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Hamilton Academical 2 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Hamilton Academical 1 - 0 Aberdeen

Challenge Cup
Hamilton Academical scorers: McGowan 37, Munro 66

06/10/2021 | KO: 19:45

10 Man Aberdeen B Lose to Accies in SPFL Trust Trophy

A goal in either half gave Accies a deserved win against a battling Aberdeen side whose cause wasn't helped by the harsh sending off of Dean Campbell after half an hour of a competitive Cup tie in Lanarkshire.

Hamilton came into the tie off the back of a fine home win against Championship leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle but manager Stuart Taylor's starting eleven featured only two men who began that game, ex-Don Miko Virtanen and Reegan Mimnaugh. Six of the seven named substitutes for Accies kicked off against Inverness so Taylor had plenty of strength on his bench if needed.

Meanwhile Barry Robson and Scott Anderson were able to call on the services of Dean Campbell after his brief sub appearance against Celtic on Sunday, but injuries robbed them of the services of Kieran Ngwenya and Ryan Duncan both of whom starred in the victory over Arbroath in the last round of the tournament. However, eight of the men who began against the Red Lichties won starting berths again. Finn Yeats was back after suspension, Mikey Ruth swapped with Liam Harvey to move from the bench to gain a start while the aforementioned Campbell made up the eleven.

Adam McGowan of Accies was the first player to have a shot at goal, his angled effort not causing Tom Ritchie any problems. Aberdeen's first attack saw the Accies defence deal well with Jack Gurr's right-wing cross aimed for Kevin Hanratty making a late run into the box at the far post.

Gurr and Hanratty linked up again on 12 minutes to create an opening, the winger forcing an excellent save from Hilton as he tried to find the keeper's bottom corner. Simple, effective football from the Dons and a fine stop from the keeper who is on loan from Blackburn Rovers.

The Aberdeen defence were playing well as a unit and allowing the home attackers little space, forcing Stirling to try his luck from long distance, but the shot was wildly off target.

On 26 minutes, the Dons came within a whisker of opening the scoring. Hanratty's clever ball found Jack Gurr who cut in from the right before firing a left-footed shot which curled inches wide. After half an hour there was nothing to choose between the sides.

However, a minute later, controversy as Dean Campbell was shown a straight red as he was deemed to have denied Ronan Hughes a goal scoring opportunity after tugging the Accies man back some thirty-five yards from goal with defensive cover coming across. A very harsh decision indeed to make a difficult task for the young Dons even more of a challenge.

From the resultant free-kick, Hughes poked the ball just wide from six yards. On 37 minutes Accies took the lead, the ball being played down the left to the lively McGowan who cut inside and rifled a fine eighteen-yard shot past a helpless Tom Ritchie.

It was nearly two a couple of minutes later, Hughes being denied a shot at goal by a brilliant last-gasp intervention from Jack Milne. Jack MacIver was poleaxed after being smacked in the face by the ball but was able to resume after a couple of minutes of treatment.

Accies were now dominating possession, but the Dons held out to go in at the interval just one goal in arrears. Only time would tell just how much of an influence the ordering off would have on the game.

Half time - Hamilton Academical 1 Aberdeen B 0

Accies replaced David Moyo and Hughes with Lewis Smith and top scorer Andy Ryan. Tom Ritchie produced an outstanding save in the first minute of the second period, tipping Smith's shot on to the post and behind. Moments later some brilliant defending from the Dons denied Ryan who looked poised to double the home team's advantage.

Mikey Ruth showed great strength and technique to wriggle clear from the experienced Brian Easton, but his left-footed shot rose over the bar. Nonetheless a reminder to Accies they were still in a real contest.

Ritchie pulled out yet another top-drawer save to deny Stirling as Accies chased a second goal which would give them breathing space. At the other end, Jack Gurr almost scored a spectacular equaliser on 56 minutes, his opportunist strike from wide out sailing inches past with keeper Hilton stranded.

The game had now become attack v defence as the Dons struggled to get much possession and Easton headed narrowly wide after a corner was drilled in from the left.

The killer second goal arrived on 66 minutes, and it was a beauty Kyle Munro getting the ball on to his left foot and curling a sweet strike out of the reach of a diving Ritchie.

The blue clad Dons were dealt a further blow on 72 minutes when Jack Gurr was forced off after taking the brunt of a full-blooded Smith shot, Timi Fatona replacing the on loan Atlanta man.

Accies were playing some nice football, enjoying the space afforded to them courtesy of the Dons being down to ten men. Barry Robson made a second change with 13 minutes of the 90 remaining as Dylan Lobban replaced MacIver.

Munro saw yellow for a blatant tug on the shirt of Finn Yeats as the youngster tried to mount an attack. Two goals and a man down they may have been, the Dons were still battling hard.

More heroics from Ritchie denied McGowan a second goal as the game moved towards a conclusion but the Dons kept digging into their reserves of energy, defending stoutly and always trying to play good football.

Fatona saw yellow for a tired challenge on McGowan just before the final whistle as the Dons bowed out after a fantastic run in the tournament. The winners of the Kilmarnock v Queens Park will play Hamilton at New Douglas Park in the quarter finals and we wish Accies well.

Hamilton Academical Teamsheet
Hilton, Virtanen, Stirling, Easton, Hamilton, Hughes (Smith 46), Mimnaugh, Moyo (Ryan 46), Munro, McGowan

Unused Substitutes: Scully, MacDonald, Want, Matheson, Redfern

Bookings:  Hughes 19,   Munro 81
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Ritchie, Gurr (Fatona 74), Towler, Hancock, Milne, Yeats, Hanratty, Campbell, Ruth, MacIver (Lobban 77), Mykyta.

Unused Subs: Oluyemi, Harvey, Emslie, McKenzie, Murray.

Bookings:  Fatona (93),  Campbell (31).
Attendance: 400
Venue: New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Next Match
27 Apr 2024 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen