After snatching a point last weekend against local rivals Motherwell, Accies welcomed Livingston to Lanarkshire in our second cup final in the five remaining games. With only four games left(including Saturday) every game is vital but we have to start winning. Livingston have nothing to play for so they couldn’t care less if they win or lose. Hamilton had a horrible first-half last weekend but the fighting spirit in the second half paid off when Marios Ogkmpoe pounced on a Motherwell mistake to salvage a point. However our main relegation rivals St Mirren picked up three valuable points against the Lions, after captain Craig Halkett was sent off. That reduced the gap between us to just two points. Dundee look doomed, and after Saturdays result they must win their final three games to even have a chance of the play-offs. An Accies victory at Dens Park next Saturday would seal relegation for the Dark Blues.
Brian Rice made four changes from the 1-1 draw with Motherwell. Matthew Kilgallon picked up a bad injury and his season looks over while both strikers were changed with David McMillan and Steve Davies dropping out and Marios Ogkmpoe and George Oakley starting. Finally, Ryan Fulton started in goal for the Accies as Gary Woods picked up an injury during the week.
Livingston made just the one change which saw Hakeem Odoffin start in place of the suspended Craig Halkett.
Accies got off to a flying start, infact probably the best start ive seen this season. They were on the front-foot right from the off. The first chance came on just the third minute when a cross from Aaron McGowan found George Oakley who headed just over the bar. The hosts continued to pile the pressure on the Lions defence, who looked a bit out of sorts without their captain. Tony Andreu came close to breaking the deadlock on the 10th minute when he flicked the ball over the head of Keaghan Jacobs before his left-footed volley dipped and caused Liam Kelly all sorts of problems, but it just about got pushed to safety from the Scot.
Livi nearly hit Accies on the break from the resulting corner when a fine goal-kick from Kelly sent Steve Lawson clean through on goal but his effort was smartly saved by Ryan Fulton.
The next chance came on the 27th minute when Oakley played the ball through to Marios Ogkmpoe, who tried to dink it over Kelly, but the Lions number one made another good save.
Its fair to say that Accies were unlucky not to be ahead by now and once again Kelly came to the Lions rescue when this time a Dougie Imrie cross was met by the head of Darian MacKinnon, who’s bullet header was tipped around the post.
The scoring was eventually broken on the 40th minute, when a corner was met by the head of Alex Gogic. His downwards header was mishit by Declan Gallagher. Ogkmpoe rose highest and knocked It down to the feet of Oakley,who fired home from close range
Hamilton 1-0 Livingston
The second half started similar to the first, with Accies in cruise control. They were awarded what was a stonewall penalty just two minutes after the re-start. Aaron McGowan was barged over in the box before play was allowed to go on. A cross into the box found Ogkmpoe, who took it by Odoffin and was brought down by the Livingston player. The reliable Dougie Imrie stepped up and coolly rolled the ball by Kelly to make it 2-0.
Accies, as usual made life difficult for themselves as the visitors pulled one back within 10 minutes. It was good football inside the box by The Almondvale club as Ryan Hardie teed it up for Scott Pitmann, who placed is neatly past Fulton.
Livingston continued to grow in confidence as the game went on and they found an equaliser on the 68th minute. Imrie took a poor touch in midfield before a beautiful through ball by Steven Lawless sent Lawson clean through on goal for a second time. The Togo international made no mistake this time as he slotted it by Fulton to net his first goal for the Lions.
Now there was a loud ring of booing in Hamilton and plenty shouts made directly to Brian Rice who bizzarly took of Darian Mackinnon while we were 2-1 up.
I was genuinely speechless as Livingston made it 3-2. We had absolutely bottled it. Dolly Menga raced by Scott McMann and skinned Ziggy Gordon before his deep cross towards the back-post found Pittman, who’s effort went in via a deflection.
You could hear a pin drop in the home end of New Douglas Park.
It should have been 4-2 and game over on the 75th minute when a corner found Gallagher at the back-post, but he diverted his header wide from close range.
The drama wasn’t finished there though, as Aaron McGowan and Hamilton got a huge stroke of luck in the dying moments of the game when a cross from Scott Martin ended up at the feet of the Englishman. His volleyed effort took a huge deflection which took it by Liam Kelly. You could feel the relief inside NDP this time as some may have noticed that our relegation rivals St Mirren scored a last minute goal to steal a point.
Full Time- Hamilton 3-3 Livingston.
Fulton, McGowan, Gordon, Gogic, McMann, Mackinnon(66), Martin, Andreu, Imrie, Oakley(80), Ogkmpoe(76)
Subs- Marsden, Hamilton, Mimnaugh, Smith(80), Miller(66), McMillan, Davies(76)
Kelly, Odoffin, Gallagher, Lithgow, Pittman, Sibbald(54), Lawson, Jacobs, Robinson(87), Hardie(67), Lawless
Subs- Stewart, Byrne, Lamie, De Vita, Tiffoney(87), Miller(67), Menga(54)
Referee- Greg Aitken
Assistants- David Roome + Calum Spence
Fourth Official- Barry Cook
Goals- Oakley(40), Imrie(47), Pittman(57,71)), Lawson(67), McGowan(90)
Yellow cards- Kelly(54), Imrie(62), Smith(86)
Red Cards- 0