better meddle...

wi' the de'il than the bairns o' fa'kirk

Match Report

Sunday, 9th November, 2008

by Neil Morris

Hamilton Academical 1 - Falkirk 1: Higdon steps off bench to deny basement side Accies a much-needed victory

MICHAEL Higdon scored just two minutes after his half-time introduction to earn Falkirk a point at Hamilton.

James McCarthy had put Accies ahead 10 minutes before the break by lashing home an impressive shot following Brian Easton's throw-in, but Higdon cancelled that out with a headed equaliser.

The draw arrested Hamilton's miserable run of six straight league defeats, but the New Douglas Park side's first point since September was not enough to move them off the bottom.

Hamilton carved out the first chance after four minutes when Lucas Akins showed impressive determination to keep the ball in at the right corner flag and fired in a cross which Mark Corcoran allowed to run through to McCarthy, but he fired wide at the far post.

Accies made the brighter start and forced Falkirk goalkeeper Scott Flinders into a good 13th-minute save. He touched Akins' shot onto the base of the left-hand post after Corcoran had crossed from the left and Richard Offiong turned cleverly to set up his strike partner for a shot which looked set to sneak into the corner of the net.

Steve Lovell, playing as a lone striker for the visitors ahead of a five-man midfield, had Falkirk's first effort of note when he flashed a diagonal effort wide after 19 minutes.

Burton O'Brien had a half-chance for Falkirk just after the half-hour but his shot from the edge of the area rebounded off the Hamilton defence.

However, Accies finally broke the deadlock 10 minutes from the interval. Easton's throw from the left bobbled around the penalty area and with the visitors unable to clear their lines, the ball fell to midfielder McCarthy, who lashed home an unstoppable right-foot shot.

Visiting manager John Hughes responded at half-time by replacing midfielder Patrick Cregg with forward Higdon and reshaping his side to 4-4-2.

It paid immediate dividends as the substitute equalised within two minutes, heading home an O'Brien cross which was flicked on to him at the opposite post. O'Brien then tried his luck with a 30-yard effort which flew over, while a bizarre moment just before the hour saw Flinders' attempted clearance cannon back off McLaughlin and drift only narrowly past the left-hand post.

The game became somewhat heated in the final quarter as both teams searched for the winning goal, with O'Brien and Arfield to the fore for Falkirk. Joel Thomas stretched for a cross from fellow Hamilton substitute Lyle, but could only touch the ball into Flinders' reaching arms.

McCarthy launched a cross from the right 15 minutes from time which fizzed dangerously through the box, but Flinders was first to react and gathered it at the far post.

Gerard Aafjes put Neil McCann's cross past the right-hand post for Falkirk. And, at the other end, David Graham came just as close from Easton's cross.