St Mirren pick up narrow win at Hamilton
Jon Obika’s first-half goal gave St Mirren a hard-fought 1-0 Scottish Premiership victory at Hamilton.
The 29-year-old striker bundled the ball in from close range in the 19th minute and the Buddies might have added to their lead before the interval.
Hamilton came back into the game after the break, with Paisley keeper Jak Alnwick making several saves, but ultimately it was three big points for the visitors.
It was a third successive defeat since the start of the season for Brian Rice’s men, who face Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell next week.
The early stages were certainly lively. Within minutes Accies keeper Ryan Fulton had pushed a close-range shot from defender Joe Shaughnessy round the post.
Buddies keeper Alnwick then made saves from drives by David Templeton, starting for the first time this season, and David Moyo.
Shaughnessy got on the end of another corner but his drive was blocked by Accies defender Shaun Want, but Hamilton eventually succumbed to the increasing pressure.
As Hamilton failed to clear the area following a Cammy MacPherson free-kick, Richard Tait squared for Obika to knock in from close range for his first goal of the season.
There was little by way of response from the home side.
In the 33rd minute Fulton threw himself to his right to palm a way a drive from Junior Morias and the Jamaican curled two efforts wide of the target just before the break.
Accies had the chance to level at the start of the second half when Andy Winter’s cross from the right ended up at Ross Callachan, but his shot from 16 yards was touched over by Alnwick.
Callachan then turned a Scott McMann cross past the near post.
In the 54th minute Dutch winger Justin Johnson came on along with Marios Ogkmpoe – Lewis Smith and Moyo went off – and the home side perked up at last.
Hamilton began to play more in St Mirren’s half and the Paisley men looked less assured.
Alnwick blocked a shot on the turn by Winter with his foot after smart work by Templeton.
Johnson was stretching the St Mirren defence down the right but it was Templeton who set up McMann on the left in the 77th minute but again Alnwick’s foot saved the day.
Johnson then curled a left-footed shot – or it could have been a cross – just wide of the far post.
St Mirren had occasional breaks and substitute Ilkay Durmus had three shots, two of them very tame, saved by Fulton, although as it transpired the second goal was not required.