Ten-man Motherwell snatched a last minute equaliser against local rivals Hamilton at the SuperSeal Stadium this afternoon.
It was a spirited performance from the Fir Parkers – and a thrilling conclusion to the calendar year.
An early red card for Lee Lucas reduced the visitors to ten after just 26 minutes and it looked as though the Steelmen would be on the receiving end of a 1-0 loss despite being the better team and despite being a man down.
Alejandro D’Acol gave the hosts the lead in the 54th minute but that was cancelled out by Louis Moult’s dramatic last minute header in front of the 2,103 travelling ‘Well fans.
But it was at the first whistle when Motherwell could have went 1-0 up. Scott McDonald looked set to give Mark McGhee’s men a very early lead when he got on the end of Moult’s superb cross, but Accies stopper Gary Wodds tipped over the bar superbly to deny the Aussie his third goal in three games.
Twenty minutes later, the Fir Parkers went even closer to taking the lead and it was Moult’s header from Lucas’ cross. The Englishman beat Woods but had to look on as it was hooked off the line by Accies skipper Michael Devlin.
It was the only notable chances of the first half, but the biggest talking point happened just two minutes after Moult was denied on the line.
Lucas, after taking too big a touch, lunged in on Massimo Donati and, while he appeared to win the ball, was given his marching orders for what was most certainly a dangerous foul.
The second half brought about more chances but it was Hamilton who took theirs.
They had the ball in the back of the net in the 53rd minute through Ali Crawford but the linesman’s flag cut the celebrations short.
The Accies midfielder was involved just seconds later though as the home side did take the lead.
Some good play by Crawford down the right afforded the midfielder a chance to get a good cross in to the box and D’Acol managed to arrive unmarked to head his side in front.
Despite being a man down, Motherwell continued to push and create chances and in the heart of midfield, Carl McHugh and youngster Allan Campbell, who earned his first start in the first team, worked tirelessly to make up the energy lost by the earlier sending off.
Craig Clay worked himself some space well in the 57th minute but his shot was blocked and turned behind for a corner – which was over hit by McDonald.
With just 21 minutes remaining, Woods produced a brilliant save to turn a low, goal bound effort from Moult around the post and keep his side ahead.
At the other end of the park, Stephen McManus did brilliantly to clear off the line and keep the deficit to one and in the final seconds of the match, ‘Well fans started their celebrations ahead of the New Year.
McHugh’s terrific tackle and cross was inch perfect for Moult, who headed low past Woods into the bottom left corner to secure a thoroughly deserved point.
It was a fantastic end to a fantastic few days for Motherwell, who go in to 2017 on 21 points – just two points off the top six.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at the Superseal Stadium
A thoroughly deserved point for the Steelmen!!
FT: Hamilton Accies 1 – 1 Motherwell #HAFCvMFC
90+3′ | 1-1
MOULT HEADS HOME THE EQUALISER!!!
90′ | 1-0
Three minutes added on…
85′ | 1-0
Motherwell sub, McMillan off for Ainsworth
81′ | 1-0
‘Well have a bit of pressure but Accies break and only McManus’ goal-line clearance denies Crawford.
77′ | 1-0
Accies sub, Brophy off for MacKinnon
69′ | 1-0
Woods again to the rescue for Accies! Moult was slid in and he got a low shot away which the ‘keeper knocked past the post.
62′ | 1-0
Great chance! Tait hangs up a free-kick which finds Moult unmarked but he can only head straight at Woods!
57′ | 1-0
Ball breaks to Clay inside the box but he can’t wriggle free of his man and Devlin knocks it out for a corner.
56′ | 1-0
Controversy here. Accies player raised his hand to McDonald but it’s the Aussie that gets the booking.
54′ | 1-0
Goal – Accies take the lead. D’Acol heads home a Crawford corner.
53′ | 0-0
Phew. Samson does well to deny Brophy and Crawford sticks in the rebound but the linesman’s flag goes up!
51′ | 0-0
The Steelmen have a corner…..McDonald clips it in and McManus’ goal-bound header is blocked!
48′ | 0-0
Decent chance there for Accies as Longridge gets in at the back post but McManus takes no chances and knocks it wide for a corner
Half time change for Accies, Sarris off for Kurtaj
Both sides are back out and we’re ready for the second half. COYW!!!
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning: