Can­ning happy as his 10-man Ac­cies land late sucker punch

The Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - BY MARK WALKER

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.”

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