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.