Ladbrokes SPFL Premiership
New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Saturday 9th April 2016
Hamilton Academical 2 Dundee 1
We gave our Premiership status a shot in the arm, by winning at New Douglas Park for the first time since September 19th. The 2-1 win against Dundee came about thanks to two first half goals from Ali Crawford and Jesus Garcia Tena. The Dens Park men managed to pull one back in the second half through Gary Harkins.
Dundee boss Paul Hartley made four changes to his side that drew with Celtic midweek, with Konrad, O’Dea, Stewart and Hemmings replacing McGinn, Gadzhalov, Low and Loy. Whilst the Hamilton starting XI had three changes on the team sheet. Tagliapietra, Brophy and Morris all started, replacing Agustien, Diaby and Kurakins.
Hamilton made a positive start to the match, with Dougie Imrie causing the Dundee defence a few problems out on the left. We went close when Ali Crawford played the ball wide to Imrie, who cut back for Crawford, but his 20 yard strike was blocked en route to goal. A second attempt soon followed when Bain saved a 20 yard Carlton Morris effort.
Eamonn Brophy was next to test the Dundee ‘keeper when his shot was put out for a corner kick. The corner was sent beyond the penalty area and Lucas Tagliapietra swung the ball in on goal, but an outstretched foot deflected the ball over the cross bar for another corner kick. Again the ball went long, but Brophy gathered and had his shot blocked once again.
Carlton Morris started another Hamilton attack when he skipped a couple of challenges and shot low from just outside the area, but the ball was a little to direct and Scott Bain gathered comfortably. Whilst Accies were temporarily down to ten men as Garcia Tena was receiving off field treatment to a head wound, which happened a few times!, Michael McGovern saved from a Kane Hemmings shot.
Then just as the match approached the half hour mark, Accies took a much deserved lead. Eamonn Brophy received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and held play up until support arrived in the form of Darian MacKinnon. The ball was played into penalty area and came back out to Ali Crawford who wasted no time in smashing into the back of the net from 15 yards.
On 40 minutes Accies were awarded a penalty kick, when Carlton Morris played the ball on for Eamonn Brophy. The Accies striker battled with Jean Etxabeguren for the ball on the bye line before being brought down by the Basque defender. Jesus Garcia Tena chose to take the spot kick and casually strolled up before stroking past the reach of Scott Bain.
With the half into injury time, Imrie made a purposeful run through midfield and sent the ball wide to Ziggy Gordon. Imrie continued his run behind Gordon to the corner flag, and the Accies right back used the decoy run of Imrie, to cut inside and deliver a perfect ball toward Ali Crawford. His header was directed to the bottom corner of the goal but Bain threw himself into another great save.
Accies started the second half with the same enthusiasm as they did the first, and won a free kick when Brophy was pushed to the ground 22 yards out. Ali Crawford skipped over the ball, leaving Jesus Garcia Tena to strike on goal and forcing Bain into making the save. Accies still looked good as Garcia Tena went off for more treatment, the pace of the game looked significantly slower.
Dundee snatched a goal back when substitute Gary Harkins touched wide to Kane Hemmings, received again a couple of yards from goal and sent past Michael McGovern. They almost equalised when Stewart struck the ball toward the back post, Konrad rose freely to head on goal and McGovern dived at the feet of Harkins to make a crucial save.
The match entered the last ten minutes, and Accies attempted to slow the game right down to almost walking pace in a bid to protect their precious one goal advantage. It seemed to work as Dundee and their large travelling support grew frustrated at their lack of success into the Hamilton half, and Accies took all three points off the back of a great first half performance.
A cheerful Hamilton boss Martin Canning said afterwards “This place should be a hard place to come too and for a long time it was. We went through a spell and got away from that and we now need to get back to that at this time of the season, and make it a difficult place to play in that teams don’t want to come here. It takes performances like that and in the first half we controlled the game, I thought we were excellent in the first half and second half we needed to dig in a little bit and played well in both halves well.”
“No two halves of football are ever the same, you’ve got to be able to do them all if you’re going to be a successful team. That’s something that we done there, first half I thought we played really well and second half I thought we could have been slightly braver and tried to play a bit more whilst under that bit of pressure. But it’s understandable as the result means so much to the boys at this time of the season. That’s something that we need to work on and make sure that when we get ourselves in that position again, we remain composed and continue to play.”
On the heroics of penalty taker Jesus Garcia Tena, Martin said “I think he was off three times in the same game, and at the end of the game he said that he didn’t know where he was. He has done great and that just typifies the attitude of Jesus and the team. It was a poor first half performance against Aberdeen last week but the second half was much better. One thing we’ve been able to do is put games behind us and make sure that we come back with a good performance, I was just pleased that we were able to do that in front of everyone at home.”
When asked about the contribution of the young Accies players, Martin said “I thought they were brilliant today, Eamonn is one of those boys that been on the cusp of first team football for the last year or year and a half and Greg has played quite a bit this season. Eamonn went out on loan to Dumbarton and obvisouly has come back and isn’t far off being a top player. Both their attitudes like all the boys here is excellent, and we’ve got wee Boydy as well, who came on and he has been a star for the 20s this year.
“If you look at the club as a whole our 17s are sitting on top the league, and our 20s are second and should all but finish second in the league and that’s what we are all about. Our first team are competing well in the Premiership and punching above our weight, so for everything that we set out to do if you like, the club is in a good place. If you look at the first team, I could quite easily go through two games that would give you six points and put you into the top six, it’s that tight with such a fine margin. Everyone is fighting so hard to make sure that we do our job at this level, but if you look at what the club is all about at every level from youths right through to 20s, it’s a good place to be.”
Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Devlin, Imrie, Crawford, Morris (Diaby 68), MacKinnon, Brophy (Boyd 80), Docherty (Redmond 85), Garcia Tena, Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Kurakins, Kurtaj, Agustien.
Goals: Crawford 29, Garcia Tena 40 penalty.
Cautions: Imrie, Morris, Docherty.
Dundee: Bain, Holt, Konrad, Stewart, Hemmings, Etxabeguren (Low 55), Ross, McGowan, O’Dea, Kerr, Wighton (Harkins 45). Subs Unused: Mitchell, Meggatt, Arturo, Gadzhalov, Colquhoun.
Goals: Harkins 62.
Cautions: Etxabeguren, O’Dea.
Referee: John Beaton. Assistants: Douglas Ross & Raymond Whyte. 4th Assistant: Mike Roncone.