Motherwell 1-4 Hamilton: Swashbuckling Accies put ‘Well to the sword in Lanarkshire Derby

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WITH less than 15 minutes on the clock and Hamilton already one to the good, the ball fell out of the Lanarkshire sky and was collected by Hakeem Odoffin. Taking a touch, the defender-turned-midfield linchpin barely broke stride as he pirouetted beyond the reach of a Motherwell man, drove to the edge of the box, and laid it off with a clever flick to Lee Hodson.

The Northern Irishman’s pinpoint cross eventually found a home on the roof of Liam Kelly’s net, but in just 10 seconds we had the game in a nutshell: confident Accies breathlessly executing Brian Rice’s game plan to leave Motherwell on the canvas.

This was supreme stuff from the south side of Lanarkshire, who produced one of the season’s most thrilling performances to humiliate their local rivals and it’s no exaggeration to say four flattered the hosts.

It was a day to remember for Brian Rice and his team

Everywhere you looked there was a man clad in red-and-white doing his bit for the team. Scott McMann was a force at both ends of the pitch. The effervescent Odoffin seemed to pop up whenever his team needed him most. But it was the attacking triumvirate of Bruce Anderson, Marios Ogkmpoe and Ross Callachan who stole the show as they delivered a goal apiece.

A fine David Moyo strike in the second half ensured that the day, despite Mark O’Hara’s consolation, belonged to Accies.

For those who watch Hamilton with any sort of regularity, recent performances have offered plenty of hope they might yet haul themselves to safety, despite the slightly misleading fact they began the day without a win since the last Lanarkshire Derby.

It’s a shame for Rice they can’t play these games every week – Accies last lost one in August 2019 and have now won all three this season – but having impressed so much against Rangers, he opted for the same starting eleven, sticking to his word and going for the jugular. It worked.

Having come out and taken the initiative from the start, Accies took the lead in fine style with less than ten minutes on the clock. It was the first of three goals Callachan would be at the heart of.

When McMann picked the ball up down the left, the former St Johnstone man drove into space vacated by Stephen O’Donnell, glided onto his team-mate’s pass and quickly prodded it inside to the lurking Anderson. One touch later the ball was in Kelly’s net.

Were it not for a brave block from Bevis Mugabi, Anderson could have had a quickfire second and with each passing game Aberdeen’s decision to allow him to leave looks all the stranger. He’s adapted to Accies like a fish to water and in Ogkmpoe seems to have found the perfect chalk to his cheese.

Some desperate defending slowed the Hamilton whirlwind but they wouldn’t be denied for long. A Hodson cross looked to be going nowhere when Callachan ghosted into the box, causing O’Donnell to panic and haul the midfielder down to the ground.

Chaos was to come when David Munro allowed Callachan to take the kick and score with the now dismissed O’Donnell still on the field, but, undeterred by the need for a retake, the Accies man simply put it the same way and out of the reach of Kelly.

For much of the first half, there was simply no end to Hamilton’s rampant performance in sight and a third goal was the least they deserved. In many ways, they had saved the best for last, Callachan and Anderson combining before the latter squeezed the ball between two Motherwell men and onto the stride of Ogkmpoe. With the composure that’s often deserted him, he found Kelly’s bottom corner.

It was a minor miracle the onlooking directors and substitutes refrained from booing Graham Alexander’s Steelman off at the break. 

Graham Alexander’s side were well beaten

Motherwell improved – or, more likely, Accies restrained themselves – in the second half and were able to get one back when Jamie Hamilton pulled down Devante Cole and O’Hara converted from the spot.

However, any talk of a comeback was quickly quashed by Moyo, who scored with his first touch on the end of another flowing move to put the icing on Accies’ cake.

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