Our Martin McConnell with his take from Saturday’s loss at Killie

Betfred League Cup, Round 2

Saturday 17th August 2019 at 3pm

Rugby Park, Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock 1 Hamilton Academical 0, after extra time

After a brave performance at Rugby Park, we exited the Betfred League Cup following a late goal in the second period of extra time. After gaining possession in the Accies half, a cross struck across our six yard box was touched in after a bit of a scramble byDom Thomas.

A good first half saw Accies take on a similar role to last week’s game against Killie. There weren’t many cutting edge chances but it would be fair to say that Killie had the best of them. However, the Hamilton defence was organised and doggedly gave away little that the hosts could profit from.

The second half saw Accies start on the front foot and asked plenty of questions from a nervous Killie defence. Hamilton always looked the likelier to score but as the match went into extra time and penalties looming, Kilmarnock snatched a  late winner.

A proud Brian Rice said afterwards,“I don’t think that they posed us too many problems. My young team put up a good spirited performance you know. I thought that there was only one team that was going to win it.

I thought that we looked dangerous and I thought that we snuffed out their threat but it wasn’t to be. We came down here last season and got beaten 5-0, got run over the top of. I’m sitting here proud as hell of my boys. We can look in the mirror and know we gave it a right go.”

Accies made only two changes to last Saturday’s winning side at NDP, with Jamie Hamilton making his first team debut at centre back in place of Brian Easton and another debutant in Will Collar replacing Blair Alston. Killie also made a couple of changes with Mohamed El Makrini and Innes Cameron replacing Alan Dicker and Liam Millar.

Hamilton slotted straight into that counter attacking role that proved so effective for them last Saturday. There were early half chances for Cunningham and McMann but a great move from the back to inside the Killie penalty area was cleared from the toe of Darian MacKinnon’s boot.

Despite having the lion’s share of possession, Killie had struggled to make an impression early on. After managing to get a  foot in the game they saw a series of shots blocked inside Accies penalty area then a driven O’Donnell strike saved then the loose ball cleared by Stubbs.

The rest of the first 45 minutes continued in much the same vane, not many chances but the best of the action came from Accies breaking forward.

A Collar ball forwards was taken on a run through the centre by Smith then on to Cunningham and again wide to MacKinnon on the edge of the penalty area. The Accies Captain cut inside and shot across goal, a foot or so wide of the back post.

Accies started the second half strongly and almost had a great chance five minutes in when Oakley bravely dived in at the near post in an attempt to get onto the end of a McMann cross. Unfortunately a boot cleared it inches from his head. At the other end, Stubbs blocked a dangerous Brophy strike.

After an hour, Hamilton won a corner which Smith sent long to the far corner of the box. McGowan ran in and headed the ball back into the mix, Alex Gogic got a touch with his head but Branescu saved. Moments later, the Killie ‘keeper was again involved when he cleared from Oakley’s head inside the six yard box.

Then with three minutes of time left, Aaron McGowan intercepts a pass out wide, moves forward and lets rip with a driven shot from the corner of the box. Branescu did well to get down and touch wide for a corner kick. Gogic then headed over from Mimnaugh’s corner.

With the game into extra time, Accies had a great chance to go in front when the ‘keeper hoisted the ball into air, Smith gathered and sent wide for Miller. The striker cut into the box sending the ball inside. Branescu got a touch which changed it’s path, Ogkmpoe got a foot to it but couldn’t quite adjust his feet in time and sent the ball wide.

With the match seemingly heading for a penalty shootout,  Hamilton lost the ball inside their own half. Greg Taylor put a deep cross  into the six yard box which Dom Thomas struck into the back of the net, from just a couple of yards out at the back post.

Kilmarnock: Branescu, O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor, Power, El Makrini (Dicker 91), Burke (Thomas 105), McKenzie (Millar 61), Cameron (Kiltie 99), Brophy. Subs Unused: MacDonald, Bruce, Millen.

Goal: Thomas 112.

Cautions: Power, Dicker.

Accies: Fon Williams, McGowan, McMann, Collar (Mimnaugh 76), Oakley (Ogkmpoe 85), Gogic (Hughes 99), Cunningham (Miller 60), MacKinnon (c), Stubbs,  L Smith, Hamilton . Subs Unused: Southwood, Fjortoft, Moyo.

Cautions: Gogic, Miller.

Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: Frankie Connor & David Doig. 4th Official: Nick Walsh.

Attendance: 3762 (267 Accies)