Alloa 2 Hamilton 2: Kevin O'Hara header keeps Accies level after play-off first leg

Kevin O'Hara's 12th goal of the season wasn't enough to earn three points against Montrose
Kevin O'Hara, right, was on target -Credit:Adam Law

Hamilton Accies needed a late Kevin O'Hara header to keep them level in the Championship play-off semi-final with Alloa after the sides shared four goals at the Indodrill.

Ex-Wasps striker Euan Henderson had given Accies the lead with an acrobatic effort after 31 minutes, but the hosts struck twice in the space of seven minutes early in the second half through Taylor Steven and Kurtis Roberts to turn the game on its head.

With Accies toiling at that stage, they ralled to grab an equaliser 15 minutes from time when Ben Williamson's cross was turned home by O'Hara.

These sides both met at this stage last season in a dramatic 5-3 aggregate win for Accies, in which they trailed 3-0 over half an hour into the second leg, and the first leg provided plenty of drama as well.

There was a blow for Accies before kick-off with striker Akheem Rose ruled out with a pubis bone injury, which could spell the end of his season. Accies made 10 changes from Saturday’s final day in League One against Kelty Hearts. Only Jackson Longridge remained from the 4-1 win, with Dean Lyness back in goal. Skipper Scott Martin and Kevin O’Hara were also among those returning for Accies.

Alloa also rang the changes. They made nine alterations from their 2-2 draw at Falkirk, as Stefan Scougall and Scott Taggart kept their places in the starting 11.

Accies created the first real opening in 13 minutes with a glorious chance when Jamie Barjonas swung a corner towards the back post, finding Reghan Tumilty unmarked. The defender took it first time on the volley and arrowed his effort narrowly wide when he should have scored.

Nine minutes later Alloa went close themselves when Taylor Steven burst down the right and crossed to the edge of the box. His delivery fell to Stefan Scougall but he sent his blistering strike just wide of the target.

Euan Henderson helped himself to a double and had a late penalty saved as well
Euan Henderson, centre, opened the scoring for Accies -Credit:ADAM_LAW_PHOTOGRAPHY_ALL_RIGHTS_RESERVED

A curling 20-yard strike from Henderson stung the hands of PJ Morrison as Accies searched for an opener. On the half-hour mark St Mirren loanee Ethan Sutherland showed some terrific feet out wide to leave two Accies players for dead, but his cross to the back post couldn't pick out a black and yellow jersey.

Just a minute later Accies took the lead. The Wasps struggled to deal with a cross into the box from Jackson Longridge and when Tumilty knocked a header back into the danger area, it fell perfectly for Henderson to hook an acrobatic effort beyond PJ Morrison.

Heading into the final few minutes of the half, O'Hara was claiming for a penalty when his strike inside the box was blocked and he then brought out a terrific one-handed stop from Morrison as he fired at goal on the angle.

Accies took the lead into the break but the Wasps came out of the traps quickly to level within 50 seconds of the restart. The Wasps got in down the right and when Scott Taggart's cross was blocked, it landed kindly for Scougall to slot a sidefoot finish into the bottom corner.

Four minutes later, Scougall should have put the hosts in front when he got the break of the ball in a challenge with Lee Kilday and just as it looked like all he had to do was pick his spot, he snatched at the strike and sliced it well wide.

Alloa were very much in the ascendancy now and in 54 minutes they turned the game on its head after some penalty box chaos. More poor defending from Accies saw Taylor Steven get an initial shot away and when that deflected into the path of Bobby Wales, he saw his header canon back off the crossbar before Roberts mopped up the rebound.

Rankin responded by hooking some experienced players with skipper Martin, Tumilty and Barjonas all coming off for Marley Redfern, Fergus Owen and Lewis Smith and in 75 minutes Accies managed to haul themselves level. Ben Williamson cut back and curled a fine cross towards the back post for O'Hara to send a downward header into the bottom corner.

In the 90th minute Alloa almost grabbed a third when Scougall scuffed a strike agonisingly wide of the far post.

The sides face each other again on Saturday at New Douglas Park for the second leg, kick-off 3pm.

HAMILTON: Lyness, Longridge, Tumilty (Owens 65), Kilday, McGowan, Henderson (Winter 80), Davidson, Martin (Redfern 66), Barjonas (L Smith 66), Williamson, O'Hara.

Scorers: Henderson 31, O'Hara 75

Bookings: O'Hara

Subs not used: Smith, Hendrie, Hastie, Kirk, Murray.

ALLOA: Morrison, Neill, Taggart, McKay, Sutherland (O'Donnell 72), Scougall, Roberts, Steven, Coulson (Sammon 76), Virtanen (Hetherington 72), Wales.

Scorers: Steven 46, Roberts 54

Bookings: O'Donnell

Subs not used: Ogayi, Devine, Cawley, O'Donnell, Buchanan, Roy, Donnelly.

HT: 0-1

Ref: Craig Napier

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