Dundee United 2-1 Hamilton: Clark double gives Tangerines victory


Nicky Clark scores
Nicky Clark scored twice in four minutes, starting with this strike

Nicky Clark scored twice as Dundee United came from behind and survived the loss of a late penalty to beat Premiership bottom side Hamilton.

Ross Callachan headed Scott McMann’s cross home to put Accies in front with 25 minutes left.

But Clark finished well twice inside four minutes to turn the match in United’s favour.

The visitors then won a spot-kick but Callachan whacked it well over to leave them four points adrift.

United remain fifth and are now five points off Hibernian while Hamilton have lost five league games on the bounce.

Adrian Sporle could not connect with Marc McNulty’s low cross in United’s first serious advance and Clark had two free-kick efforts before the break.

The first was wide and though his next effort was on target and blocked, a McNulty infringement in the wall brought play to a halt.

McNulty’s chip almost unlocked Accies after the break but goalkeeper Ryan Fulton did well to reach the ball before Clark.

Lawrence Shankland and Luke Bolton replaced Paul McMullan and Sporle for the final 37 minutes, giving Hamilton additional headaches.

But they broke forward 12 minutes later through McMann and his cross found Callachan on his own to nod past Benjamin Siegrist.

The hosts had to show resolve and McNulty squared for Clark to slot in their equaliser.

And, after a headed clearance by the visitors, McNulty nodded into Clark’s path and his half-volleyed finish showed both confidence and class as Fulton was left helpless.

There was still one more twist in the tale as Jamie Robson was penalised for handball and Callachan sized up a chance to double his tally for the day. He got it all wrong, though, and Siegrist did not even have to make a save as the ball sailed over.

Man of the match – Nicky Clark

Nicky Clark scores
Clark, seen here scoring the winner, was a constant threat and took his two goals in style

What did we learn?

After 29 goals for club and country last season, Shankland was regarded as Dundee United’s main goal threat going into this campaign.

But it is Clark who is nearing double figures with his brace taking him on to nine, while McNulty’s two assists showed he can be an able foil for a strike partner.

Having lost 26 goals in seven games in all competitions going into this one and without a clean sheet since August, Hamilton desperately needed a momentum shift.

Part of that mission was about restricting Dundee United and the other was finding the net. They had done both with 16 minutes left but their collapse and missed penalty demonstrates their lack of confidence and they need points quickly to avoid being cut too far adrift.

What did they say?

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon: “To gain points in the Scottish Premiership is always very hard. What I was most pleased about was the composure that the players showed to get themselves back into the game and score two terrific goals.

“For Nicky Clark to show that calmness and go and slot that twice with those two finishes is great credit to him and tells you what a top player he is. It fell to the right man at the right time and we got a really valuable three points. Now we’re looking up. We will not get carried away. We know how difficult it is to get results in this division, it’s tough.”

Hamilton Academical head coach Brian Rice: “It was a vast, vast improvement on the last few games. Really, really disappointed. We definitely didn’t deserve that.

“I can’t criticise my team one little bit. They gave me everything. It shouldn’t have taken a penalty kick to get something out the game because the boys were excellent.”

What’s next?

Hamilton host Aberdeen on Wednesday and both sides have a free weekend after that, having missed out on the last 16 of the Scottish League Cup. On 5 December, Hamilton are at home to Kilmarnock and United visit Livingston.

Player of the match

ClarkNicky Clark

Dundee United

  1. Squad number10Player nameClark

  2. Squad number9Player nameMcNulty

  3. Squad number1Player nameSiegrist

  4. Squad number2Player nameSmith

  5. Squad number12Player nameEdwards

  6. Squad number3Player nameSpörle

  7. Squad number66Player nameFuchs

  8. Squad number18Player nameButcher

  9. Squad number24Player nameShankland

  10. Squad number23Player nameHarkes

  11. Squad number6Player nameReynolds

  12. Squad number7Player nameMcMullan

  13. Squad number17Player nameRobson

  14. Squad number5Player nameConnolly

  15. Squad number20Player nameBolton

Hamilton Academical

  1. Squad number23Player nameFulton

  2. Squad number2Player nameOdoffin

  3. Squad number32Player nameSmith

  4. Squad number16Player nameMartin

  5. Squad number34Player nameCallachan

  6. Squad number9Player nameOgkmpoe

  7. Squad number27Player nameHodson

  8. Squad number20Player nameMoyo

  9. Squad number4Player nameStirling

  10. Squad number5Player nameEaston

  11. Squad number8Player nameMartin

  12. Squad number3Player nameMcMann

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

  • 1Siegrist
  • 2Smith
  • 5Connolly
  • 12Edwards
  • 6ReynoldsSubstituted forRobsonat 67′minutes
  • 3SpörleSubstituted forBoltonat 53′minutes
  • 66FuchsBooked at 59minsSubstituted forHarkesat 60′minutes
  • 7McMullanSubstituted forShanklandat 53′minutes
  • 18ButcherBooked at 45mins
  • 10ClarkBooked at 86mins
  • 9McNulty

Substitutes

  • 4Powers
  • 17Robson
  • 19Mehmet
  • 20Bolton
  • 23Harkes
  • 24Shankland
  • 25Fotheringham
  • 27Appéré
  • 30Neilson

Hamilton

  • 23Fulton
  • 4Stirling
  • 16MartinBooked at 25mins
  • 5EastonBooked at 90minsSubstituted forMoyoat 90+1′minutes
  • 34Callachan
  • 27Hodson
  • 2OdoffinBooked at 27mins
  • 8Martin
  • 3McMann
  • 9Ogkmpoe
  • 32Smith

Substitutes

  • 6Hamilton
  • 15Hughes
  • 17Stanger
  • 18Mimnaugh
  • 20Moyo
  • 21Munro
  • 22Gourlay
  • 24Thomas

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