Accies and Saints share stalemate

Hamilton's home hoodoo continued as they shared a 0-0 stalemate with St Johnstone in their Scottish Premier League clash at New Douglas Park.

Last Updated: 19/03/11 at 17:51 Post Comment

Grainger: Hit the post for Saints

Grainger: Hit the post for Saints

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Perth defender Danny Grainger struck the outside of the post with a free-kick in the first half before Saints keeper Peter Enckelman made a couple of fine saves from Ali Crawford and Flavio Paixao.

In the final moments, after the visitors had survived a couple of goal attempts, Accies defender Simon Mensing was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Chris Millar.

But although the match ended with the SPL's bottom side still looking for their first home league win of the season, they moved to within six points of second-bottom St Mirren who lost at Hearts, although the Paisley side have a game in hand.

It was not the greatest of games.

Accies skipper Alex Neil made his first start of the season in place of injured Mark Carrington, while stopper Mark McLaughlin returned to replace suspended Dougie Imrie.

In a reshuffled visitors' side in came Alan Maybury, Chris Millar and Steven May, with Peter MacDonald and Graham Gartland dropping to the bench with Jamie Adams out injured.

Saints started the game the more positive side but the early stages were disjointed and scrappy with neither keeper seeing much action and was summed up in the 14th minute when Accies wide-man Flavio Paixao had an effort from 20 yards which limped past the post.

The first close call came midway through the first half after Neil handled the ball at the edge of the box to prevent Millar going through on goal.

From the resultant free-kick Grainger curled the ball over the wall but watched as it struck the outside of the post before going behind.

On the half-hour mark Accies threatened to an extent when stopper McLaughlin rose highest in a packed St Johnstone box to head an Ali Crawford free-kick wide of the target.

In the 36th minute McLaughlin injured his shoulder after a climbing over McDiarmid Park striker Collin Samuel to win an aerial challenge in the centre circle and initially he looked to be in real trouble but he played on after treatment.

A goalmouth scramble in the Accies box moments later ended with May's close-range header saved by Tomas Cerny.

Two minutes from the break Saints keeper Peter Enckelman made a fine save from Crawford's drive, pushing the ball behind the post but the visitors easily survived the corner.

In stoppage time Enckelman made another good save from Paixao's angled-drive before there was a penalty claim for handball by Accies which was ignored by referee Bobby Madden.

MacDonald replaced May for the start of the second half for the Perth men.

The lively end to the first period had encouraged the home fans but their enthusiasm soon waned as the stalemate continued.

In the 55th minute the Lanarkshire club made a substitution of their own when former Leeds striker Tom Elliott replaced Jim McAlister.

Moments later Accies striker Mickael Antoine-Curier flashed a shot wide from eight yards out after some disarray in the Saints defence.

However, the game deteriorated further as the free-kick count slowly mounted.

Paixao then fired in a low free-kick from 25 yards which Enckelman was glad to save before a timely intervention by Mensing prevented Samuel getting on the end of a MacDonald cross.

Just before Cleveland Taylor replaced Samuel, a quick St Johnstone break ended with MacDonald sending a shot from 25 yards just past the post.

In the 81st minute the home side were let off when Grainger raced in to the Accies box before cutting the ball back for Millar whose first-time shot clipped the post before going behind.

In the final moments, after a late flurry by Accies which came to nothing, Mensing was shown a straight red card by Madden for a bad challenge on Millar.

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