 2020, kick off 3pm.

Hamilton Academical 2 Ayr United 1

We got our first win in Group F of the League Cup and maybe more importantly, first home win of the season after edging past a good visiting Ayr United side. The valuable three points lifts us into third, just one point behind leaders’ Annan Athletic and in a good position to show a much improved performance from Tuesday night’s defeat.

The match itself was fairly well balanced, with Accies having slightly the better of the first half and United the second. After starting to pull ahead of United after around about fifteen minutes, Accies had a decent spell that saw both Marios Ogkmpoe and Charlie Trafford beat the keeper. The second half was hotly contested but Michael Moffat managed to excel, threatening on more than one occasion before pulling one back to make a contest of the cup tie.

Head Coach Brian Rice said, “I thought that we deserved to win the match after going 2-0 up before half time. We had other chances as well but to get our first home win of the season and for Marios to get a goal on his birthday, I’m just delighted for all the boys today.”

And on Charlie Trafford’s first goal for the club,  “He’s got a goal in his locker but he’s had to wait for his chance. I intended to start him down at Annan on Tuesday night but he was suspended, so he had to wait that one out. He’s had to wait awhile but I know that if he gets up there in and around the edge of the box, he’s got a shot on him. I’m just delighted for all the boys today. It was important that we won, important that we got back in the competition and we’ve done both. “

Looking forward to next weekend he said, “It’s going to be very,  very difficult again. They’re a good team and they’ve scored seven goals today but this should give us a wee bit of confidence going in to it. We took a battering midweek and rightly so, there should be no excuses for that but we won today and that was the objective.”

Hamilton made three changes to the side that suffered defeat at Annan on Tuesday night, with Ryan Fulton, Charlie Trafford and Reegan Mimnaugh replacing Gourlay, Munro and Owolabi. Visitors Ayr United made a couple of changes to the starting line-up at Albion Rovers midweek, with Anderson and Walsh making way for Dario Zanatta and Mark McKenzie.

Inside two minutes of the first whistle, Zanatta evaded the Accies defence, cut inside toward the box before unleashing low and inches wide of the far post. With further minutes on the clock, McKenzie almost found himself one on one with Ryan Fulton but instead he and the Accies ‘keeper clattered into each other before the ball was cleared.

Then with quarter of an hour gone, Accies seemed to be find their feet, a great sequence of passing from one flank to the other, ended when a defender nipped in to steal the ball as Callum Smith was about to strike from inside the six yard box. The ball was cleared but quickly recycled up the field. Scott McMann was able to flight the ball into the penalty area where Ogkmpoe rose to flick the ball past the ‘keeper and open the Hamilton account.

We made it two in the 35th minute when the ball broke to Charlie Trafford just inside the penalty area and he managed to powerfully steer a low drive through a ruck of players and beyond Sinisalo in the Ayr goal. That was his first goal for the club.

The second half for a while wasn’t going anywhere until  Moffat showed more than a little bit of life after the hour mark. Ten yards out from goal, his first strike was guided over the post by a strong Fulton hand. Again Ayr threatened when Zanatta broke up the right before sending a great ball inside for Moffat to send over the crossbar.

Unfortunately, inside five minutes  Ayr did  manage to pull one back and make a contest of the remaining minutes of the tie. From a throw in deep inside Hamilton territory, the ball was nudged forward towards the back post and a massive empty space, for Michael Moffat to expertly steer the ball beyond Fulton.

Accies: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann (c), Stirling, Ogkmpoe, Templeton (Munro 89), Trafford, Mimnaugh, Hodson, C Smith (Moyo 73), Callachan (Martin 58 ). Subs unused: Gourlay, Collarm Hughes, Stanger, Owolabi, Johnson.

Goals: Ogkmpoe 18, Trafford 35.

Ayr United: Sinisalo, Muirhead, Roscoe, Murdoch, Moffat, Miller (Hewitt 22), McGowan, Chalmers, Zanatta, McKenzie (Smith 80), Baird. Subs Unused: Hare-Reid, Houston, Kerr, Love.

Goals: Moffat 67.

Cautions: Zanatta, Muirhead

Referee: Colin Steven. Assistants: David Roome & Calum Doyle.