Match Report | RCFC 2-1 HAFC
Ross County came from a goal behind to save themselves from automatic relegation out of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-1 victory over Hamilton Academical at the Global Energy Stadium tonight.
Goals from Blair Spittal and Charlie Lakin followed Scott McMann’s opener for the visitors as the Staggies now just need 1 point from their final match of the season to avoid slipping into the relegation play-off spot.
Hamilton are now all-but-down as they will need to defeat Kilmarnock by a minimum of 9 goals next weekend in order to preserve their Scottish Premiership status.
The opening stages were emblematic of a relegation dog fight. There were little chances, plenty fouls and the air was filled by a lingering sense of nervousness, anxiety and anticipation. Referee Willie Collum brandished 3 yellow cards in the first 20 minutes, but neither side could find a sight of goal.
However, in the 26th minute, Accies found a breakthrough after Scott McMann converted from a free kick. The full back powered his driven left-footed free kick under the County wall, rooting Ross Laidlaw to his goal line and finding the bottom right corner.
Thereafter, the game burst into life…
Just 2 minutes later, the Staggies responded with an immediate equaliser! Jordan White was able to fight off his marker to gather the ball at his feet in the penalty area before laying the ball off for Blair Spittal. The winger then shaped his body to bend a left-footed shot with the inside of his foot into the far-left corner.
Yet after such a rejuvenating equaliser, County almost gifted Accies the lead again. Michael Gardyne gave up possession in his own half, inviting Ross Callachan to pick up the ball and unleash a driven shot from distance. The midfielder, who has been in fine goalscoring form this season, watched his daisy-cutter thump against Ross Laidlaw’s left post to deny himself of a prompt response to County’s previous swift leveller.
5 minutes after the restart, Blair Spittal nearly added his second goal of the game to put County in the lead. In similar fashion to his first, Spittal received the ball on the back of some excellent hold up play by Jordan White before he sliced a left footed volley just wide of Kyle Gourlay’s right post from the edge of the box.
Just a minute later, Accies threatened go to go in front when goal scorer Scott McMann ventured forward from full back again to get on the end of Lee Hodson’s deep cross. However, McMann could not fully get under the ball as his headed effort cleared the bar from close range.
In the 70th minute, Ross County went ahead through substitute Charlie Lakin! Jordan White picked up his second assist of the match as he picked out Lakin on the left of the box who then arrowed an inch-perfect left footed shot from the corner of the box into far-right corner!
With Accies’ Premiership safety now at risk, the visitors began a siege on the County goal. A barrage of crosses flew into the County area but the twice-changed back five stuck to their task to keep Hamilton out.
With just 1 minute left of regulation time, Harry Paton should have sealed the win for County. Stephen Kelly broke from defence with the ball before finding Jordan White on the halfway line, who subsequently released Paton on the left wing. The Canadian was all alone and advanced toward goal, but his left footed effort found the wrong side of Kyle Gourlay’s net.
County are now safe from automatic relegation! Just 1 point in their final fixture on Sunday away to Motherwell will guarantee top-flight football next season.
One final push Staggies…