Last night I attended the second leg of Accies second round, UEFA Youth League tie against Danish giants, FC Midtjylland.
Hamilton suffered a 2-0 defeat three weeks ago at the MCH Arena after two early goals from Casper Tengstedt put the Denmark side in control.
However, that doesn’t tell the whole story as I personally believe Hamilton were extremely unlucky to come away from Herning without scoring what would have been a vital away goal.
Looking back on it, If Midtjylland didn’t have the 6’5, Elias Olafson in goals, Accies would have more than certainly scored, with the Dane making several vital saves as well as Andrew Winter’s effort was cleared off the line in the dying moments.
Once again on Wednesday evening, The Hamilton fans turned out in their numbers with nearly 2,400 braving the horrible weather to cheer the young lads on, with a difficult task ahead, knowing they probably couldn’t afford to concede a goal. Everyone knew and believed that it was possible to pull off another shock.
Hamilton coach, Jason Scotland was forced into one change as Lewis Smith is ruled out for numerous weeks, so Liam Scullion took his place on the wing. A huge blow for the hosts
Midtjylland boss, Dahl Anderson was also forced to change his goalkeeper as Elias Olafson missed out through injury, so he was replaced by Valademar Thorsen. The only other change for the away side was striker, Jibril Abubakar dropping to the bench, with Christian Tue taking his place.
The game got underway in the wet and windy Hamilton, with the hosts going all guns blazing from the start as the Denmark side looked to be struggling a little.
The first chance for the Accies came after eight minutes when Liam Scullion’s effort was tipped around the post by Thorsen in the Midtjylland goal.
From the resulting corner Accies nearly took the lead when the ball fell sweetly for Daryl Meikle in the six-yard box, but once again Thorsen tipped over. This time the corner led to the deadlock being opened at New Douglas Park.
The cross caused all sorts of trouble in the Danish box and there was Jamie Hamilton to tap home from close range, to get the stadium bouncing and full of belief. The away side responded well to after going one down, with a couple of dangerous crosses coming to nothing, but did look more stable in defence after being very shaky the first 10 minutes.
The visitors looked very dangerous at set-pieces and did have the ball in the net on the 30th minute mark when a corner was flicked by Oliver Sorenson onto substitute, Jibril Abubakar to tap home, but he was luckily flagged offside.
Sorenson went close himself after 37 minutes when he burst forward and fired just wide of Ross Connelly’s goal.
Midtjylland had huge claims for a penalty-kick after 40 minutes when Casper Tengstedt went down under a challenge, but Welsh referee, Bryn Markham-Jones had no intention of giving it. Hamilton were starting to hold on a little towards the end of the half and will have been happy to go in 1-0 up at the interval, in what was a very scrappy and dull contest.
Half-Time- Hamilton U19 1-0 FC Midtjylland U19
The second got swiftly underway in South Lanarkshire. Hamilton had a great chance to go 2-0 up and level the aggregate when Regan Mimnaugh’s free-kick found Jamie Hamilton’s head, his header fell at the feet of Liam Scullion who flashed his effort high over the bar from close range.
It was a similar story as the first half, with Accies starting well but then becoming sloppy and hanging on, as FC Midtjylland went in search of an away goal which would have sent them through to the next round of the competition.
Tengstedt is the Danish team’s best player by far and he went close again after 57 minutes when he drove into the box and fired a low effort which was saved well by Connolly.
The visitors should have been level on the 63rd minute when they missed a fantastic opportunity. Nikolas Dyhr broke free down the wing before cutting it back to Gustav Isaksen, who sent him effort straight at Connolly.
FC Midtjylland were awarded a penalty when Tengstedt raced into the box and being brought down by Ross Connolly as he tried to take it around him, giving the referee no other option apart from pointing to the spot.
The Dane took the penalty and Cooley slotted it into the back of the net before trying to wind up the home fans.
The stadium began to deafen as everyone knew the dream was coming to end, bar a miracle. Liam Scullion went close after 68 minutes when a poor cross-field pass by Sunday Odeh allowed the winger to have a pop at goal from 20 yards, but his effort went wide.
The goal killed the game as a whole unfortunately with Accies knowing it was over and FC Midtjylland happy just to keep the ball as long as possible. Tempers from the Accies boys were beginning to boil over with quite few rash challenges. This led to Liam Scullion completely losing the plot and headbutting Japhet Sery, which obviously resulted in a red card. The final chance of the game was a goal, with the visitors making it 2-1.
A corner towards the front post was flicked on by Mads Kristian Hansen past substitute goalkeeper, Jamie Smith to make it even sweeter for the away side. Accies European tour came to an end at New Douglas Park.
Full-Time- Hamilton U19 1-2 FC Midtjylland U19.
On a personal note I would like to say a massive congratulations to Hamilton and all the backroom staff and the boys for playing excellent throughout the competition. We knocked out FC Basel who invest millions of pounds into their academy as well as giving another huge team in FC Midtjylland a close game. I loved every moment of the two away games in both Basel and Denmark and I’ve witnessed my local team play in Europe which I could have never dreamed of. I went to two beautiful Stadiums and countries and met some cracking people along the way.
Also, a massive shout out to fans who turned up in numbers to support the boys in what was a couple of huge nights in the club’s history.
Hamilton U19 XI
Connolly(71), Douglas(71), McCann, Hamilton(77), Stranger, Meikle(77), Scullion, Mimnaugh, Slaven(71), Reilly, Winter
Subs- Smith(71), Wilson(77), Redfern(77), Blair(71), Joseph, Brown, Munro(71)
FC Midtjylland U19 XI
Thorsen, Sery, Sorensen(79), Martis, Madsen, Dyhr, Tengstedt(85), Tue(11), Olsen, Isaksen(79), Odeh(86)
Subs- Mwimba, Bloch, Kristian-Hansen(85), Dawa(79), Dahl-Bagger(79), Giessing(86), Abubakar(11)
Referee- Bryn Markham-Jones (WAL)
Assistants- Daniel Beckett (WAL) & Harry Hendricks (WAL)
Fourth Official- David Dickinson (SCO)
Goals- Hamilton(10), Tengstedt(66), Kristian-Hansen(90)
Yellow Cards- Hamilton(54), Munro(80), Sery(83)
Red Cards- Scullion(83)