By Calum McCrindle
It was a smash and grab three points for Hamilton Accies as they defeated Livingston 2-1 at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Livi were by far the better side throughout the match, creating chance after chance over the course of the 90 minutes, but they could not convert them into three points and it ultimately cost them dear.
It was a fast start to the game as Shaun Want put it into his own net inside the first minute as Livingston grasped the lead. A neat one two between Alan Forrest and Lars Lokotsch down the left allowed the latter to drill a ball low into the box and Pittman was there to tap home for Livi with 40 seconds gone on the clock.
It was Hamilton who would threaten next as Efe Ambrose launched a ball back to Robbie McCrorie in the Livi goal. The Lions keeper did well to gather the ball after a second attempt and preventing David Templeton an easy goal.
An action-packed start to the game showed no signs of slowing down as Jason Holt was booked for leaving Scott Martin in a heap. The Livi man’s challenge was late and high leaving referee Don Robertson with a decision to make on what colour of card was coming out his pocket.
It was Livingston again who would threaten with Pittman weaving his way down the left side again and earning a corner for his exploits. It was Pitman’s delivery that caused issues in the box for the Accies defence as Marvin Bartley nearly made it two. The Lions captain got the better of his marker but could only muster a weak header from five yards out that was plucked from the air by Accies keeper Ryan Fulton.
With Hamilton having little to offer in an attacking sense, frustrations began to arise with David Templeton screaming at Marios Ogkmpoe for not tracking back and it was the Hamilton number 10 who would have their best chance of the half. Turning on the edge of the Livi box he escaped his marker but failed to generate any power to trouble McCrorie in the Lions goal and with Livi one goal to the good at halftime the result only looked like it was heading their way.
The start of the second half was not as lively as the first but Accies emerged with a point to prove; creating more in the open phase than they had for the entire first half. David Templeton was the spark for Hamilton as they toiled for an equaliser and it was on the hour mark when he rifled them back into the game.
Hakeem Odoffin prodded a header of the bar which fell back to Templeton who struck the ball on the half volley leaving McCrorie with no chance at saving his shot. Shortly after it was Templeton again trying his best to turn the tide of the game. This time cutting back on his left foot on the edge of the box and smashing a shot just past the post.
Livingston again threatened as the clock ticked down Pittman this time lashing a shot off the bar from six yards out. The Lions failing to convert another one of their many chances to give them a much needed three points. A frustrating day for Gary Holt’s side got worse just before full-time.
Marvin Bartley gave away a free kick deep inside his half and with Templeton standing over it the ball was placed to the back post and Kyle Munro had the simplest of headers to execute to steal the three points for Accies.
Gary Holt would have lamented his sides lack of finishing as they could have home and dry against Accies by half-time instead they slipped to a home defeat that could not have looked more unlikely. Here are three things we learned.
Forrest and Pitman are key for Livi
Livingston looked threatening all afternoon. Whether they had possession or were on the counter the two danger men were Alan Forrest and Scott Pittman. Although small in stature. Pittman hassled and forced errors wherever he appeared on the pitch. Hamilton won’t be the only team he causes problems.
Alan Forrest has looked every bit a Premiership player since his move from Ayr United in the close season. He linked up well with Pittman for the opener and popped up in pockets of space to help Livi up the park. With only one goal to his name so far in a Livingston shirt he will be keen to add to his tally as the season goes on.
Throughout the game it was clear that Hamilton would struggle for a goal. Marios Ogkmpoe looked isolated up front for Accies and when he did receive the ball, he was wasteful with it.
Hamilton have now scored three in five and while this stat doesn’t look bad on paper only one of those has come from an attacking player. Looking at the loan market may be the best option for Accies to bring someone of quality in but bringing in a veteran striker who knows the game may also do the job.
While Hamilton managed to score two against Livingston their defence didn’t really stop anything Livi had to throw at them. Brian Rice could often be heard screaming “too easy” from the side-lines clearly unimpressed with his side’s effort without the ball.
Cut open inside a minute for the Livingston goal was a wakeup call. In fairness, they did manage to weather the rest of the match in order to win three big points, but Rice will want to use this as a platform to improve and grind out more crucial wins.