u21s lose in Irn Bru Cup

Accies media web reporter Mark Gillespie was at Paisley on Saturday

IrnBru Cup Round 2,

at Simple Digital Arena (New St Mirren Park), Paisley

Saturday 8th September 2018 at 3pm.

St Mirren u21 3 Hamilton Academical u212

 

We bowed out of this year’s tournament at the second hurdle, albeit after an entertaining contest in Paisley. Goals in either half from Aaron Smith and Lewis Smith just weren’t enough to subdue the hosts who advance to the next round courtesy of strikes from Jamieson, McPherson and Potter.

Lewis Smith’s late strike had brought late hope as a spirited Accies pegged ten man Saints back into the closing stages. Despite ultimately falling short for another year Head of Youth Development George Cairns thinks the Irn Bru format has been another valuable experience for his young side.

“I think it’s a fantastic competition. I’m pretty gutted that we’re not going into the next round. It would have been another good test against a team of men. But I  think this tournament’s a great learning curve for kids, and we support that fully.”

“It’s great for the kids to go and experience another cup competition. The result has gone against us, but both teams tried to play, so credit to St Mirren, We created enough chances to win today, and maybe some of our decisions in the game  cost us, but they’re a group of kids who are learning. All you can do is put them in this environment and hope that they learn.”

“I thought Lewis Smith was fantastic today. He has been in our system since he was 9 and just seems to progress and progress. These young lads are hungry enough, especially with the European campaign now as well. You’ve got to keep challenging them in the hope that one or two will make it.”

With plenty of competition for places in the squad now, Accies made five changes from the reserve defeat at Ross County, with Hamilton, Aaron Smith, Bloomfield, Reilly and Cunningham all returning to the side.

Our opponents meanwhile made four changes from the midweek victory over St Johnstone, with Potter, Breadner, Jamieson and Kirkpatrick returning to Alan McManus’s starting line up.

Saints were quickest off the blocks, setting the tempo for an engrossing, end to end encounter. McBrearty had the first clear glimpse of Jacob Marsden’s goal on 5 minutes, but heading ex Accie Jordan Kirkpatrick’s corner straight at a well positioned Accies keeper.

But the home side continued to look the livelier and were ahead on 9 minutes, as Cammie MacPherson lobbed an inch perfect long ball in behind the Accies defence for Sam Jamieson to get onto. Marsden blocked the initial header, but was helpless to prevent the Saints striker from knocking home the rebound.

Saints looked buoyant, and shortly later Breadner fired straight at Marsden after a driving run. Kirkpatrick tested the Accies keeper from a 25 yard free kick, as the home side looked good for their early advantage.

Accies had struggled to make the ball stick, but a first flowing passing move brought the chance to level from the spot on 20 minutes, with Lewis Smith brought down in the box. Ross Cunningham’s through ball had created the opening, but he could only blast the penalty kick high and wide of Wilson’s bar.

He made amends though to set up the equaliser on 26 minutes, taking the ball down the right to swing a dangerous ball into the box. The Saints defence couldn’t clear and the ball sat up perfectly for Aaron Smith to blast high into Wilson’s top corner from close range.

Accies started to grow in belief, but we were architects of our own downfall as we conceded from the spot on 39 minutes. Stanger gave the ball away in his own half before Breadner was brought down in the box. Cammie MacPherson stepped up to power the spot kick past Marsden.

The keeper came to our rescue as the half wore down, with saves from Breadner and Kirkpatrick keeping Accies well in the contest despite a rocky spell in the run up to the interval.

Both sides made for an end to end contest into the second half, and there seemed sure to be more goals in this. Lewis Smith fired just wide in swift succession from the edge of the box in the 48th minute, before Conor O’Keefe tested Marsden’s handling at the other end a minute later.

A looping Bloomfield effort had to be cleared off the Saints line on 50 minutes, as Accies continued to threaten. We then had the one man advantage from 63 minutes, with Jamie Walker receiving a second yellow for a trip on Aaron Smith.

Instead though it was the hosts who took a giant step towards the next round five minutes later, as they extended their lead. Kirkpatrick fired another dangerous set piece delivery from the left, and Max Potter got to an an unguarded back post to rattle high past Marsden.

Accies had some late chances to reduce arrears. Sub Kyle Munro blasted over from six yards on 71 minutes. We then had appeals for a spot kick waved away 10 minutes later, as Bloomfield advanced onto a Lewis Smith ball in the box.

But the two combined to give us a grandstand finish with four minutes left on the clock, Bloomfield rose in the box to see a header hacked off the line, but Lewis Smith though was first to respond and drive low past Wilson.

St Mirren: Wilson, MacPherson, Walker, McBrearty (Grant, 90),  Potter, Erhahon, Breadner (Miller,88 ), Glover, Jamieson, Kirkpatrick (Reid, 64), O’Keefe; Subs Unused: Miller, Lavelle, Cameron, Miller, McFarlane,

Goals: Jamieson, 9, McPherson, 39 (pen), Potter, 68

Cautions: MacPherson, Walker
Red Card: Walker

Accies: Marsden, Hamilton, Mimnaugh, Carrasco, Stanger (c) (Wilson, 45), Breen, L Smith, A Smith (Scullion, 79), Bloomfield, Reilly (Munro, 58 ) Cunningham; Subs Unused: Joseph, Meikle, Douglas, Connelly

Goals: A Smith, 26, L Smith, 86

Cautions:  A Smith, Cunningham, Breen

Referee: Graham Beaton  Assistants:Joseph Lawson, Jordan Cousland

Attendance: 316 (70 Accies)