No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Freddie Woodman, Luke Hendrie, Kristoffer Ajer, Steven Smith, Iain Wilson, Greg Taylor , Gary Dicker, Jordan Jones (Adam Frizzell 90), Sean Longstaff (Greg Kiltie 77), Conor Sammon, Kris Boyd .
Subs Not Used: Jamie MacDonald, Karleigh Osborne, Callum Roberts, Innes Cameron, William Graham.
Attendance: 2,482 (1,180 Killie)
James Morrison @ The Superseal Stadium
As much as I have disliked playing Hamilton Accies in SPFL games the trips to the unique Super Seal Stadium (once known as New Douglas Park) have largely been enjoyable and profitable; Saturday’s game was no different with The Fish and the now prolific Jordan Jones sealing the points for the mighty Killie. It could been been very different though - if it had not been for the heroics of the day-glo shirted Woody - who has now won over those of us who felt sorry for last year’s Player of The Year Jamie MacDonald.
In the first few minutes the Newcastle youngster denied Dougie Imrie with a wonderful one handed stop, tipping a net bound shot onto his right hand post to the astonishment of Imrie who had scampered away from Taylor after one of the few errors made by the Killie youngster. Imrie is a player the opposing fans 'love to hate' - in fairness he immediately applauded the save and then went over to congratulate Woodman a few minutes later. I don't think he could believe he hadn't scored!
Killie came into the game and were awarded a free kick when Jones was tripped marauding down the left wing. The returning skipper Smith and Jones tried to work something but only succeeded in striking the ball off a two man Accies wall - corner to Killie. Jones then played a low corner kick to Longstaff who peeled to the front post as some Killie fans groaned; Longstaff laid the ball off to the advancing skipper Smith whose fierce left foot shot was blocked on the line before breaking to The Fish a.k.a. Conor Sammon to stab home the opener. It was actually an excellently worked corner and the improvement in set pieces under McCulloch and Leven has been tremendous to watch. Hard work clearly does pay off!
A further example of that saying was in the 23rd minute when a long throw from Lee Hendrie was flicked on by the head of Kris Boyd to the resurgent Jones who lost his marker and applied an excellent finish for only his 2nd ever goal in professional football but that's now two in three games.
Woody was again called into action when a dangerous Accies cross from their left was met by a combination of that man Imrie and his marker Taylor. The ball seemed to spin off young Greg’s head and looked to be looping into the left corner of Woodman’s net but somehow a combination of the post and the keeper’s amazing acrobatics kept the ball out. The half time whistle blew with most Killie fans knowing we had been clinical in the chances which had come our way but had young Woodman (and the organisation and coolness of Dicker) to thank for denying Accies a goal.
The second half was, in all honesty, a disappointment after the thrills and saves of the first. The Killie keeper again kept his goal intact with a fine diving save to his left and the home side were also denied by a number of committed blocks (mainly from likely Player of The Year Dicker). Referee Collum did incur the wrath of the superb away support by ignoring claims for a penalty for a blatant block on Jones and also a trip and foul which seemed an obvious free kick and yellow card.
Killie were well organised and seemed to be content to “sit in” and hit Accies on the break – perhaps they should have done better in a breakaway when that man Jones unselfishly mis-placed a pass to Boydie when, possibly, he should have taken a shot at goal himself. Overall it was an absolutely vital three points for Killie; the team does seem so much better organised since Lee McCulloch and Peter Leven took over and set pieces are now interesting and exciting whereas under Lee Clark you simply wondered what the players had actually worked on all week.
Another couple of points should ensure we avoid the play off spot but here’s hoping we can win on Saturday at Rugby Park which, for a change, would mean a relaxed few weeks of the season and perhaps finishing as “ best of the rest”. But knowing Killie as we all do…if there is a simple way and a tough way...well...
Lee McCulloch: "I'm delighted with that. The focus has just been ourselves. It's not been anyone up above us or down below us. It's about coming into training every day and getting better every day. Getting better individually and as a team, not just the players but the staff too. Pleased with the result, but we're not home and dry yet. Didn't start too well, great set-play for the goals, something we have worked on several times this week. Peter Leven, the assistant manager, is always full of ideas. It was brilliant to see us get a goal from a set-play, which has been very uncommon this season."
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