0 - 1
Craig Conway (4)
Lukasz Załuska .1
Garry Kenneth .18
Lee Wilkie .4
Paul Dixon .23
Prince Buaben .25
Craig Conway .15
David Robertson .12
James Wesolowski .10
Paul Caddis .6
Fran Sandaza .11
Andis Shala .20
Michael McGovern .13
Mihael Kovačević .19
Seán Dillon .2
Ryan McCord .29
Danny Swanson .14
David Goodwillie .26
Joel Thomas for Paul McGowan (46)
James Gibson for Brian Easton (46)
Derek Asamoah for Chris Swailes (59)
David Goodwillie for Fran Sandaza (81)
Danny Swanson for Craig Conway (89)
James McArthur (41)
Joel Thomas (90)
Lee Wilkie (21)
Andis Shala (90)
Calum Murray (Referee)
A terrific early Craig Conway goal was enough to secure United a 1-0 victory at New Douglas Park and confirm a place in the SPL top six elite. The result also banished memories of two previously unsuccessful away trips to face the Accies earlier this season.
United began where they left off against Hibs last week and completely dominated the opening 45 minutes. And it took only four minutes for the visitors to get on the scoresheet. Sandaza kept the ball in allowing Caddis to pick out Conway just inside the box. He turned superbly and sent a lovely right-foot shot across goal which clipped the far post and nestled in Thomas Cerny’s goal directly in front of the travelling support.
Cerny was to be a busy man in the first half and he pulled off a terrific double save on 18 minutes as United looked to put the game beyond doubt early on. Buaben dinked a ball over the top for Sandaza which Cerny managed to initially touch away. However, Sandaza continued to seek an opening and laid it off to Wesolowski whose powerful shot was parried away by Cerny.
Two minutes later, United suffered their only real scare of the opening period. Paul Caddis was guilty of giving the ball away in the middle of the park which allowed young James McCarthy to break away. However, a few yards into the United half, he was unceremoniously upended by Lee Wilkie, which earned the United skipper a yellow card but kept the slender lead intact.
United then had five excellent chances in as many minutes. First, Cerny made another double save from shots by David Robertson and Prince Buaben. A minute later, Cerny could only watch as Paul Dixon curled a low free kick inches wide of the keeper’s left-hand post. Cerny was then tested again as Conway ran onto a Dixon throw-in before unleashing a powerful half-volley that the Hamilton stopper again did well to parry. With the pressure unrelenting, a strong period of play for United was capped when Lee Wilkie knocked the ball over from inside the box after another curling Dixon cross was missed by everyone else.
United continued to press and wasted a great opportunity after 35 minutes. Sandaza robbed Alex Neil in the Accies half and laid the ball into the path of Wesolowski. With United sweeping forward they found themselves with four men on three, but the Aussie took a poor touch and Cerny was able to gather.
A few Hamilton fans felt Wilkie was lucky to stay on the pitch after his earlier foul on McCarthy but Accies’ James McArthur was even more lucky to escape a red after a lunging late challenge on Sandaza after 40 minutes. The Spaniard had already released the ball before McArthur came crunching in and the referee waved on a United advantage but returned to book the Accies midfielder when play finally stopped.
It was no surprise that the final chance of the first half fell United’s way – a beautiful Paul Dixon cross from the byline was headed onto the bar by Andis Shala as he nearly marked his first Dundee United start with a goal.
Hamilton desperately needed to get into the game after half time and manager Billy Reid made a double substitution before the second period as Thomas and Gibson replaced McGowan and Easton. Indeed, the home side finally tested Zaluska after 50 minutes when a powerful McCarthy effort was parried by the big Pole.
The second half was far more even as Hamilton restricted United to more long-range efforts. Cerny gathered well from decent shots from Robertson and Shala before also saving from Wesolowski when the midfielder could perhaps have continued his run and got closer in on goal.
Accies boss Billy Reid was furious at referee Calum Murray a minute later when he penalised substitute Thomas who was adjudged to have fouled Dixon when it looked like the Accies man was favourite to race through on goal on his own.
Hamilton pressed United in the final ten minutes but couldn’t find the equaliser. McArthur had clear sight of goal after 82 minutes but he shot weakly at Zaluska. Thomas then also tested Zaluska but the keeper managed to palm his shot round his left-hand post.
With time ticking down, Craig Levein replaced Sandaza with Goodwillie and Conway with Swanson.
Things became slightly tetchy towards the end as Thomas saw yellow for a late challenge on Buaben before Shala also went into the book for kicking the ball away as Hamilton prepared to take a throw-in.
The final chance of the match fell to United in stoppage time as a Danny Swanson cross-cum-shot dipped towards goal, forcing the excellent Cerny to tip it behind.
|Lukasz Załuska (GK)
|Danny Swanson (sub)
|David Goodwillie (sub)
No league table has been added for this season.