Hamilton Accies 0-1 Motherwell: Mark O'Hara goal sees Steelmen triumph in final Lanarkshire derby of season
Motherwell earned their first Lanarkshire derby win from four attempts this season by triumphing 1-0 over Hamilton Accies at the Fountain of Youth Stadium thanks to Mark O’Hara’s strike on Wednesday night.
Delighted Motherwell manager Graham Alexander who employed a new three-man central defence featuring Declan Gallagher, Ricki Lamie and Tyler Magloire, said: “I’m really pleased with the result. We came here to win the game and we knew it was going to be tough.
"My experience of the last game (a 4-1 defeat to Accies) was exceptionally tough.
"And the record this season against them hasn’t been great at all.
"So we had to come here and be dogged, be aggressive and compete and do all the basics well which I think we did.
"And we scored the goal which won the game so I couldn’t have asked any more of the players.
"Mark’s got the winning goal and I felt he was a threat to them the whole game running from midfield. It’s great to see him back out there doing what he does best.
"We changed the shape a little bit today to compete against them in the way that we felt we’d win the game and we’ve done that.
"The players deserve all the credit because it’s been a tough season, certainly against Hamilton.”
The Steelmen nearly went a goal down inside two minutes when Hakeem Odoffin volleyed wide after Scott McMann’s long free-kick into the box.
There was then a chance at the other end when Ricki Lamie’s effort was blocked after a whipped Mark O’Hara cross following Chris Long’s short corner.
After Odoffin was booked for a foul on O’Hara, before Devante Cole’s 10th minute shot from a Long pass brought out a diving save from home keeper Kyle Gourlay.
Bruce Anderson’s snapshot from distance flew over the ’Well bar on 17 minutes.
A high challenge by Long midway inside the Motherwell half earned him a yellow card. ’Well assistant Chris Lucketti was also booked by referee Kevin Clancy for his reaction on the touchline.
In a spicy encounter, Accies’ Ross Callachan then also saw yellow for going through the back of Allan Campbell.
There was then a straight red card for the hosts’ Ronan Hughes for scything through the back of Robbie Crawford.
Crucially, it was the Steelmen who drew first blood when a low right footed shot by O'Hara from the edge of the box found the bottom left corner after 37 minutes.
The last action of the first half saw Cole volley narrowly wide from an O’Donnell throw-in.
Early in the second half, a group of Motherwell fans gathered at the back of Iceland were seen chanting and setting off flares.
The next action of note on the pitch saw Long volley wide from distance after a McGinley throw-in.
Accies then had a great chance on 64 minutes when Lee Hodson headed the ball inside to Anderson who volleyed straight at Kelly.
The next ’Well effort saw Cole scuff a 25-yarder straight at Gourlay.
A Steelmen corner then eventually saw Crawford and Maguire set up O’Hara who blasted well wide.
The tireless Campbell set up Cole late on but he shot into the side netting.
Hamilton: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Easton (Mimnaugh 70), Hamilton, Anderson, Hughes, Martin, Munro, Hodson (Thomas 78), Callachan (L Smith 67).
Motherwell: Kelly, Lamie, McGinley, Campbell, O’Hara, Crawford, Long (Maguire 63), Gallagher, O’Donnell, Magloire, Cole.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
The win puts Motherwell in fine heart for the Scottish Cup quarter-final trip to Hibs this Saturday.
Boss Alexander said: “If you take the Kilmarnock game out we’ve been on a really good run of winning games.
"We don’t want to relax at all. We try to keep the pressure on within ourselves to make sure that we keep our feet to the floor and we try to win every game we compete in.
"Obviously it’s a change of tournament on Saturday, a real tough venue, tough team to play against but we can look forward to it because we are in good form with results.”