Saturday was the return of the Lanarkshire derby, and what a big game it was. A win for Hamilton would pull them clear from Dundee and St Mirren while a win for the Steelmen would take them away from the bottom three and most likely guarantee safety for the season. Both sides lost on Boxing day. Accies were outplayed by Craig Levein’s, Hearts while Motherwell fell to a narrow defeat to Kilmarnock, but could of arguably lost by a bigger deficit. It was rumored that the away side would be without many of their first team players at the weekend. However, when the teams were announced at 1.30pm, it was all false and just mind games being played by the away side.
Hamilton made 3 changes from the defeat at Tynecastle with Matthew Kilgallon recovering from an injury to replace the suspended Shaun Want. Lenny Sowah replaced the injured Delphin Tshiembe. James Keating’s returned to the squad inplace of Fredrik Brustad and finally Steven Boyd replaced Tom Taiwo in midfield
The visitors made four changes from the defeat against Killie last on Boxing Day. Both Charles Dunne and Carl McHugh both got stretchered off early on, so were unable to recover for Saturday’s game. Peter Hartley and Liam Grimshaw took over with the Well reverting to a four at the back. Andy Rose played his final game for the Steelmen before making his move to the MLS and Connor Sammon played up-front in place of Curtis Main, who was sent off in their last match.
Motherwell started the game the brightest, with Danny Johnson proving a real handful. The striker had a good oportunity after just one minute on the clock , when he found himself in space on the edge of the box, but his effort was off-target. Johnson had another opportunity a few minutes later, when once again he found himself in space. He turned his man on the edge of the box and fired wide. The away side continued to push forward in search of the opening goal and went close on the 14th minute when a Elliot Frear corner found the head of Andy Rose, but the Scotsman powered his header into the side-netting.
The opening goal came after 17 minutes and it surprisingly went to the hosts against the run of play. A through-ball by Scott McMann somehow beat the whole Motherwell defense and lead to Dougie Imrie being played through one-on-one. The Accies captain kept his composure after bearing down on goal and Cooley slotted the ball by Mark Gillespie. Accies lead didn’t last long however, as the away side leveled four minutes later. A corner was headed straight to Tom Aldred, who superbly cushioned a volley into the top corner, giving Mickel Miller on the post no chance. The game began to settle with it becoming scrappy, with no real chances. Hamilton came inches away from regaining the lead after 39 minutes when, James Keating’s curled a free-kick towards goal which took a huge deflection and wrong-footed Gillespie. Luckily for the Steelmen it bounced kindly and trickled by the post. The final chance of the half came on the stroke of half-time, when Frear was slid in by substitute, David Turnbull, but the wingers shot was well saved by Gary Woods.
Half-Time, Hamilton 1-1 Motherwell
The second half got underway at the Hope CBD stadium, with it being a similar start to the first half with Motherwell on top. After 54 minutes, Elliot Frear ran the length of the Accies park before putting a teasing ball into the box. Woods done well to get it to safety. Sammon should have put the Steelmen ahead a couple of minutes later, when once again Frear caused problems on the flank. This time his delivery found Sammon, but the Irishman scooped his effort straight at the Hamilton keeper.
I had a strange feeling there would be one more goal in this one and without a doubt it would be the winner. I also knew if someone was going to score, it certainly wouldn’t be us. Unfortunately, i wasnt wrong as Motherwell took the lead around 15 minutes before the end, and it was a moment that Gary Woods wont want to look back at. Accies were struggling all afternoon with set-pieces, so it was no surprise to see the second Motherwell goal also come from one. Follwing a free-kick into the Hamilton box, Woods came out and flapped at the ball, allowing it to fall straight to Aldred to fire it high into the net to put the away side ahead in the Lanarkshire derby. There were claims for a foul on the Hamilton keeper, but my personal opinion is that it definetely wasn’t a foul, and that Woods was just looking for it,as keepers normally get away with them. Martin Canning eventually brought on a recognised striker with 10 minutes to play, but unsurprisingly he made no difference. There is alot of work to be done at Hamilton if they want any hope of surviving this year. Motherwell have the end of year bragging rights as it ended in the Lanarkshire derby.
Hamilton 1-2 Motherwell
Woods, McGowan(64), Kilgallon, Gordon, Sowah(81), McMann(49), Imrie, Martin, Boyd, Miller, Keating’s
Subs- Fulton, Gogic(64), Penny(49), Stranger, Monlouis, Bingham(81), Brustad
Gillespie, Tait(35), Aldred, Hartley, Taylor-Sinclair(59), Grimshaw, Campbell, Rose, Frear, Sammon, Johnson
Subs- Ferguson, Maguire, Scott, Turnbull(35), Livingstone(59), Bigirimana, Gorrin
Referee- Nick Walsh
Assistants- Dougie Potter & Graeme Leslie
Fourth Official- Lloyd Wilson
Attendance- 3,843 (2,246 Away)
Goals- Imrie(17), Aldred (21,77)
Yellow Cards- Frear(40), Turnbull(52), McGowan(61), Campbell(90+1)
Red Cards- 0