Motherwell slipped to a disappointing derby defeat in the first home game of the season.
Steven Boyd’s second half screamer was the only thing to separate the sides in the opening Ladbrokes Premiership game at Fir Park.
Despite some sustained pressure on the Accies goal at the started each half, the Fir Park men failed to breach a stubborn visitor’s defence.
In the home defence, Tom Aldred, back on loan from Bury, was pitched straight into the the Lanarkshire derby alongside Peter Hartley and Carl McHugh. With Alan Campbell back from suspension, Gael Bigirimana joined him in midfield for his first start of the season.
The few highlights from the first half, came largely via Chris Cadden on the right. An early low cross had Gary Woods scrambling to gather with Curtis Main lurking for a slip.
After 16 minutes, Cadden’s cross led to the first attempt on the Accies goal, but Bigirimana’s downward header was palmed away by Woods. Another burst from Cadden and ball across the goal found Main closing in but from an offside position.
Ten minutes from the end of a rather uneventful first half the ‘Well front two finally clicked, when Hartley’s long ball was nodded on by Conor Sammon into Main’s path. But his shot was a yard wide of the post.
Motherwell began the second with a it more urgency and a couple of left foot efforts from Main posted their intent. Bigirimana, whose measured set pieces provided some threat then curled a free kick across his forwards forcing Woods into a smart reactive save.
Still to exert any sustained pressure on the Accies ‘keeper, ‘Well made a double substitution after 63 minutes, Danny Johnson and Elliot Frear hopefully bringing a fresh attacking option.
However, it was Hamilton’s subs who made the breakthrough four minutes later. Ross Cunningham’s first touch hammered a free kick off the defensive wall. And when the ball rebounded to Steven Boyd, his first touch was a stunning volley sending the ball into Trevor Carson’s top left hand corner.
With 13 minutes remaining, Stephen Robinson made his final change bringing on Alex Gorrin.
Despite Motherwell having the bulk of the possession, Accies held firm and even passed up the chance to double their lead in the closing minutes when Cunningham’s effort hit the base of the post.