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.