Higdon brace rescues Saints

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.