The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Terrors strike early to leave Accies with real fears of drop



An early goal from Marc McNulty was enough to ensure that it’s mathematic­ally impossible for Dundee United to be relegated this season. For Hamilton, though, the news was not so good.

United manager Micky Mellon admitted his side weren’t at their best, but he was delighted that they’ve consolidat­ed their place in the top flight after winning the Championsh­ip last year.

“It was another clean sheet first and our first win on 4G for a long time,” he said. “I’m pleased we know we’ll be playing in the Premiershi­p next season, although I’d like to have seen us be better with the ball.

“We created a lot of chances and could have made the afternoon a bit more comfortabl­e for ourselves, but we’ve got the valuable three points on the road, even without playing with the style we want at times.”

Accies started as if they had been catapulted into the United half.

They were first to every ball, quick to press and Benjamin Siegrist had to beat away a venomous drive from Scott McMann as they sought to find a lead they could hold on to. It didn’t work out that way, however.

Second-choice keeper Kyle Gourlay, in the side due to Ryan Fulton dislocatin­g his knee by slipping on ice outside his home on Wednesday, was badly at fault when United took a sixth-minute lead. The 22-year-old, who began his career at city rivals Dundee, was guilty of a poor kick-out under no pressure, sending the ball straight to Jeandro Fuchs.

With Jamie Hamilton slow to come out, the Cameroon midfielder sent Marc McNulty through on goal and the striker displayed composure to slot the ball behind the advancing Gourlay.

That goal initially knocked the stuffing out of the home side, but they regrouped and began knocking on the door again, although the final ball was poor.

McMann tested Siegrist from 25 yards for a second time and, once again, the Swiss could only push the ball back into traffic. He repeated that response with another long-range effort from Kyle Munro and was fortunate on all three occasions that the rebound didn’t fall to an Accies player.

Hamilton ramped up the pressure and came agonisingl­y close to an equaliser in the 35th minute when Bruce Anderson nodded on a cross from McMann and Ross Callachan nipped in front of Siegrist to send in a lob that scraped the top of the crossbar.

They continued to pin United back after the restart and Munro should have equalised in the 47th minute when Callachan’s shot spun off the keeper, only for the teenager to head wide of the gaping goal from six yards.

It was all Accies and Aaron Hughes then glanced a header wide of the far post after Munro had picked him out from the byline. Hakeem Odoffin then went close on the hour, but Siegrist turned his 20-yard shot behind for a corner.

What were the visitors doing during all this? Not very much, frankly. Fuchs’ long ball released Lawrence Shankland, but the Scotland striker’s attempted chip over Gourlay was hopelessly high.

Hamilton just couldn’t find a cutting edge and their relegation fears have increased as a result.

Substitute Louis Appere should have had a penalty for United late on when he was cleaned out by Odoffin, but referee Bobby Madden awarded a corner instead.

Accies had an equally strong claim in the final minute of stoppage time when Peter Pawlett wrestled McMann to the ground, but Mr Madden didn’t want to know.

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