Match Summary | Hamilton Reserves (A)

Kilmarnock moved into the top half of the cinch Reserve League table after a comprehensive 5-1 win over Hamilton Academical at the ZLX Stadium (New Douglas Park) on Tuesday 7th March 2023.

The visitors fielded a youthful side ahead of a huge Scottish Cup quarter-final tie later in the week, with the majority of Killie’s starting XI positions populated by under-18s players. The youngsters delivered an impressive performance against a more experienced Accies team featuring the likes of Brian Easton and Dario Zanatta.

Killie shaped up in a rough 4-4-1-1 formation as Hamilton kicked off the action on a bright but baltic day in South Lanarkshire. Bobby Wales was selected to lead the line, supported by Steven Warnock who slotted in behind, while Singh and David Watson were given the task of anchoring the midfield.

The visitors were first to spring into action when left-winger Aaron Brown skipped inside from the touchline and fired the first shot towards goal, which was held by the Hamilton ‘keeper despite a dangerous deflection.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to retaliate: Killie’s Andrew Miller was forced to make an excellent block inside his own six-yard box to deny Hamilton the opener moments later.

Following a lively first 15 minutes, it was the away side who drew first blood. Kilmarnock number 10, Steven Warnock, spun away from his marker and raced down the wing to earn a corner which would eventually result in the first goal of the match. An initial ball was worked into the danger area before being cleared to the edge of the box where Singh unleashed a thunderous volley which burst through the defence and found the bottom corner, despite taking a slight deflection.

Killie were ahead but far from out of sight as the half-hour mark approached. Accies continued to press forward and should have levelled when a well-timed low cross picked out Andrew Winter who couldn’t keep the ball under the bar when striking from around the penalty spot. The hosts found the target a couple of minutes later, forcing Glavin into a first save of the match as he parried away a powerful strike to cover the bottom right corner of his net.

Despite pressure from the men in red and white, Killie once again displayed clinical finishing to move two ahead. Aaron Brown doubled his side’s advantage through a perfectly placed curling shot which nestled inside the top corner of the ‘keeper’s far post.

Andrew Winter came close again late in the half when his header smacked the post, but Accies lacked the same lethal finishing touch shown by their opponents.

It was much of the same in the early stages of the second half. Hamilton missed a glorious opportunity to cut the deficit when Glavin’s save rebounded to an off-balance striker who couldn’t find the target from around six yards out.

It looked like the hosts’ route back into the match had vanished when Killie took a three-goal lead five minutes into the second period. An energetic run from David Watson saw him stride through the middle of the park before tapping in an Aaron Brown cross which was driven over the face of the six-yard box.

A determined attack showed no signs of easing off and the Ayrshire side moved further in front when Aaron Brown latched onto Steven Warnock’s perfectly weighted through-ball before slotting under the keeper in a one-on-one situation.

Hamilton pulled a goal back after Brian Easton rose highest to meet a corner, making it 4-1 with 20 minutes to play, but it didn’t take Kilmarnock long to regain a four-goal advantage. Substitute Nathan Smith rounded off a spectacular attacking performance with quarter of an hour to play when he smashed a left-footed effort into the far corner from around 25 yards out.

Kilmarnock starting XI: Glavin, Miller, McKnight, Clark, Mersey, Brown, Singh, Watson, Leslie, Warnock, Wales

Used substitutes: Smith (60’), Quigg (60’), Craik (80’), Mulvanny (80’), Kennedy (80’)