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Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 21:37 UK

Hamilton Accies 3-1 Dundee United

Hamilton celebrate their first goal in the SPL
The Accies made a great start to life in the Premier League

Hamilton Accies marked the end of their 19-year exile from the top flight with a fantastic win over Dundee United.

The home side fell behind on 23 minutes when defender Mark McLaughlin headed into his own net.

But they hit back with Tony Stevenson's free-kick ripping through a poorly assembled defensive wall and James McArthur nudged them ahead with an arm.

There was nothing suspect about Accies' third goal, with David Graham drilling in a fine shot from 15 yards.

United rallied in the closing stages but Billy Reid's young side were worthy winners.

After unfurling the First Division title flag, Accies started brightly and only an acrobatic save by Lukasz Zaluska prevented them taking a fourth-minute lead.

Richard Offiong sent David Graham scurrying down the right flank and the former Gretna player cut inside and fired in a powerful shot that the Polish goalkeeper clawed away from the top corner.

Roy O'Donovan was thrust straight into the United line-up following his loan move from Sunderland and his excellent headed flick narrowly evaded the sliding Warren Feeney right in front of the Accies' goal.

But that was a rare foray forward from the visitors and Zaluska had to make another smart save at his near post after Lee Wilkie dithered in possession, allowing Offiong to cut inside and shoot.

Accies goalkeeper Tomas Cerny then made his first save from a Danny Grainger strike which flashed through a ruck of bodies.

Chris Swailes should have given the home side the lead with a close-range header but Zaluska did well to block with his feet and McLaughlin's header was deflected over from the following corner.

McLaughlin found the net soon after, but it was to be his own one.

Hamilton celebrate their first goal in the SPL
The Accies made a great start to life in the Premier League

Willo Flood curled in a dangerous cross from the left, and with Feeney failing to make contact, McLaughlin's diving header flew past Cerny.

It was tough luck on Hamilton after such a promising opening but they only had to wait six minutes to restore parity.

Stevenson blazed a free-kick from 25 yards and the defensive wall simply disintegrated, allowing the shot to dip through and deceive Zaluska.

Another Stevenson set-piece led to the underdogs going in front as McLaughlin helped to atone for his own goal.


The big defender rose to guide a header across the six yard box, and McArthur bundled the ball in with the use of an arm.

United struggled to impose themselves after the break and Hamilton continued to look lively.

On 62 minutes, Offiong did well to manoeuvre his way into the penalty box only to lose his footing but Graham was on hand to send a low shot into the corner of the net.

United responded with a powerful header from Wilkie which Cerny turned away with one hand.

The home keeper was at full-stretch again to keep out Francisco Sandaza's glancing header, while James McCarthy went close with a strike at the other end.

Morgano Gomis and Feeney were also denied by the impressive Cerny as a tiring Hamilton held on for maximum points.

Hamilton Acc: Cerny, Stevenson, Easton, McLaughlin, Swailes, Mensing, McArthur, McCarthy (Lyle 90), Neil, Graham (Corcoran 67), Offiong (Akins 67). Subs Not Used: Murdoch, Elebert, Sorsa, Taylor.

Booked: McLaughlin, Graham.

Goals: Stevenson 29, McArthur 39, Graham 63.

Dundee Utd: Zaluska, Dillon, Grainger, Wilkie, Dods, Flood, Feeney, Scott Robertson, O'Donovan (Sandaza 68), Gomis, Buaben (Swanson 46). Subs Not Used: McGovern, Daly, Kenneth, Kovacevic, McCord.

Booked: Buaben, Grainger, Flood, Swanson.

Goal: McLaughlin 23 og.

Att: 4,385

Ref: Stuart Dougal

see also
Reid delighted as Accies go top
11 Aug 08 |  Hamilton
Levein stunned by slack display
11 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd

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