The First Look: Hamilton Academical

Campbell Finlayson (@campbell6_2) gets a first look in the flesh of an Accies side tipped by many for promotion as they faced Glasgow Women at the FOYS Stadium.

Having finished as runners up to Hearts in a tight SWP2 title race last year, Hamilton Accies are many people’s favourites to win this year’s title and secure a return to the top flight.

In terms of results, they’ve started well, with wins over Boroughmuir Thistle and Kilmarnock, but performances haven’t been to the standard we’re so used to seeing them at.

That would have to be upped against an exciting Glasgow Women side as they visited New Douglas Park. Darcy Molley, Ellie Kane and Dionne Brown replaced Dani Connolly, MT Gardiner and Lauren Evans from the team that secured a late win at Rugby Park last week.

Things didn’t start well for Hamilton as Glasgow Women moved in front after just 13 minutes, Kaitlyn Canavan linking up with Suzie MacTaggart before slotting the ball past Lauren Grant in the Accies goal.

In Amy Anderson, Hamilton have arguably the best midfielder in the league and in the 4-3-3 formation we’ve seen Gary Doctor’s side play with in recent seasons, she’s usually the main player as Accies control the midfield. The 4-1-4-1 formation they lined up with here didn’t look like it suited the Accies play in the opening exchanges, with Anderson the sole defensive midfielder against the three in behind the forward for Glasgow Women.

Scoring goals is something they’ve never had problems with, Dionne Brown was joint top scorer in the league last season, but the forward’s first sight of goal took 35 minutes to come and even then, she could only fire her effort over the bar. Usually the likes of Gardiner and Kane would be seen bursting down both wings to create and score these opportunities but that lack of width was clear for all to see as they struggled to get forward in the first half.

Right on cue however, Kane did burst forward, beat the offside trap and just like that Accies were level. It was a great lob from the winger to find the net from distance and as has been the story so far this season, Accies, albeit under par, were still getting something from the game as the whistle went for half time.

The fact Hamilton have strong players fighting for every position could be key for them this season and that strength in depth allowing Gardiner, Evans and Chloe Muir to come on for the last half an hour here showed that. All three are players who will feel hard done by not to be in the starting line-up but that competition can only be a good thing.

Accies didn’t create too many opportunities across the course of the game which will have disappointed the coaching staff, but the change of formation to the three more attack minded players allowed a bit more control in midfield and gave the Glasgow defence a bit more to think about.

Of course, going down to ten players doesn’t help your cause and when Rachel Ross was shown a straight red for pulling back Taylor Hamill, the Glasgow Women attacker made the numerical advantage count, slamming her free-kick into the top corner from all of 30 yards.

Sloppiness was the name of the game again for Accies only this time they were made to pay. They may be league favourites but, on this showing, there’s a lot of work to be done.

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