Hamilton picked up their first three invaluable points of the season on Saturday afternoon as Hakeem Odoffin’s late header won the all-important Lanarkshire Derby.
Accies had a slow start to the season with three consecutive defeats but stunned their local rivals on their own patch to pull themselves off the bottom of the table.
Hakeem Odoffin, who was recruited from Livingston, got on the end of Regan Mimnaugh’s corner and bulleted home the winner on the 86th minute.
Motherwell are still looking for their first win of the season and despite being dominant for the majority of the game, struggled to break down a very well-organised Hamilton defence and couldn’t beat an in-form Ryan Fulton.
Credit has to go to the visitors though as they held their own and created opportunities as well, but it was a fantastic managerial switch by Brian Rice that changed the game in the closing stages.
The first chance fell to the visitors. Marios Ogkmpoe contested with Trevor Carson for a high-ball and headed towards goal following a poor back-pass from Declan Gallagher, but the Motherwell captain managed to recover by hooking the ball to safety.
Hamilton looked lively on the counterattack and should’ve made more of an opportunity when David Templeton released Justin Johnson down the line.
The winger hesitated and that allowed Allan Campbell to track back and make a timely challenge.
The Steelmen stepped it up and began to start posing more of an attacking threat.
Mark O’Hara found some space on the edge of the box and his fierce drive was deflected wide by Odoffin before Fulton turned David Turnbull’s 25-yard strike round the post.
Stephen Robinson’s side nearly took the lead on the brink of half-time, but again Fulton made a fabulous save to deny Turnbull.
Shortly after the re-start Fulton denied Turnbull for a third time as the midfielder tried his luck from range but Fulton was well positioned to palm his effort over the bar.
Jordan White also had a free header but could only glance it wide.
Accies were defensively solid throughout but going forward were lacking a cutting edge and were struggling to create as much as they’d have hoped for.
All the credit has to go to the Accies gaffer as he made three game-changing substitutions with 20 minutes remaining, bringing on his well thought of youngsters.
David Moyo, Scott Martin and Marios Ogkmpoe all made way with Regan Mimnaugh, Callum Smith, and Andrew Winter all coming on.
The substitutions injected some fresh life into the visitors and they crafted their best opportunity of the afternoon together on the 72nd minute.
Regan Mimnaugh delivered a brilliant ball into the box following a free-kick and Ross Callachan was presented with a golden chance to break the deadlock, but couldn’t sort his feet out quick enough.
Robinson took a gamble to try claim all three points, bringing on Tony Watt for Allan Campbell but it badly backfired.
With 10 minutes remaining, Lewis Smith’s corner flashed across the face of goal and Odoffin somehow managed to miss the target from a couple of yards out.
However, he didn’t make any mistake second time around as he rose highest from Mimnaugh’s corner to head home his first Hamilton goal.
Accies showed a tremendous amount of character and resilience to grind out a vital three points and that could be the lift that the South Lanarkshire side needed to kick-start their season.
FULL TIME: Motherwell 0-1 Hamilton
MOTHERWELL: Carson, O’Donnell, Gallagher, Mugabi, Lamie, O’Hara, Campbell (Hastie, 81), Turnbull, Seedorf (Watt, 81), Lang (Hylton, 54), White (Long, 60).
Subs (not used): Morrison (GK), Grimshaw, Maguire, Polworth, Robinson.
Bookings: O’Donnell (81), Gallagher (82)
HAMILTON: Fulton, Hodson, Odoffin, Want, McMann, Johnston, (L. Smith, 34) Callachan, Martin (C. Smith, 67), Templeton (Trafford, 54), Moyo (Mimnaugh, 67), Ogkmpoe (Winter, 67).
Subs (not used): Gourlay (GK), Hamilton, Fjortoft, Owolabi.