Hamilton 0 - 1 Motherwell: Few home comforts for under-fire Accies

Motherwell's Chris Cadden holds off Darian MacKinnon (right)Motherwell's Chris Cadden holds off Darian MacKinnon (right)
Motherwell's Chris Cadden holds off Darian MacKinnon (right)
Home is where the hatred is for Hamilton, who have now gone 11 games without a victory at New Douglas Park. This latest reverse leaves them just two points clear of Kilmarnock, current occupants of the Premiership play-off position.

The disappointment was too much for some home fans to bear and several of them rounded on player/manager Martin Canning at the final whistle, delivering gratuitous personal abuse and calls for his head.

Canning maintained a dignified silence during the storm but he knows he has a real fight on his hands if he and his players are to retain their top-tier status.

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“If we were getting dominated and battered from pillar to post, I’d say we’re doing something wrong,” he said. “But there wasn’t a lot in the game. We created the best opportunities and should have won. It’s frustrating. There’s not a lot I can say, apart from that everyone, players, staff are trying their best.

“Everybody here is fighting as hard as they can to put points on the board and keep ourselves in the league. That was our target at the start of the season.

“You can understand [the fans’ reaction]. As a passionate fan of any football club, you want your team to win, but when you’re the smallest club in the division by some distance you’re punching above your weight.”

The visitors looked the brighter side from the start and there were cautions for Ziggy Gordon, Antons Kurakins and Darian Mackinnon for fouls on Marvin Johnson and Louis Moult (the latter two) inside the opening ten minutes.

Unfortunately, referee Kevin Glancy had more in his notebook than the reporters present for much of the first half.

Dougie Imrie ought to have fired Hamilton in front after finding himself one-on-one with Connor Ripley in the 33rd minute but he failed to hit the target from 15 yards.

At the other end, Michael McGovern pulled off the first notable save of the afternoon, throwing himself to his left to claw out a long-range drive from Stephen Pearson.

However, Motherwell took the lead on the stroke of half-time when a Scott McDonald effort struck the post before being turned behind for a corner.

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Moult met Steven Hammell’s inswinger, the striker’s header caught McGovern flush in the face and Louis Lang lashed the rebound into the roof of the net.

A scuffed clearance by Mikey Devlin allowed Moult to release McDonald at the start of the second half but McGovern saved bravely at the striker’s feet.

Motherwell passed up a glorious opportunity to secure the points ten minutes from time.

McGovern was booked for bringing down Chris Cadden as he raced on to Johnson’s through ball but Moult missed from the penalty shot, pulling his attempted conversion wide.

In fairness to the striker, he had to wait several minutes between the decision being taken and him being allowed to take it, due to the hosts hotly contesting the award and the fourth official reporting both management teams to Glancy.

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee had become involved in an altercation with Hamilton kitman Danny Cunning, which he confessed to afterwards.

“I’m a bit embarrassed about that,” said McGhee. “There was someone on their bench who claimed that it was a dive for our penalty and I simply said that it wasn’t, that the goalkeeper had caught him – and it all kicked off from there!

“I’m just glad he didn’t get to me because he looked quite angry. There was no gamesmanship, it was just blind rage.

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“They don’t want their team to lose and he didn’t want them to have a penalty awarded against them. I’m not knocking him for it.”

Victory, their first in eight attempts at New Douglas Park, moved Motherwell up to seventh place, just one point behind St Johnstone and the sanctuary of the top six.