Hamilton dumped more misery on Motherwell’s bad start to the season with a late 1-0 win over the Steelmen at Fir Park.
After a goalless first half it was Hakeem Odoffin who climbed highest to become a Hamilton hero. His header late in the game allowed his side to pick up a massive three points and lift them above their rivals.
Both teams had one common goal in this game – securing their first wins of the season. Motherwell had picked up a positive point away to Hibs in their last outing alongside a draw with Livingston, whilst Accies had lost their opening three games.
It was Brian Rice’s men who had the first big chance, Marios Ogkmpoe beating Well captain Declan Gallagher in a footrace, leading to a mix-up between goalkeeper Trevor Carson and Robinson’s skipper. Eventually, Ogkmpoe couldn’t scramble it in after Carson’s botched header, Gallagher hooking it away from danger.
Hamilton certainly had the better of the attacking opportunities early on, having a flurry of corners and Justin Johnson breaking one on one with Allan Campbell, although the Well star did excellently to stop Accies’ new winger. Motherwell had some opportunities too though, David Turnbull going close before Sherwin Seedorf hit an effort straight at Ryan Fulton.
Turnbull forced Fulton into a tip round the post again as Well drew nearer to a goal. It was becoming a cagey affair with the home side looking in the ascendency as the Lanarkshire side looked for attacking penetration in the second half.
Fulton again denied Turnbull with a palm over the bar from the dangerous Motherwell man’s effort from range. Jordan White then had a free header but couldn’t convert it on target.
Rice’s team were manning the barricades well at the back but their hosts were getting closer. They were completely dominant, but again, Robinson was left lamenting a lack of cutting edge.
Accies a touch of the ball away at the other end from converting their only chance of the half showed how ruthlessly the Steelmen could be punished for not taking those opportunities. Something had to give for either side to stop this being another game without victory.
Robinson swapped midfielder Campbell for striker Tony Watt in order to get a crucial three points. But again it was Hamilton with a huge chance, a Lewis Smith cross flashing across the line with no takers. The game entered its final ten minutes knowing one goal would settle it.
And one did come. Odoffin rose highest to batter in a header from Reegan Mimnaugh’s corner. In a game where they were largely dominated, Rice’s side showed resillience to win the closing battle and score the vital goal.
It’s a massive first win of the season for them but Motherwell’s bad start to the season has gotten worse. Here are three things we learned
Fulton pulls out all the stops
Rice will be delighted with his keeper’s performance in the Lanarkshire derby.
Not only did Fulton make countless saves to deny mainly Turnbull in claret and amber, he claimed everything that came into his box.
A composed performance, more of this will be key from Fulton if Accies are to keep themselves in games and claim victory.
Huge for Rice
It can’t be underestimated how big a victory this is for Rice. After two poor results at home to teams around them, going to their arch-rivals and securing another Fir Park win gives them some breathing room in the early stages of the season.
In typical Accies fashion, they have come up with a win when nobody expected them to. We should all know this script by now.
Problems for Robinson
On the contrary, this is a damaging result for Motherwell boss Robinson. After a promising result and performance last week against Hibs, following that up was key. They couldn’t do either.
Again they dominated but failed to do much in the final third outside Turnbull. With Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen to play still, not picking up a single win in their opening five, when they have had three homes matches, is a worry. Robinson needs to sort his goal problem, fast.