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Hamilton Accies 2-1 Kilwinning: Well earned three points for girls

REPORT Cheryl Smith watched the action as Accies stood firm on home soil against Kilwinning.

Ashley McDonald scores the winner for Hamilton Accies against Kilwinning.

Hamilton Accies picked up another well earned three points at the John Cumming stadium on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over SWPL newcomers Kilwinning.

The Ayrshire club had Scottish football legend Julie Fleeting back in their line-up but it was Kevin Murphy's side who dominated the match with a barrage of chances.

The away side went into the game looking to pick up there first points of the new season and the teams looked to be taking a share of the spoils until Hamilton's Ashley McDonald fired home the winner with ten minutes left to play.

The manager was delighted with the performance of his team despite the frustration of not capitalising on the vast number of chances they created throughout the game.

He said: "I thought we played really well today in the first and the second-half.

"We were excellent and we created a lot of chances but as the game goes on you start to doubt if you will get the winner, but Ashley popped up again like she did here the last time against Aberdeen so we're delighted we got all three points.

"It was frustrating but I was also pleased that we created so many chances and it looks like things are now coming together."

The match began at a fast pace and it took only three minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Hamilton captain Toni Mason got on the end of a cross in the box and swiped the ball under Lauren McGregor in the Kilwinning goal to make it 1-0 to the home side.

The opening 20 minutes were played at a high tempo as both teams battled for control of the play with Kilwinning's first real chance of the game coming on the 15th minute. Clare Docherty hitting a long range effort which was held well by Hamilton keeper Elaine Fleming.

Hamilton Accies fast paced passing was catching the Ayrshire side out as they back peddled to defend their goal however the away side managed to weather the storm and snatch an equalizer just after the 30 minute mark.

Julie Fleeting was deemed to have been fouled 30 yards from goal, Claire Docherty stepping up to score the subsequent free kick, a spectacular shot which saw the ball dip over Fleming and into the net to make it 1-1.

Kevin Murphy's Hamilton side thought they had regained there lead moments later as Carolina Richardson ran into the box to tap the ball home however the goal was ruled to have been offside.

As half-time approached both side battled to take the lead, Kilwinning coming close on the 40th minute as Danielle Connely found herself through on goal with her shot skidding narrowly past the post.

Hamilton's best opportunity came just before the 45th minute as Kirsten McGuire's looping shot from inside the box creeped over the cross bar and the sides went in level at half time.

As the second-half began it was Hamilton Accies who piled on the pressure as they pushed forward in a 45 minutes which was littered with chances.

Moments after the restart Gillian Inglis hit a shot from just outside the box which was pushed away by Lauren McGregor in the Kilwinning goal to keep the score level. The positive attacking play by Carolina Richardson was driving the team forward throughout the second half as the away side began to dominate.

Hamilton keeper Elaine Fleming was however called into action on the hour mark as Kilwinning goal scorer Clare Docherty found herself one on one in the box with the goalkeeper, Fleming rushing off her goal line to make an excellent block as the striker tried to round her to score.

As Hamilton continued to dominate the play in attack they created chance after chance, Karen McInally and Cheryl McCulloch coming closest. With ten minutes remaining Hamilton did find the net through the head of Ashley McDonald as she popped up at the back post to get on the end of a in swinging cross to give the home side the lead.

As the final whistle approached Hamilton were in the ascendancy, Kilwinning being forced to sit deep in their own half. The home side played out the final few minutes of the match to claim all three points.

Kevin Murphy was pleased his side came away with the points against a well drilled Kilwinning team.

He said: "I watched them play against Celtic when they lost 3-0 but they are a well organised team and they work so hard for each other. Today they had a couple of big players coming back with Julie fleeting and Michelle Collins who have played the game at a high level.

"It was a tough game for us but I felt that we created a lot of chances today, it was slightly uncomfortable to watch in the last ten minutes but we've got another three points. The girls never give up, that showed in the game today and we got our reward."

The Hamilton Accies manager was also full of praise for goalkeeper Elaine Fleming who replaced the injured Megan Cunningham in goal.

Murphy said: "Megan was left out today with a shoulder injury but Elaine came in and did fantastic. She didn't have a great deal to do but she made a great save in the second*half on a one v one and that's hard for a goal keeper when you've not had much to do.

"She pulled off a great save and she's just as important to the three points as Ashley who scored the winner."

Cheryl Smith

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