Hamilton 1 - 1 Dundee: Darian MacKinnon rescues point for Accies in stoppage time

A tremendous injury-time finish from Accies stalwart Darian MacKinnon meant a share of the spoils for two teams whose respective fanbases have been given a new lease of life from the activities of the January transfer window.
Dundee's Martin Woods (left) and Darian MacKinnon.Dundee's Martin Woods (left) and Darian MacKinnon.
Dundee's Martin Woods (left) and Darian MacKinnon.

Dundee gave debuts to five new signings in the starting XI while another made his maiden bow from the substitutes bench. Accies, meanwhile, had the most significant alteration to the first-team make-up as manager Martin Canning was jettisoned off the back of eight defeats in a winless run of nine.

Brian Rice was quickly brought in as his replacement. Upon his unveiling he promised a supporters base that had become disgruntled with the previous incumbent that things would be different. From this point forward, against suitable opposition, Accies would play an attacking brand of football that their followers could be proud of.

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The early signs were certainly encouraging in that regard. The hosts went with a narrow 4-3-3 formation with natural No.10s Anthony Andreu and Steven Boyd supporting deadline day signing George Oakley. When things got stale after a bright opening he brought two attacking players off the bench and finished the match in what was essentially a 4-2-4.

“I said to the boys in the dressing room, if we can get Darian to score from there we can do anything,” joked Rice after the game.

“We kept going. I asked them to do that, to be positive, to send the fans home happy so they can go for a pint with their pals and say, ‘we had a real go today’.”

Accies pinned back their opponents and created three chances in the opening ten minutes. Andreu sent a shot wide inside 60 seconds before Boyd threatened three minutes later, charging on goal at a narrow angle and unsuccessfully attempting to curl his shot inside the far post. Oakley and Andreu then had two opportunities inside the six-yard box. Oakley’s effort was saved before Andreu’s shot on the rebound was cleared off the line.

The passing soon became sloppy from the home side and, unable to sustain their momentum, Dundee were able to get themselves into the match.

The away side should have been ahead just after the half-hour mark when Nathan Ralph’s cross found Martin Woods running in, completely alone inside the six-yard box. The midfielder fired his finish too close to Gary Woods, though it was still a great reaction save.

He upped those heroics ten minutes later when Andy Dales’ effort from the edge of the area was deflected toward the far corner. It looked certain to be a goal under Woods’ hand appeared to fingertip it wide of goal.

Unimpressed with his side’s beginning to the second half, Rice withdrew Boyd and Martin and chucked on a pair of attackers in Mickel Miller and Steven Davies. Dundee boss Jim McIntyre made a change of his own, introducing Paul McGowan for Ethan Robson in the centre, and the visitors were ahead a short time later. A counter attack from an Accies set-piece eventually saw the ball find its way to Scott Wright inside the penalty area after a ricochet had dropped at his feet. The winger may have been fortunate to receive the ball, but he used that luck very well, feinting a shot to commit Matthew Kilgallon to a challenge before placing his finish beyond Woods.

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Accies were almost level soon after when McGowan’s deflected shot wrong-footed Seny Dieng in the Dundee goal. The keeper recovered very well to shift his weight and get down in time to push the effort away.

The on-loan QPR stopper would then blot his copybook in the first minute of stoppage time. Though he could do nothing about MacKinnon’s terrific finish from 18 yards, he was culpable after a miscontrolled clearance gave Accies possession deep in the Dundee half, which they took full advantage of with the well-deserved equaliser.

After the full-time whistle the home crowd stayed behind to applaud the efforts of their players and gave Rice a roar of approval as he left the field. It wasn’t an ideal result against a fellow relegation contender and there will be much sterner tests to come, but it was a step in the right direction.