Hamilton 0-0 Dundee United: Accies miss late penalty

Dundee Utd's Simon Murray (left) battles with Hamilton's Ziggy Gordon

Dundee Utd's Simon Murray (left) battles with Hamilton's Ziggy Gordon

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NOTHING to separate these two at the end of a game which, once all those involved have thawed out, will no doubt feel like a good point, all being told.

United survived a late penalty to take something in their bid to get somewhere near getting back into realistic survival contention and Accies will know it keeps them away from the pack, even if they should have won it in the dying stages.

Certainly the Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, conceded the dressing room had the aura of a defeat rather than a draw following the late spot-kick miss. “We would obviously rather have had the three points, but the penalty miss makes it feel more like a loss and I am trying to rid the dressing room of this.

“Every point is valuable at this stage of the season. What was more important today was not to lose as our aim continues to be to ensure we stay in this league.”

The United manager, Mixu Paat-elainen, felt his team were well worth leaving with something in tow. He said; “This wasn’t our best performance, but a few weeks ago this was a game we would have lost.

“We were more than worthy of a point. We cannot control or affect other results. We just need to look after ourselves.”

No goals, scarcely a chance in the entire dreary encounter and aside from a slightly madcap closing few minutes almost nothing to remember on a day when calling this a stalemate makes it sound more exciting than it actually was.

This wasn’t so much an advert for summer football as it was a calling card to do anything else, as this was truly desperate in the extreme.

It took nearly 20 minutes for anything remotely worthy of calling a chance to appear. United midfielder Guy Demel, a new recruit with the build of a welterweight and the mobility of a paperweight, fired over from the edge of the area with time to set himself and do much better.

Accies had been the better of the two teams inasmuch as they hadn’t been quite as bad as their visitors, but they had to rely on Ali Crawford with a series of distance strikes to register attempts on goal.

At the other end only a good block from Michael McGovern in the Accies goal kept out Simon Murray in what was as close as either team came to breaking the deadlock.

You knew it had been a dreadful spectacle when the biggest cheer of the first half was for an erroneous sprinkler going off on the half-hour mark. By the time referee Steven McLean brought the half to a grinding halt nobody inside New Douglas Park was in any doubt as to why these two teams are entering the closing straight of their respective campaigns with varying degrees of relegation worries.

United were better after the interval, as they got on the front foot and started to turn what had been a largely untroubled home defence. Indeed the rock-bottom Taysiders were denied what looked like a penalty not long into the second half when Lucas Tagliapietra seemed to clip the heels of Coll Donaldson as the United full-back galloped into the area, which brought the bizarre scenario post-match of Canning agreeing it was a penalty and Paatelainen claiming the referee called it correctly.

Accies got a penalty award as full-time neared for a clear-cut foul by Paul Paton on Dougie Imrie. Crawford however fluffed his lines, sending a poor penalty crashing off the legs of United keeper Eiji Kawashima.

Bad went to worse for the home team when in the dying embers defender Mikey Devlin was dismissed for a second, utterly needless caution.

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