No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Imrie (49), Crawford (64)
21: Jamie MacDonald, 14: Mark OHara,
18: Lee Ashcroft , 26: Conrad Balatoni,
22: Kevin McHattie, 19: Craig Slater,
04: Jamie Hamill (08: Scott Robinson 66) (17: Aaron Splaine 75),
11: Kallum Higginbotham, 16: Tope Obadeyi (09: Kris Boyd 66),
23: Greg Kiltie, 28: Josh Magennis
David Shaw @ Rugby Park
Killie welcomed Hamilton to Rugby Park to show them how a real artificial surface should feel like – dangerous! With two league wins on the trot, a spirited (if not unfortunate) midweek display against ‘next season’s new signings’, and a striker finally scoring goals, Killie entered the arena confident of destroying the Accies.
Hamilton might not be the best supported team in the world, but they did used to boast one of the game’s most infamous supporters – the inimitable ‘Fergie’. Fergie had the loudest voice ever heard in Scottish football which is probably why he ended up in the Black Eyed Peas!
Killie made two changes to the team that lost to Hearts, with McDonald and McHattie returning to the starting line-up, and it was the hosts who started the brightest. However, both keepers hardly had a notable save to make until the 22nd minute when Obadeyi played in Kiltie, racing clear on the right. Alas, McGovern made the first of many fine stops to thwart the Killie youngster.
On the half hour, good link-up play from Magennis and Obadeyi set up Kiltie again on the penalty spot but his powerful drive was blocked by the Accies resilient defence. Nevertheless, only four minutes later, the breakthrough finally came for Killie and it was third time lucky for Kiltie who raced in on goal from a Higginbotham through ball, to calmly side foot past the helpless keeper from 6 yards.
Accies then woke up and tried their best to attack the Killie rearguard, with the impressive Ali Crawford seeing a low drive saved by McDonald, followed by a blatant dive by Imrie who claimed that Obadeyi fouled him in the box. But as the first half drew to a close it was Killie who should have added to their lead. A Magennis header was well saved and then a cutback for Obadeyi should have bulged the net instead of being volleyed narrowly wide. Still, Killie were playing well and surely would destroy Accies in the second half.
The start of the second period found Accies on the front foot and Crawford tried his luck but blazed high and wide. Then, Killie broke up field and a fantastic run and cut back by Obadeyi should have brought a goal for McHattie, but the defender’s drive was deflected wide by Garcia Tena. Killie would ultimately pay the price for this miss as Accies immediately equalised. Imrie was sent clear in the box and he lashed a tremendous volley in off the crossbar.
Killie were left shell-shocked and Accies game grew in confidence. Imrie tried again from long range but this time nearly hit the corner flag, whilst in-between McHattie and Balatoni both ballooned good opportunities over the bar. Christian Nade came on for Accies and immediately rugby-tackled McHattie before shooting wide – referee Robertson oblivious to the obvious infringement.
After 64 minutes, Accies stole the lead. Docherty collected a loose ball just outside Killie’s penalty box and squared for Crawford to net from 5 yards as the home defence completely switched off. Spurred on by this setback, Killie threw the kitchen sink at Accies, with McGovern saving brilliantly from a fabulous Higginbotham strike and then Magennis hooking a shot over when it seemed easier to score. Then, with 20 minutes to go, Boyd and Robinson replaced Tope and Hamill as Killie tried to freshen things up.
Shortly after, a brilliant run by O’Hara was halted just outside the Accies penalty box. McHattie’s free kick caused a ‘Montford stramash’ in the box before the ball was finally cleared. This lucky escape set the scene for Accies to blatantly start time-wasting. Killie tried to force the play but the Hamilton defence stayed rock solid, kicking the ball into the stands at every opportunity. Magennis again blasted over the bar and Slater had a drive deflected into the arms of the fortunate McGovern. Then, substitute Robinson had to go off injured to be replaced by Splaine – possibly another victim of the ‘plastic fantastic’ surface?
As time slowly petered out, Imrie ran in front of Ashcroft on the right wing and threw himself to the ground. Shockingly, referee Robertson booked Ashcroft before subsequently awarding Imrie another foul when he clearly fell over the ball. In the final minute, Imrie again broke free and Ashcroft tugged at the front man’s shirt causing him to fall like a stone. Ashcroft was sent off as Imrie further enhanced his reputation, although it was a foul this time.
After 5 minutes of injury-time, referee Robertson blew for full time to prove that he could at least get one decision right and Killie were again beaten at home. It was a hard one to take for the home fans as Killie were by far the better team, especially in the first half, but there was no doubt that Accies defended their box better – albeit a tad fortunate at times. The great Fergie may even have cracked a smile!
Gary Locke: "I thought we were the better team for the majority of the game and one of the things that disappointed me was that we didn't take our chances. We created a lot but we've got to be more ruthless in front of goal. And the goals we lost, the first one especially, we have to do better. You can't just let the boy get the ball in the middle of the pitch and turn. To be fair to Dougie, it's a fantastic strike, but it's a slack goal from our point of view.I was really happy with the way that we played, but we've got to be more ruthless in front of goal. Because we missed the chances, at 1-0 anything can happen and Hamilton started he second half that little bit brighter than we did."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission