Hamilton held by Aberdeen

Dougie Imrie marked his 50th appearance for Accies with the opener,
after Dons forward Chris Maguire was denied from the penalty spot
by goalkeeper Tomas Cerny. But Nick Blackman struck just two
minutes after coming off the bench to leave Hamilton nine points
adrift ahead of next week’s relegation clash with nearest rivals St
Mirren. Hamilton initially made two changes from the side who
defeated Hibernian for the visit of the Dons. Cerny recovered from
illness to reclaim the gloves from Sean Murdoch, while David
Hopkirk started ahead of Ali Crawford, who was named on the bench.
But Simon Mensing presumably pulled up in the warm-up as Accies
were forced to make a late change to the team-sheet, drafting Mark
McLaughlin into the side. Aberdeen made just one change from the
side who lost to Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final, with
Michael Paton added to the team and Josh Magennis named among the
substitutes. Hamilton carved out the first real chance when Nigel
Hasselbaink surged into the box only for his shot to deflect off
Andrew Considine and fall wide. At the other end, Aberdeen were
threatening when Maguire unleashed from 25 yards and Cerny was
called into action to push past his left-hand upright. Accies had
another decent opportunity when David Buchanan released Imrie into
the box and he squared for Hasselbaink but Considine was first to
the ball to clear before the striker could connect in front of
goal. The Dons had the chance to pile on the pressure when they won
a free-kick 35 yards out and Cerny was called into action to punch
Maguire’s swerving effort out of play. The Hamilton goalkeeper had
to react quickly again at the resultant corner to block a bullet
header from Considine after he threw himself in front of Robert
Milsom’s flag-kick. With half-time fast approaching Imrie’s corner
broke for Hopkirk but he nodded just over from six yards, before
Imrie’s swerving 30-yard drive crashed off the crossbar. Aberdeen
were the more dangerous team after the restart and were awarded a
penalty after 52 minutes when referee Calum Murray ruled that
Steven Smith was fouled in the box by Gary McDonald. Maguire
stepped up for the spot-kick – Aberdeen’s fifth against Hamilton
this season – but was denied by a great save from Cerny as he
produced his third penalty block of the campaign. Maguire attempted
to turn provider when he swept a lovely ball into the path of Scott
Vernon in front of goal but McLaughlin came to the rescue on this
occasion when he hooked off the line. Instead, it was Hamilton who
grabbed the opener after 64 minutes when Imrie raced onto a pass
from Hasselbaink before keeping his cool and slotting past
goalkeeper Jamie Langfield. Langfield was then forced out of the
action and replaced by Mark Howard just two minutes later after he
was caught on the face by the boot of team-mate Zander Diamond.
Aberdeen replaced Vernon with Blackman after 73 minutes and he
grabbed the equaliser just two minutes later. Maguire supplied the
pass, squaring across the face of goal for Blackman to rifle home
at the far post and haul the Dons back into the match. Blackman was
then denied his second goal of the day when his shot bounced off
Cerny and crashed off the upright as the match ended all-square.