Hibs held as Killie strike back

Kilmarnock and Hibernian had to settle for a share of the SPL points after Jamie Hamill's strike earned the hosts a 1-1 draw at Rugby Park.

Last Updated: 14/02/09 at 18:17 Post Comment

Hamill: On target for Killie

Hamill: On target for Killie

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Killie, with several key players unavailable, may have settled for a draw beforehand but it was a match they may well feel they could have won, despite falling behind to Derek Riordan's first-half opener.

Despite that, Kilmarnock goalkeeper Alan Combe had a busy afternoon, denying Hibs on several occasions.

Home boss Jim Jefferies had plenty of problems in the run-up to the match.

With Danny Invincible and Alan Russell both out injured and David Fernandez and Kevin Kyle suspended, Kilmarnock were forced to deploy Conor Sammon as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation.

Hibs, meanwhile, brought back Souleymane Bamba for Ross Chisholm from the side that drew 1-1 with Motherwell two weeks ago.

Denes Rosa and Bamba both had snapshots for the visitors but Combe dealt with the pressure well.

Riordan was next to try his luck for the visitors, but his effort from 25 yards was easily collected by Combe.

Killie forced their way back into the match and came close when Hamill's free-kick from a tight angle spun past the post after 15 minutes.

Three minutes later, Hibs were back on the offensive.

John Rankin's long-range effort came back off the post before former Killie man Colin Nish had the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Nish was getting his own special welcome from the home supporters in a game riddled with petty fouls, but referee Chris Boyle was happy to keep his cards in his pocket.

Sammon should have broken the deadlock in the 40th minute.

He latched onto a cutback following fine play by Craig Bryson but somehow Hibs' Chris Hogg managed to deflect the Irishman's effort, turning the ball over the bar.

Then, just before the half-time whistle, Hibs took the lead from a freak goal against the run of play.

Riordan let fly from 28 yards, and the ball deflected off Manuel Pascali and wrong-footed Combe.

Riordan was clearly enjoying himself and was first to threaten in the second half in the 48th minute, but his first-time effort from the edge of the box was well held by Combe.

Sammon again had a chance to score and again he spurned his effort, this time heading over the bar from eight yards after getting on the end of a fine cross from Hamill.

Killie continued to pursue the equaliser and captain Pascali should have done better when, from close range, he headed over Garry Hay's free kick on the hour mark.

Hibernian had penalty claims waved away when a Paul Hanlon cross hit the arm of Grant Murray, the match official deeming it accidental.

Rankin was next to test Combe, shooting form the edge of the penalty area, but again the keeper was equal to the task.

Pascali and Chisholm both saw yellow after the Hibs man had fouled and Pascali suggested the the referee take action.

With 14 minutes remaining, Kilmarnock equalised.

Hamill picked up a ball young Hibs defender Hanlon failed to clear and his left-footed shoot swung beyond Grzegorz Szamotulski and into the net.

Seven minutes from time, Bamba sneaked through the home defence to connect with a Riordan crossed free-kick but his shot from six yards was excellently saved by Combe.

Sammon should have sealed victory for Kilmarnock in the last minute but he fluffed his effort from six yards.

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1 Hamilton 11 12 23
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