Canning happy as his 10-man Accies land late sucker punch
A LATE goal from substitute Mason Bloomfield, just a minute after Mikel Miller had been sent off for the hosts, earned Hamilton Accies a priceless yet almost completely undeserved victory against Livingston. But it’s wins like this, season after season, that ensure Hamilton always survive.
The West Lothian side should have been out of sight even before Hamilton were reduced to 10 men with three minutes to go. They missed chance after chance with Jack McMillan, Scott Pittman and Dolly Menga all blowing glaring opportunities.
Yet 21-year-old, on-loan Norwich City striker Bloomfield took his chance by netting his first senior goal a minute after the sending-off to give Accies their third win of the season.
And manager Martin Canning was thrilled at the unexpected success. He said: “It was a huge three points for us. There wasn’t a lot in the game and there wasn’t a lot of quality. Livingston make you defend your box and they put a lot of balls in, so we knew we had to defend well and we did that. The back four were fantastic.
“It is credit to Mason because he hasn’t had as many chances as he would have liked but his attitude has been spot on. All the boys work hard and that is a wee lesson for everyone that if you keep working hard you will get an opportunity. He will feel a million dollars and rightly so.”
Accies did actually miss a great first-half chance themselves when Fredrik Brustad had just Liam Kelly to beat, but the former Rangers goalkeeper made a fine outstretched save.
But after that, it was a procession towards the home goal and Livingston missed a succession of opportunities as they bossed proceedings. But just when a stalemate seemed inevitable, the game changed within a remarkable minute.
Firstly, Miller was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Steven Lawson. That prompted Livi to push up in search of a winner, but they got caught by a sucker punch as Bloomfield used his strength to shrug off Livingston’s chasing pack and collect Steven Boyd’s pass before drilling a composed finish past Kelly to stun the dominant visitors, who also hit the crossbar in injury time through Bobby Burns.
Livingston manager Gary Holt said: “We’ve got to take our chances. They weren’t half-chances, they were good chances. Then we’ve got to be cleverer and more street-wise late in the game. You take one for the team when they are breaking late in the game. You take a point at that stage, You don’t give it away.
“You don’t hand the initiative to your opponents and we weren’t street-wise enough in that instance and it has cost us a point.”