10-man Motherwell crashed to a cruel Cup defeat at home to Hamilton Accies despite equalising twice during the match.
Former Everton defender Adam Cummins was red carded after just eleven minutes; the scouser was sent packing for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity when he brought down James Martin on the edge of the area.
By the letter of the law, referee Nick Walsh was correct but the 18-year old can feel hard done to as it was more a clash of legs than a trip as the defender tried to recover against his pacy opponent.
Andy Ryan put the visitors ahead some fifteen minutes later when he capitalised on some good work down the left to fire home from close distance.
Both teams traded chances but the score was the same as the teams broke for the half-time interval.
‘Well started the second half on the front foot and brought themselves level just nine minutes in. Darren Brownlie worked space for himself on the right flank and his terrific ball across the face of goal evaded everyone until Steve Hetherington arrived late at the back post to slot home from a few yards out.
Accies got their noses back in front again shortly after; Ciaran Johnston did well to run the channel and found himself in space inside the box. From the angle, he managed to trundle a shot past Ross Stewart in the home goal and Ryan was there to smash home from under the bar for his second of the afternoon.
Despite looking jaded after playing an hour with a man less, Motherwell continued to battle away and actually looked like the team most likely to score. After some excellent saves from Jonathan Grier, ‘Well eventually got it back to level terms for a second time when defender Ewan Murray soared to head home a Josh Watt corner from the left.
It was anyone’s game at that stage but it would be the New Douglas Park men who would eventually grab the game’s winning goal with just seven minutes left to play.
With Motherwell pushing for a winner, Accies won the ball in the middle of the park and immediately broke on the counter attack. James Martin burst forward, drawing defenders towards him before slipping in Andy Ryan on the edge of the area. The impressive striker took one touch to compose himself before drilling the ball beyond Stewart and into the net for his hat-trick.
It was harsh on Motherwell, who fought hard despite being a man down. Focus will quickly shift towards next week’s game with St Mirren, scheduled to take place next Friday afternoon back at the Creamery Park, kick-off 1pm.
Motherwell: Stewart, Brownlie, Murray, Cummins, Francis-Angol (Leitch – 87mins), Hetherington, Carswell, Mboa Mekongo (Moore – 76mins), Watt, McGachie, MacDonald (Lynch – 21mins)
Subs Not Used: Muir, Green, Asghar
Goals: Hetherington (54), Murray (70)
Booked: Mboa Mekongo, Hetherington
Sent Off: Cummins