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27/01/24

HAMILTON ACCIES 1-1 MONTROSE

Enforced changes again for Montrose with Williamson, Gardyne and Waddell all unavailable for various reasons. The line up was Gill in goal, then Quinn, Dillon, Graham and Steeves at the back. Midfield started off with Webster, Watson, Shrive and Brown with Lyons and Hester up top.

The Hamilton line up looked very strong and they dictated play as soon as referee Calum Scott got the game underway in front of a modest crowd of 778 which included few Mo fans.

In the first minute Steeves got set to take a throw in which the linesman gave but the referee disagreed, Hamilton took it quickly instead and Steeves was left stranded out of position but all was put right as a Hamilton player was offside. The Accies had the first chance on 6 minutes but the Mo defence got it away at the last gasp. Three corners followed to Hamilton but the Mo defence did enough to get the ball downfield with a Steeves cross which was blocked in the Accies area.

It seemed inevitable that the Hamilton pressure would pay off and it did just that on 16 minutes as a ball was crossed from the left and Kevin O’Hara scored with a well hit low hard shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.

Montrose were getting the ball downfield as often as they could for the chasing forwards Lyons and Hester and hopeful a mistake would happen in the Accies defence but as we reached the 25-minute mark the Mo started to come more into the game. Webster and Hester combined but the final ball was cut out and the 50/50 rebound fell kindly to the Accies.

Watson and Hester combined next but were thwarted by keeper Smith. At the other end O’Hara had a chance to add to the scoreline but his shot went away over the top. Lyons was yellow carded for what was probable dissent when he appeared to be fouled near the corner flag then a Brown shot was saved by keeper Smith. So it stayed at 1-0 at half-time despite Hamilton’s pressure and greater possession.

The second half started with Machado replacing Lyons and Callaghan replacing Shrive. Callaghan soon got into the game and that was an important position to contest midfield where the Accies were dominant in the first half. Gill saved in a 1 on 1 situation then again as the Accies tried even harder to make the game safe but as long as it stayed a single goal Montrose were still in it. 

Indeed Machado had his ‘head in his hands’ and knew he should have scored on 58 minutes but his shot was screwed wide from 15 yards. The Accies bench were frustrated so a double change on 59 minutes brought on Kilday and Hendeson for Hastie and Hewitt. 

Montrose were now having plenty of possession but tactically their play was much different to that of their hosts, but, as long as it remained a one goal lead anything could happen. On 69 minutes Watson was replaced by young Harry Craig and Hester was replaced by young Craig Batchelor to give more impetus and fresh legs up front.

Two more corners for Hamilton were wasted then they replaced Lewis Smith with Andy Winter on 76 minutes. Montrose replaced Brown with young Aulay Martin, who was making his senior debut and on 78 minutes Callaghan was yellow carded for apparently dissent for disputing a throw in which appeared to be clearly ours.

Into the last 10 minutes and despite more pressure from Hamilton it was still only a single goal lead. That changed on 84 minutes as Montrose won a free kick on the right. Over it came and Quinn headed it to the back stick where Luke Graham saw it land at his feet and he slotted it home from close range to make it 1-1.

Could the Mo hang on for the last few minutes plus stoppage time? Kirk came on for Tumilty on 86 minutes and the Accies were camped in the Montrose area in the final few minutes but the Montrose defence held on well and despite having much less possession deservedly gained a point against a strong Hamiton side.

Reporter by Steve Doyle

Post match reaction https://youtu.be/TTNvF40LXlQ?si=JyFlATbhobv7cRVZ