Accies steal victory as Falkirk succumb to penalty and red card

Falkirk 1, Hamilton Academical 2

By Ralph Mellon
Saturday, 17th July 2021, 4:52 pm
Falkirk goalscorer Aidan Nesbitt in a tussle with Hamilton's Reegan Mimnaugh (picture by Michael Gillen)
Falkirk goalscorer Aidan Nesbitt in a tussle with Hamilton's Reegan Mimnaugh (picture by Michael Gillen)

Falkirk suffered a dose of the summertime blues as Hamilton came from behind to steal this Premier Sports League Cup tie.

The Bairns escaped a couple of missed chances by more commanding Accies side early in the first half and scored early in the second period.

It looked as if this may be enough but Falkirk fell victime to a penalty decision and a red card, which allowed Accies a route back in, before they grabbed a second goal with four minutes remaining.

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This was far from a summer sizzler David Moyo had a great chance to put Hamilton ahead after just four minutes when a through ball put him clear through on goal. But his shot was poor and home keeper Robbie Mutch saved it with his feet, before making a clean catch from the ensuing corner kick by Ronan Hughes.

Soon afterwards, at the opposite end, Callumn Morrison swung in a cross-cum-shot which found empty space but drifted perilously near the Accies goal as keeper Joe Hilton stood and watched it go past.

After Falkirk escaped from another defensive blunder, and had a penalty shout ignored, a 10th-minute cross from the right from Moyo found Hughes completely unmarked in the box. But Mutch saved well again from a chance which should have been converted.

Mutch was down low to smother the ball again in 23 minutes after it landed in the box from another Hamilton free kick. Accies were spending more time in the Falkirk half in the opening part of the game, forcing a number of free kicks and corners, but found the Falkirk stopper in good form.

The home side put some pressure on just after the half hour, following some good touches on the right flank by Morrison and a corner kick from Charlie Telfer.

The ball was headed towards the target by Paul Dixon but cleared on the line by Reegan Mimnaugh, who made another defensive clearance with his head seconds later.

Right at the end of the first half, Seven Hetherington tried a clever overhead kick, following some more good work by Morrison, but the midfielder’s attempt caused no trouble at all for Hilton.

Falkirk took the lead almost immediately after the start of the second half thanks to a defensive howler from Hamilton. A stray pass went straight to Aidan Nesbitt and his shot past Hilton was a little tentative but found the target.

Telfer shot just past the keeper’s left hand post five minutes later as the Bairns tried to build a bit of continuity. Leon McCann fired a decent opportunity over the bar just after the hour mark, following more slack play in the Accies rearguard.

Hamilton secured a couple of corner kicks midway through the half but Falkirk’s defence was alert enough to clear the danger. Brian Rice’s side was gradually putting more advances together at this stage but no one in their ranks looked like posing a major threat, although Lewis Spence wasn’t far off with a left-foot shot on 75 minutes..

But the game was turned on its head on 78 minutes when Accies pulled level from the penalty point and Falkirk were reduced to 10 men.

Accies sub Andy Ryan was hauled back in the box by Gary Miller, who was shown a red card by referee Steven McLean.

Ronan Hughes clinically fired the spot kick into the bottom left hand corner.

Eight minutes later, Mutch punched clear from an Accies corner kick but the ball was knocked back into the area and Jamie Hamilton looped a header over the despairing Falkirk defence.

Falkirk: Mutch, R. Williamson, Dixon, Miller, Morrison (Keena 90), Hetherington, Nesbitt (Hall 80), McGuffie (Wilson 60), McCann, Dowds (Ross 60), Telfer.

Subs: Martin, Wilson, Ross, Keena, Weekes, C. Williamson.

Hamilton Academical: Hilton, Spence, Hamilton, Stirling, Smith (Munro 57), Macdonald, Want, Mimnaugh (Redfern 75), Smith, Hughes, Moyo (Ryan 75).

Subs: Smith, Meikle, Easton, McGowan, Gaffney, McGinn.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance: 723.