Hamilton Academical 2-1 Heart of Midlothian
Saturday 21st December 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | FOYS Stadium
Hearts were defeated today by Hamilton Accies at the FOY Stadium thanks to two second half goals from the home side, though Ollie Bozanic halved the deficit late on.
Daniel Stendel made five changes to the side that faced Celtic in midweek, with Jamie Brandon and Jake Mulraney missing out after knocks in that match, although the Irish winger did make the bench. Also dropping out were Craig Wighton, Ollie Bozanic and the suspended Christophe Berra. Returning to the starting line-up were Aidy White, Sean Clare, Glenn Whelan, Uche Ikpeazu and stand-in skipper Steven Naismith.
Hearts began the match brightly and their high tempo offered a number of opportunities that were blocked in the Hamilton area, notably a chance for Naismith on the turn that was diverted to safety. At the other end, Hamilton threatened on the counter when Aaron McGowan whipped in a cross that George Oakley headed just wide.
Hamilton came close again through Oakley when he collected the ball in the area, but his shot on the turn was powerfully palmed away by Joel Pereira, while down at the opposite end of the park, Hearts crafted a brilliant chance when Ikpeazu rolled his man, dinked a ball to the far post for Steven MacLean who nodded the ball down to the onrushing Naismith but he could only volley over.
In stoppage time, Hearts somehow couldn’t score when they had a host of opportunities. First, Naismith had a goal-bound header deflected wide, then from the resulting corner Craig Halkett hit the crossbar, and from the rebound Loic Damour saw a shot blocked before Ikpeazu blazed the ball high and wide.
It seemed like Hearts may live to rue those missed opportunities, and so it came to be just after the hour, when the home side found an opening after a neat one-two between Oakley and Mickel Miller, and the latter curled a lovely effort into the top corner beyond Pereira. Ten minutes later, it got worse for Hearts.
Despite being pushed wide Miller dug out a cross from the byline that evaded the Hearts defence and landed at the feet of Will Collar, who buried his chance beyond Pereira to double the lead.
Hearts were given a glimmer of hope with eight minutes remaining after sub Euan Henderson won a corner with some sharp play down the wing, and from the resulting corner, fellow sub Bozanic nodded home from inside the six-yard box to reduce the arrears.
In injury time, Hearts thought they had their leveller when Michael Smith whipped in a ball to the back post that Halkett header across goal for MacLean, but keeper Luke Southwood saved the striker’s effort as time ran out for the Jambos.
Hamilton: Southwood, McGowan, McMann, Collar (Hunt, 90'), Davies (Smith, 63'), Oakley (Easton, 83'), Miller, Gogic, Martin, Stubbs, Hamilton. Subs: Fon Williams, Cunningham, Winter, Moyo.
Hearts: Pereira, Smith, White (Bozanic, 61'), Clare, Whelan, Naismith (Mulraney, 46'), MacLean, Ikpeazu, Damour (Henderson, 76'), Halkett, Hickey. Subs: Zlamal, Wighton, Dikamona, Meshino.
Referee: David Munro