The recent good run of results came to a halt in Hamilton today in a match in which neither defence really looked able to cope with the opposition attack but Accies took more of their chances than we did and deserved their win as a result.
Queens made just one change to the side which had won at Cowdenbeath last weekend. Club Captain Chris Higgins came in to make his 100th start as a replacement for Kevin Holt at left back and it was Higgins who twice almost gave us a dream start inside the first two minutes. From an early corner his powerful header struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down in front of the line and away from goal again. The ball was immediately played back in and it was Higgins again who met it, this time with a lower header which beat Blair Currie in the home goal but was headed off the line by a defender.
Higgins cracks the bar with a header in the first minute
McKenna sees his header cleared by a defender
Accies made full use of their early let off and took the lead from their own first attack. A deep free kick was played from about the halfway line into the heart of the Queens penalty area. Although the initial effort was blocked the loose ball dropped perfectly about eight yards out for Louis Longridge to fire into the net. If that wasn`t already a bad enough start to the game, a one goal deficit became two goals less than five minutes later in a fairly similar manner. This time it was from a right sided corner kick. The ball was crossed into the box and was only partly cleared, falling perfectly at the edge of the six yard box for Mickael Antoine-Curier to sweep into the net.
Just before the goal Iain Russell had been booked for continual dissent after not being awarded an early penalty and the left sided striker walked a tightrope with referee Calum Murray for the rest of the game. However, after a spell of Accies pressure where they came close to a third goal but failed to get one, it was Russell who got us back in the contest. Lyle burst clear up the right side and crossed into the box where Russell had a swing at it but miscued horribly. It wasn`t cleared though and Michael Paton fired a shot back in from the edge of the box that was flicked on by a defensive head and dropped perfectly at the back post for Iain Russell to prod into the net.
Russell watches closely as his strike finds the back of the net
Queens then got themselves on top for most of the rest of the half but couldn`t find an equaliser. There was some controversy not long before the break though when Derek Lyle appeared to take an arm in the face from Mikey Devlin when challenging for a header. The striker was clearly furious about it and, after receiving lengthy treatment, complained vehemently to both referee and assistant about it until the assistant put his flag up and called Mr Murray over to show a yellow card to Lyle. The next couple of aerial challenges were certainly of the no quarter given variety and Lyle was soon on the ground getting treatment for another head knock before Russell too appeared to take an arm from Devlin. It was perhaps just as well the half time whistle arrived when it did to give things time to calm down!
Lyle is challenged
The second half began with Queens having made a tactical substitution. Gavin Reilly replaced Kevin Dzierzawski as we moved to a front two. However it was Accies who almost scored three minutes in when James Keatings clattered a shot from the edge of the box off the bar, probably via a tipped save from Clark. At the other end soon after though it was Currie tipping wide a close strike from Paton. From the resulting corner, Derek Lyle peeled away to the back post and met the ball with a header that for the second time on the day beat the Accies keeper but not a defender on the line and was cleared away. Durnan then headed over from a corner when he had a great chance to equalise. It looked like a goal had to come soon and it did, but at the other end. A Queens set piece was cleared away and Accies broke quickly upfield. James Keatings again was the man with a fierce shot from outside the box which Zander Clark blocked but could only parry straight back up the field where it was met by Ali Crawford who picked his spot in the top corner.
The match wasn`t by any means over though and Queens kept pushing with Lyle very unfortunate to see another header from a set piece tipped wide by Currie before Ian McShane came on to replace Stephen McKenna. Within a minute Mark Durnan joined the list of Queens players on a booking after going through the back of a forward in attempting to get the ball. He was soon followed in by Paul Burns who slid in to prevent Tony Andreu bursting into the box onto a loose ball. The resulting free kick was headed away by Higgins and Danny Carmichael came on for Burns to complete the Queens changes.
Lyle sees his header slip past the post late on
Ziggy Gordon became the second Accies player booked with ten minutes to go for a foul on Paton but Accies saw the game through to injury time with little further concern in front of goal and a succession of substitutions designed to waste a little time. There was still time in the closing moments for Russell to break through on goal and be denied a second goal when his shot clipped the heel of Currie in goal and deflected millimetres wide of the left post. It summed up our luck in front of goal on the day. One off the bar, two cleared of the line and a series of saves from young Currie in goal whilst at the other end all three goals conceded came from Accies players reacting sharper to loose balls in our box. It just wasn`t our day. It`s a ground on which we have a terrible record of just one win in 15 attempts now and this was our third loss to Accies in the League this season already, though we did of course beat them in the Scottish Cup. We now have two successive home games to try to get things back on track in the League.