Hamilton 3 Alloa 2 (Agg: 5-4): Rose climbs off bench to send Accies into play-off final

Akheem Rose climbed off the bench to send Hamilton Accies into the Championship play-off final after they saw off a spirited showing from 10-man Alloa.

The tie was locked level at 2-2 after Tuesday's first leg at the Indodrill, but John Rankin's men prevailed 5-4 on aggregate after another action-packed tussle between the two sides.

The Wasps went in front after just seven minutes when Quinn Coulson blasted home from close range, before Accies came roaring back with a Reghan Tumilty volley midway through the half and a Lewis Smith strike just before the break.

Alloa gave themselves a mountain to climb when Morgyn Neill picked up a double booking for dissent in the aftermath of Smith's goal, sarcastically clapping referee Steven Kirkland after his initial indiscretion, but substitute Conor Sammon gave them a lifeline when he pulled the visitors level after 57 minutes.

Rose, who missed the first leg through injury, had the final say though when he poked home after superb work by Smith in the 77th minute, seven minutes after coming on, to set up a clash with Inverness Caley Thistle next week.

Accies made just one change from the cracking first leg in Clackmannanshire with Lewis Smith coming in to replace Jake Davidson. The visitors also went with one alteration as ex-Accies Miko Virtanen dropped to the bench for Steven Hetherington to come in.

A slow start to the second half in Alloa caused Accies dear in midweek and they started the first half of this encounter equally as poor. In the fifth minute Kurtis Roberts forced Accies keeper Dean Lyness into a fine save down to his right after the striker arrowed a strike towards the bottom corner, turning it behind. From the resulting corner, Morgyn Neill peeled off his marker at the back and steered a header onto the post before Accies were able to clear.

But John Rankin's men didn't heed that warning and they were stung two minutes later when the Wasps went in front. They attacked down the right hand side and when Taylor Steven got to the byeline, his cut back fell for Coulson to fire home off the underside of the crossbar.

Accies had to respond, just as they did in midweek, and they duly delivered 10 minutes later with a fine finish for the equaliser. Jamie Barjonas' corner was swung deep towards the back post and Tumilty ghosted in at the back post to volley home with aplomb, hammering Hamilton right back into the tie with his sixth goal of the season.

That spurred Accies on and Barjonas twice went close to putting them in front as he narrowly failed to connect with a cross into the six-yard box and then sae a strike deflect just over the bar in 27 minutes, while, up the other end, Roberts got a sight at goal and curled a measured strike just over the top of Lyness' goal.

Two minutes before the break, Accies took the lead on the day and in the tie. Good work by O'Hara saw him cross into the danger area and Smith was on hand to flick the ball beyond PJ Morrison and into the bottom corner.

As Accies celebrated, Neill got mouthy with referee Steven Kirkland and the whistler took exception to the midfielder then cla, booking him twice in quick succession to lead to an early bath for the Wasps man, leaving his side with an uphill battle in the second half.

Both teams turned to their bench at the break with Ben Williamson being replaced by Jake Davidson for the hosts and Alloa brought on Conor Sammon for Stefan Scougall.

And that paid off for the visitors as, despite the numerical disadvantage, Sammon pounced in 57 minutes to pull them level, latching on to Bobby Wales' clever pass inside to poke the ball beyond Lyness and get Andy Graham's men right back in it.

In 63 minutes Accies should have regained the lead when quick feet from Smith in the box created space for a cross and his driven delivery found penalty box predator O'Hara at the front post. However, the striker managed to skew his effort wide of the post from inside the six-yard box.

Accies kept knocking at the door for a third and Davidson's strike looked destined for the top corner until Morrsion clawed it away for a corner, from which a deflected effort from Dylan McGowan landed on the roof of the net.

Ayr United loannee Rose has been a key player for Accies in the second part of the season and he came on with 20 minutes remaining, looking to find the goal that could finally kill off the Wasps. And seven minutes after his introduction, the Jamaican did just that. Once again, Smith provided some twists and turns inside the box to find space and his delivery to the front post was hammered home by the striker to send New Douglas Park into raptures.

Alloa weren't completely out of it and moments later Taylor Steven thought he'd equalsied when his superb free-kick had Lyness beaten, but his effort crashed off the post and rolled allong the line before bouncing narrowly wide.

Accies survived that and now face Inverness on Wednesday at the Caledonian Stadium, with the second leg at New Douglas Park next Saturday evening.

HAMILTON: Lyness, Tumilty, Kilday (Owens 70), McGowan, Longridge, L Smith, Williamson (Davidson 46), Martin (Murray 86), Henderson (Hastie 80) Barjonas (Rose 70), O'Hara.

Scorers: Tumilty 17, L Smith 43, Rose 77

Bookings: Davidson, Tumilty, Owens

Subs not used: J Smith, Hendrie, Redfern, Hastie, Winter,

ALLOA: Morrison, Sutherland, Neill, McKay, Taggart, Scougall (Sammon 46), Roberts (Buchanan 980), Hetherington, Coulson (Devine 45), Steven, Wales.

Scorers: Coulson 7, Sammon 57

Bookings: Neill, McKay

Sent Off: Neill

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

HT: 2-1

Ref: Steven Kirkland

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