St Mirren 2 -2 Hamilton
Struggling Saints grind out draw but fail to lift themselves off the foot of the SPL table.
Struggling Saints rally for a point
St Mirren staged a spirited second-half fightback to draw 2-2 with Hamilton in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at New St Mirren Park - but they are still bottom of the table.
Goals from Jon Routledge and Dougie Imrie gave the visitors a deserved two-goal cushion and the points looked destined for Lanarkshire.
But Michael Higdon, who had missed a great chance in the first half, reduced the deficit on the hour mark before slamming in an equaliser to give the Paisley side a point.
However, with no wins in five the Buddies continue their struggles under boss Danny Lennon while the visitors will be mourning the loss of another two points.
Accies started the game positively and in the third minute left-back David Buchanan's cross from the left found Flavio Paixao in the box, but the Hamilton midfielder hesitated before his shot was deflected for a corner which the home side survived.
Moments later Paixao had an effort from 30 yards which Paisley keeper Craig Samson pushed round the post for a corner but after the home side had defended the first one from the left, New Douglas Park defender Mark McLaughlin headed Imrie's flag-kick from the right just over the bar.
At the other end in the 10th minute, Accies stopper Martin Canning did well to cut out a Paul McGowan cross at the near post at the expense of a corner which, in keeping with the start to the match, came to nothing.
Visiting keeper Tomas Cerny then made a decent save at his near post from McGowan's powerful angled drive.
Accies reasserted themselves and St Mirren were forced to defend again, but Samson was well protected.
In the 26th minute Samson spilled a long-distance drive from Paixao and Saints defender Lee Mair completed the clearance for yet another corner but again Accies failed to capitalise.
On the half-hour mark Saints should have taken the lead.
Wardlaw curled a shot from the edge of the box against the bar, David van Zanten then had a shot blocked before the ball came across the six-yard box to Higdon who looked certain to score. But the former Falkirk striker failed to make good contact and McLaughlin cleared.
The home support could barely believe they had failed to get their noses in front and in the 39th minute the Paisley side suffered another blow when Accies took the lead.
Imrie's pass from the right-hand side of the box eventually landed at the feet of Routledge, who steered a shot through a packed penalty area and into the corner of the net for his first Accies goal since signing on loan from Wigan in the summer.
The Paisley side were booed off at the break and the home fans almost had more to complain about after a minute of the second half when Imrie's free-kick from the right found the unmarked McLaughlin at the back post but his header was well saved by Samson.
However, the second goal was only moments away.
Accies' busy striker Nigel Hasselbaink skipped past Mair on the right-hand side of the box and when he cut the ball back it appeared to come off the back of Imrie, who had tumbled to the ground as he burst into the penalty area.
It was perhaps an unfortunate goal to lose but it heaped pressure on the home side who passed up on another good chance in the 51st minute when Wardlaw missed the target from six yards out after Cerny had been beaten by Jure Travner's cut-back from the left.
But on the hour mark Saints pulled a goal back when McGowan's corner from the right landed at the feet of Higdon in the packed box and he turned and squeezed the ball in from 10 yards out.
Inspired by young substitute Kenny McLean, who had replaced Patrick Cregg to make his Buddies debut just before the goal, Saints pressed forward for the equaliser.
And in the 73rd minute they drew level when Travner made his way into the box and pulled the ball back for Higdon to confidently sidefoot the ball past Cerny from around 12 yards.
Accies steadied themselves and set about restoring the lead and in the 84th minute, after more good work from Hasselbaink, midfielder Simon Mensing came close with a curling shot from the edge of the box, the ball just speeding past the far post.