Hamilton took a major step closer to Championship safety with a good win over 10-man Queen of the South at New Douglas Park.
Andy Winter’s crisp strike midway through the second half was enough to separate the sides, give Accies a fourth straight win over Queens this season, and leave them 12 points clear of the basement side.
It’s also back to back league wins for Hamilton for the first time in almost exactly two years, and puts Accies up to sixth in the table.
Hamilton dominated the first half but without creating too much, while Queen of the South showed a bit of menace on the break.
However, Ben Liddle’s 40th-minute red card – and really, referee Graham Grainger nearly gave him the benefit of the doubt twice – left Queen of the South up against a mountain going into the second half.
The second half was played with quite a bit more urgency and Hamilton attacked their visitors with regularity, which eventually paid off with a goal for Winter.
The young striker latched onto Dan O’Reilly’s through-ball and kept his composure before drilling a shot past Josh Rae for his third goal of the season.
Hamilton should have added to their lead and went close when Andy Ryan forced a breathtaking save to prevent him from arrowing a shot into the top left corner.
Accies head coach Stuart Taylor kept faith with the same side that beat Partick Thistle 4-0 last weekend.
Queens player-boss Wullie Gibson made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock last time out. Kieran McKechnie, Alex Cooper, Ben Liddle, Innes Cameron and Lee Connelly came in for Roberto Nditi, Shea Gordon, Ruari Paton, Max Johnston and Niyah Joseph.
Hamilton made the early running but without creating anything clear-cut.
Queen of the South’s Ben Liddle was perhaps fortunately only to be shown a yellow card for a scything tackle on Andy Ryan in 11 minutes.
Accies were given their first real sight of goal in 14 minutes but Jamie Hamilton saw his shot deflected wide of the left post for a corner.
Queen of the South nearly opened the scoring in 20 minutes when Josh Todd played a neat one-two with Lee Connelly before finding Innes Cameron in the middle, but his shot was comfortably held by Ryan Fulton.
At the other end, Steve Lawson’s corner from the left was headed narrowly past the far post corner by Dan O’Reilly.
Accies tried again and Hamilton earned a corner with a great run down the right, with Kieran MacDonald’s set-piece repelled, but when it came back in again it was headed out to Brian Easton just outside the box, whose shot flew just wide of the left post.
Queens were reduced to 10 men when Liddle was shown a second yellow card for pulling down Andy Winter in 40 minutes.
Hamilton could have taken the lead early in the second half when Moyo pounced on a goalkeeper howler by Josh Rae and mugged him, but ran out of pitch before he could take advantage.
From a MacDonald corner on the right in 51 minutes Moyo and Mihai Popescu both had shots cleared off the line.
Accies went close again in 57 minutes when Popescu swung in a cross from the right that was just too far ahead of Andy Ryan at the back post.
Lawson went close with a shot on the turn that flashed wide of the right post in 60 minutes.
Hamilton went close again two minutes later when Moyo picked out Ryan, and his half-volley was fumbled past the left post by Rae.
Accies’ pressure paid off in 65 minutes when O’Reilly played Winter down the left and he drew Rae before slamming a low shot into the right corner.
Ryan went close to doubling that lead with a shot from distance that Rae did well to claw over the top left corner.
The striker forced a fine diving save from Rae in stoppage time to keep it at 1-0.
HAMILTON: Fulton, Hamilton, Popescu, Easton (Mullin. 81), O’Reilly, Spence, Lawson, MacDonald (Shiels, 68), Ryan Winter (Brown, 88), Moyo.
Subs (not used): J . Smith (GK), Martin, L, Smith, Hughes, Mimnaugh.
Booked:- Easton (73)
QUEEN of the SOUTH: Rae, O’Connor, East, McKechnie- (Cochrane, 46), Cooper (Paton, 81), Todd, Gibson, Liddle, Connelly (Nditi, 46), Cameron, Roy (Folarin, 66).
Subs (not used): Cowie (GK), Debayo, Joseph, Gordon, Henderson.
Sent of: Liddle (40)
Booked: Liddle (11), Cameron (45+1)
Referee: Graham Grainger.
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