Hamil­ton roll out wel­come mat with

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

A THE­ORY has of­ten been ad­vanced that foot­ball clubs who have in­stalled ar­ti­fi­cial pitches, like Hamil­ton, have an un­fair ad­van­tage over vis­it­ing sides who are un­fa­mil­iar with the unique roll and bounce of their syn­thetic sur­face.

It is an al­le­ga­tion that their man­ager Martin Can­ning has of­ten re­futed, and at present his side are cer­tainly do­ing their ut­most to blow the the­ory right out of the wa­ter.

It was six months to the day since Hamil­ton last won a match at New Dou­glas Park as they wel­comed Partick This­tle on Satur­day, and a se­cond-half fight­back from Alan Archibald’s men saw yet an­other three points de­part with a vis­it­ing side as Ac­cies boosted their rep­u­ta­tion as the most hos­pitable club in the coun­try.

“It was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing,” sighed cap­tain Michael McGovern, who was left hor­ri­bly ex­posed for the two sec­ond­half goals that sunk his side. “I felt we played well in the first half, but in the se­cond half we didn’t play well at all.

“The story of the game is that we didn’t de­fend our box for both goals. We prob­a­bly had five or six boys who didn’t get pass marks. But even with that, we could still have prob­a­bly got a re­sult if we de­fend bet­ter at the goals.”

It had all looked to be go­ing so well for the hosts in the early stages. This­tle’s David Amoo fluffed his lines with a great chance in the first minute, but af­ter that, Hamil­ton took con­trol of a first half that should have reaped greater re­wards than a soli­tary goal.

Vis­it­ing de­fender Liam Lind­say picked up a ham­string prob­lem in the warm up and was re­placed just be­fore kick-off by at­tacker Ryan Ed­wards.

It was a de­vel­op­ment that ul­ti­mately was to This­tle’s ben­e­fit, but ini­tially the reshuf­fle seemed to un­set­tle them, and they were no­tice­ably dis­jointed in the open­ing pe­riod. Hamil­ton re­quired just 11 min­utes to take ad­van­tage.

A long, di­ag­o­nal ball over the head of makeshift right-back Sean Welsh found Gramoz Kur­taj, who twisted and turned be­fore cut­ting the ball back to the on­rush­ing Greg Docherty to slam the ball high into the net.

They should have been fur­ther ahead when Docherty burst through mid­field but de­layed play­ing in Ea­monn Bro­phy, who even­tu­ally fin­ished well only to be de­nied by the as­sis­tant’s flag.

A half-time tac­ti­cal tweak from This­tle, push­ing Ed­wards up top along­side Mathias Pogba, paid im­me­di­ate div­i­dends as they set about turn­ing the match on its head.

The equaliser came just five min­utes af­ter the restart, as Ste­vie Lawless wrig­gled clear on the left and dinked a de­light­ful ball to the back post where Pogba met it flush with a div­ing header to drag his side back into the game.

This­tle looked the like­lier to find a win­ner, but it took them un­til six min­utes from time to find it.

Sub­sti­tute Kris Doolan latched on to a flick and scam­pered away down the right be­fore lift­ing his head and drilling the ball across per­fectly for Ed­wards to stoop and head home from six yards.

“Those balls into the box caused us prob­lems,” ad­mit­ted McGovern.

“Apart from that I didn’t re­ally have any­thing to do. It was a re­ally quiet game for me, but that just shows you.

“Fair play to Partick This­tle. They were ruth­less and took their chances. But it’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing from our point of view.

“When we are not play­ing well, we have to learn to dig in and de­fend bet­ter.”

There was a feel­ing of vin­di­ca­tion about this re­sult for Partick This­tle, who moved into sev­enth place with the vic­tory, as Alan Archibald’s half-time tac­ti­cal switch paid div­i­dends and for­wards Pogba and Ed­wards — get­ting just their se­cond and first goals for the club, re­spec­tively — re­paid their man­ager’s faith in them.

“You see what hap­pens when they put the ball in there to me and you see the re­sult,” said Pogba, who has been crit­i­cal of a lack of ser­vice from his team-mates.

“We need to keep do­ing this and hope­fully we can win the next three games be­fore the split.

“It was a great re­sult to­day. That’s what we were look­ing for and ev­ery­body is very happy. Now we have to keep that go­ing.

“It was a bet­ter team ef­fort in the se­cond half. We had been work­ing on press­ing all week, and then in the first 20 min­utes it wasn’t hap­pen­ing.

“We had to cor­rect that, and in the se­cond half we switched on, put the diesel in our bod­ies and went for it.

“The re­sult was three points.”

AGONY AND EC­STASY: McGovern vents his frus­tra­tion as Partick This­tle’s Ryan Ed­wards en­joys his late win­ner

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