Alloa 2 Accies 0 04/04/2000
The itinerant soap opera that is Hamilton Accies rolled into Clackmannanshire on Tuesday after the debacle at Stenhousemuir three days before. The team had an unfamiliar look to it, with Steve McCormick, Chris Reid and Ian McAulay apparently being "rested" - the story among the fans was they had been singled out as the chief troublemakers in the squad.These players joined the fans in the stand, along with Chris Hillcoat, Martin Bonnar and Ian Ferguson.
The football itself was fairly poor, but then this was never going to be a night for a great performance from Accies. Accies opened quite brightly, however, and a great run by Steven Thomson down the left produced a cross which was nearly converted by Jose Quitongo. Alloa were, however, the better team throughout and they took the lead with a scrambled goal by highly rated striker Martin Cameron. Accies did have a chance to equalise before half time, when they were awarded a penalty after a foul on James Coubrough. Darren Henderson hit the ball to the keepers left, but it was at a good height for saving and Stewart did exactly that.
Alloa had several great chances to extend their lead before half time, but a combination of criminal finishing and inspired goalkeeping by Ian McFarlane kept the score down to 1-0 at half time.
This was when the fun really began. Throughout the first half, the Accies fans in the small stand at Recreation Park had kept up an almost constant barrage of abuse and insults towards Jim Watson and his colleagues. The fans then plonked themselves down in the seats used by the Accies officials at the end of half time and Watson & Co were prevented from taking their seats for a couple of minutes before the local plod (in Kevlar vests!!) moved them along. This was reported in the press as if it was an "incident" - but no-one lost their temper, which was a bit of a surprise given the proximity of "old contemptible."
The second half was a mirror image of the first, with Alloa scoring another goal and Accies missing another penalty. This time the culprit was James Coubrough, but in this case his penalty was a good one but the save by Stewart was truly exceptional, diving high to the right hand top corner of the goal. The game petered out after the second Alloa goal, although the fans continued their lambasting of Watson until the bitter end. Alloa were no great shakes, but they deserved to win the game and I wish them well in Division 1. Gary Clark got one of the loudest receptions of the evening when he came on as a second half substitute.
It's hard to measure this performance by Accies. I would say that Ian McFarlane did well in goal and Darren Henderson worked tireleslly up front. But for most of them it was a bad day at the office. You can't be critical of them at all. They're just footballers who have a very poor employer who doesn't pay the wages on time, if at all.
The players got a standing ovation before and after the game - the fans really appreciate their gesture in creating history by standing up for themselves.
Maybe soon we'll all have a club we can be proud of. Let's hope so.
Accies : McFarlane, McLaren, Cunnington, Davidson, Hunter, Gaughan, Thomson, Quitongo, Kelly (McFarlane), Coubrough, and Henderson.