Hamilton 1 – 1 Motherwell: Marios Ogkmpoe rescues late point for Accies
As derbies go, this one had pretty much everything; a bit of quality, a lot of bad-tempered tackling and a dramatic denouement to send at least the Hamilton supporters home happy.
In truth, it was a match which Motherwell should have had won by the interval. However, as so often happens, their failure to exploit long periods of superiority came back to bite them and cost them victory, much to the dismay of manager Stephen Robinson.
“We’re disappointed to come away with a point after we dominated the first half and played some brilliant football,” he said. “We had chances to finish them off and didn’t take them and, when that happens, you give people a lifeline, albeit they scored from an individual error.
“Grimmy [Liam Grimshaw] made a mistake but listen, he’s been fantastic for me all season. I thought the second half was dead and the heat might have played a part in that.
“The quality wasn’t great at times on that surface but you know when you’re playing on it that you don’t take chances with 50-50 decisions and the mistake was just one of those things.
“Hamilton were revitalised when we didn’t finish them off but we’ll learn from that, take a decent point and work on it again during the week.”
James Scott, starting for Motherwell in place of the misfiring Curtis Main, manufactured an early opening with impressive improvisation and close control. First he lobbed the ball over Ziggy Gordon and then feinted to wrong-foot Matt Kilgallon but his venomous drive from 15 yards was pushed away by Gary Woods.
Centre-back Tom Aldred initially believed he had broken the deadlock with a firm header from David Turnbull’s corner but his effort rebounded off the crossbar and the visitors couldn’t manage to force the rebound home.
Barring the odd flurry from the hosts, it was one-way traffic and Motherwell’s pressure finally paid off when Woodss and his defenders left an inswinging cross from Liam Grimshaw for each other and Turnbull capitalised on their procrastination by nipping in to volley home from six yards.
The DJ played Highway To Hell as the players trooped off the pitch at the interval, although whether he was being ironic or prescient was open to debate, at least until the hosts notched their late equaliser.
On another weekend of controversial officiating, referee Don Robertson inexplicably failed to dismiss Hamilton’s Darian MacKinnon and Aaron McGowan for studs-up lunges and Motherwell substitute Chris Cadden struck the crossbar with a cross/shot.
However, it was another arrival from the bench, Greek striker Marios Ogkmpoe – only now recovering from a serious knee injury sustained last season – who made the more telling contribution.
He latched on to a lazy pass from Grimshaw and smashed it behind Mark Gillespie from an acute angle to leave Accies two points above second-bottom St Mirren.
Manager Brian Rice was quick to sing Ogkmpoe’s praises afterwards.
“I am absolutely delighted for the big guy,” he said. “I didn’t know him when he came in – I thought he was a big waiter. He is a fantastic boy and a young lad trying to make his way in the game.
‘I found him a wee bit slack when I came in but I’ve had a good chat with him most days and I tell him that hard work is his best mate and I get him to repeat it back to me.
“I’m on top of him all the time because he has something.
“He has power and he has pace and he scored a very important goal for us. Marios has had a bad injury and I couldn’t be happier for him. I was praying for half-time so that we could regroup.
I changed the shape a bit and I couldn’t have asked for any more in the second half as we were terrific. We put them under real pressure, got the equaliser and I don’t think anybody can say that we didn’t deserve it.”