Marios Ogkmpoe scored a sublime 89th minute volley to send Accies into the Last 16 of the Betfred Cup as they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against local rivals Airdrie at The Excelsior Stadium.
The League one side looked to be in cruise control at the break with Callum Smith and Ally Roy having the hosts 2-0 up at the interval, leaving the away fans booing their side off the park. However, there must of been a few harsh words said at half-time as Accies looked a complete different side in the second-half which led to two well converted penalties by Ross Cunningham followed by Ogkmpoe’s cracking volley to complete an outstanding comeback.
Airdrie, who were already out of the competition, but with a win could seal a second place finish, started the much better side and weren’t just here for a run-about before the season kicks off next weekend.
Ian Murray had clearly been doing his research during the week as his side continually kept exploiting Accies in the very weak areas of their defence .
His side created numerous good chances in the opening 10 minutes and had Accies on the ropes. They were finally awarded for their dominance when The Diamonds broke the deadlock on the 10th minute. After a foul from on Ally Roy, a free-kick into the box was cleared before the rebound was delivered back in towards the back-post. The ball found Sean Crichton, who took a touch and squared it across goal for Callum Smith to fire home from close-range.
It was 2-0 not long after. Following a foul given against Scott McMann, it was Adam Eckersley and James Cowan who had the ball lined up. Cowan’s effort went straight into the wall, but the rebound was caught sweetly on the volley by Ally Roy, who’s thunderous effort could only be diverted into his own net by Owain Fon Williams.
The away side were yet to have an attempt at goal and as a fan watching on I can honestly say it was an absolutely pathetic display in the first half.
The final chance of what was a very one-sided first-half came on the 37th minute when Hamilton were once again beaten down the line, allowing Callum Fordyce to put a fizzing cross across goal which Kieran Millar just failed to connect with.
The Hamilton fans, who turned out in good numbers yesterday, deservedly booed their side off after their embarrassing first-half performance.
Half Time- Airdrie 2-0 Hamilton
I’m sure a large majority of Accies fans would have never expected what happened in the second half and the game yesterday was certainly a prime example of the definition ” A game of two-halves”.
Brian Rice must have been absolutely livid at his side at half-time, and would have demanded a response in the second-half and he got it instantly. His men came out flying and looked a shadow of the side we saw in the first-half. The script remained the same however, with any result bar a win for Accies was no use, so they simply had to come from behind to win if they wanted to progress. Something they haven’t done for three years.
They got off to the perfect start as the visitors were awarded a penalty after Eckersley brought down Aaron McGowan in an aerial challenge. Ross Cunningham, who scored a brace last week, stepped up and sent former Accies keeper, David Hutton the wrong way to make it reduce the deficit.
The top-flight side got their tails up and continued to press The Diamonds defence, with every attack causing problems for the League one outfit.
Hamilton were awarded a second penalty on the 59th minute when Callum Gallagher was judged to have handled the ball following a flick-on from a corner. Cunningham was handed the ball and once again he scored, as he hammered the ball straight down the middle to pull Accies out a hole, and give them a chance of getting the victory they needed.
Marios Ogkmpoe came within inches of making it 3-2, when a cross by McMann was somehow put over the bar by the Greek from 6 yards out.
Cunningham came mighty close to completing his hat-rick on the 76th minute when he picked up the ball on the edge of the box, before curling an effort at goal, which clipped the bar and went over.
Time was running out for Accies to grab the vital goal as the 90th minute loomed, but Marios Ogkmpoe sealed the comeback in dramatic style. The Accies man turned by his marker before he volleyed an effort at goal from outside the box which hit the underside of the bar and went over the line.
They held on to claim a huge three points, which meant they qualified as runners-up in Group F and will face a seeded club in the last 16.
Full Time- Airdrie 2-3 Hamilton
Well, what can I say about that? I would never in a million years thought we would have won that yesterday, especially after that first half. Once again the defence was absolutely shocking and will get torn to shreds in the SPL if we don’t get it sorted. Yes I am absolutely delighted we came from 2-0 down, but it isn’t going to happen against any top-flight side, lets be honest. It is still disappointing not to win the group, which has now handed us a tie against better opposition in the next round, but its better to be there than not to be and we are lucky to be in the last 16 to be honest.
I cant wait for the league campaign to get underway next weekend in Dingwall. A opportunity to try get points on the board. With the way County have started the season and the record we have there, I would certainly take a point away from home.
Referee- Gavin Duncan
Assistants- Daniel McFarlane & Kylie Cockburn
Goals- Smith(10), Roy(24), Cunningham(48,60), Ogkmpoe(89)
Yellow Cards- Cowan(21), MacKinnon(30), McGowan(53), Gallagher(60), Cunningham(85)
Red Cards- 0