BT National League Two
ARDROSSAN ACCIES 0
By Danny McGreish
THE last time the teams met in October, Accies had scored 49 points and won comfortably.
However it was a totally different story in arctic conditions on Saturday as Accies went down to a defeat which could possibly put them in the relegation mix.
Accies, who are currently playing without key players through injury were dealt another blow prior to kick-off when centre Jamie McKee was unable to play and his place was taken by coach Rory Couper.
AJ McFarlane kicked off for the hosts and for the first five minutes kept Accies in defence. Their pressure paid off when the referee awarded the first of numerous penalties against the visitors and McFarlane duly put three points on the board.
For the next half hour the visitors were encamped in the Hillhead half of the pitch.
During this time they were awarded five kickable penalties but each time elected to kick for the line and go for the catch and driving maul but a combination of lack of direction and slow service at the back of the maul coupled with constant offside infringement by the home side's back row, prevented them from scoring each time.
However, the Accies forwards were keeping their bigger opponents on the back foot. Mick McFarlane was putting in some big hits and Scott Campbell,Stuart Lamont, Istok Totic and Gordon Telfer were at the forefront of ball carries and close support.
With conditions proving difficult,Accies attempted to move the ball along the back line but attempted long passes were being spilled due to the conditions.
The game was also suffering from debatable offside interpretations by match referee Alex Pratt. It was not until 37 minutes that the home side got into the visitors' 22 when AJ McFarlane kicked long forcing Accies to concede an attacking lineout.
Accies tight head prop Innes Fraser disrupted the driving maul by stripping the ball from the Hillhead attackers and thwarted the danger
Jack Anderson started the second half with a high kick, and the ball was returned back into the visitors half where Accies were again penalised .Another AJ McFarlane penalty added another three more points and two minutes later he scored again.
Another penalty was awarded to the hosts in front of the posts and AJ McFarlane stepped up but this time as the Accies team trooped back expecting the inevitable kick at the posts, he took a quick tap and went over for a try but the conversion was missed.
With the visitors struggling in the conditions they had to use all their replacements and due to an already depleted squad were now forced to play a second row and winger at centre.
With Accies continuing to be penalised it was only a matter of time before AJ McFarlane kicked another penalty which he duly did on the hour.
Accies' woes continued with second row Mick McFarlane being sent to the sin-bin and with Stuart Lewis having to come off , they now had 13 players.
Hillhead scored their second try after a confusing referee decision. A penalty was indicated to Accies then the award was reversed to Hillhead. A kick to touch and from the lineout the ball was spread wide for centre Scott Halliday to score.
In the final move Hillhead scored a third try when Kevin Lowrie touched down and McFarlane converted.