Brian Rice got the response he demanded on Saturday as his men beat Kilmarnock 2-0 at New Douglas Park, continuing the woes for Killie under Angelo Alessio, who are currently sat bottom in the SPL table with no points on the board.
Both sides had suffered disappointing starts to the season last weekend, as Kille lost in the dying moments against Rangers, while Accies were hammered in Dingwall by Ross County.
Teenager and Hamilton fan, Lewis Smith opened his Accies account on his first ever SPL start before George Oakley poked home a cross to double Accies advantage early in the second-half.
However, Accies were reduced to ten men when Brian Easton was sent-off following a tackle on the far-side touchline, but Accies defended fantastically, with debutant Sam Stubbs seriously impressing to deservedly claim their first points of the season.
Kilmarnock started the much the better side, but just couldn’t create a opening to get by a solid Accies defence, who dealt with everything the visitors threw at them.
Against the run of play Hamilton took the lead. A long ball was headed down to Lewis Smith, who controlled it, beat his man on the edge of the box and curled it into the bottom left-hand corner past Branescu.
Angelo Alessio’s men responded well, with Owain Fon-Williams being brought into action on the 24th minute, when a long-range effort from former Accies striker Eamon Brophy was well saved.
The Ayrshire side had another excellent chance, when a corner from Chris Burke found Kirk Broadfoot free in the penalty area and he glanced his header wide.
Smith had another great chance on the half-hour mark when he was slipped through on goal by Blair Alston, but his effort went straight at Branescu.
It was turning into a very end-to-end game and a very entertaining one, as one minute later, another corner for Killie was met by Stuart Findlay, who’s header went inches over the bar.
The final chance in what was a entertaining first-half, went the way of Stephen O’Donnell, when his low drive at goal was spilled by Fon-Williams, but the Accies defence came to his rescue by clearing the danger.
Half Time- Hamilton 1-0 Kilmarnock
Things got much better for the home side, as they doubled their lead five minutes into the second-half. Some fantastic foot-work by Smith found him some space, before his shot at goal was poked home by George Oakley from close-range.
Hamilton were reduced to ten men as Brian Easton took out Liam Millar on the far touchline. In my opinion it should have been a yellow. It was a nasty tackle, but a cynical one, and there was plenty cover behind Easton and also Millar was going no where.
The complex of the game changed after the sending off, with Accies sitting much deeper and trying to hang onto their two-goal advantage.
Killie should have equalised on the 60th minute when a dangerous delivery across the face of goal by Burke was inches off finding Brophy and Millar.
Innes Cameron came off the bench for Kilmarnock and almost made an immediate impact as his header was brilliantly clawed off the line by Fon-Williams.
The Welshman was determined to keep his first league clean sheet since joining The Accies and made another superb save to deny Alan Power this time. A corner was punched clear by the Accies keeper, but only as far as Power, who’s volley was tipped over the bar.
It was a fantastic defensive display from Accies to keep out a decent Kilmarnock side despite having ten men for the majority of the second-half.
Full Time- Hamilton 2-0 Kilmarnock
What The Managers Said
Brian Rice to BBC Sport – “The effort the lads put in was sensational. We were down to 10 men for 35 minutes, we were hanging on, but we put bodies on the line and showed the old Hamilton spirit. “Lewis has all the talent in the world. I need to try to find a place for him in the team; every day in training he’s exceptional. I just said to him, ‘I’m going to play you and give you the platform to produce”
Killie boss Angelo Alessio said- ” “I’m very angry, very disappointed with the result. We conceded two stupid goals. We create some opportunities but we could stay here two days and not score a goal. “I hope in the next few days we take some players because this team needs other players. We have to complete this team. I am happy with the players I have, but in some roles we don’t have a solution.”
Saturday was a fantastic day for myself personally. My first piece for Accies called “The Fans Review” ,was released in yesterdays programme, where I chatted to some Accies fans about the Airdrie game and about the shambles in Dingwall last weekend.
After watching that last weekend, where we couldn’t defend to save ourselves and could have easily lost by 4/5, who was expecting that? certainly not me.
The defence was amazing and looked much more solid, and that reason being the addition of Sam Stubbs. What a signing he could be. Allan Maitland said in the fans forum that Sam was expected to be that experience we need, regardless of his age and he may well be right. Not only did he play excellent himself, but he brought out the best in his other defenders, with Aaron McGowan playing the best I’ve seen him this season so far.
Up the other end of the park, lets start by talking about Lewis Smith. WHAT A PLAYER. In my opinion he is better than Greg Docherty. He has bright future and I seriously hope he is tied down on a long term deal. Every time he got the ball something looked like happening. He scored a peach and I definitely think the second goal was his also, but ill let him and George debate about that. First of many goals for Smithy I hope.
Finally, once again we get a reaction from a terrible result. How often has that happened under Brian Rice, so fair play to him also for getting a good response once again.
Lets get a good support down to Rugby Park next week and beat them again in the Cup!!.
Williams, McGowan, Stubbs, Easton, McMann, Gogic, Mackinnon, Smith(82), Alston, Cunningham(71), Oakley(76)
Subs- Southwood, Fjortoft, Hunt(82), Collar, Mimnaugh, Miller(71), Ogkmpoe(76)
Branescu, O’Donnell, Broadfoot(69), Findlay, Taylor, Burke, Power, Dicker, McKenzie, Millar(75), Brophy(80)
Subs- MacDonald, Bruce, Millen, El Makrini, Kiltie(75), Thomas(80), Cameron(69)
Referee- Bobby Madden
Assistants- Dougie Potter & Ross MacLeod
Fourth Official- Colin Steven
Attendance- 2,766 (1500 Away)
Goals- Smith(20), Oakley(49)
Yellow Cards- Burke(84)
Red Cards- Easton(54)