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Hamilton secure much needed Betfred Cup win over Ayr

Hamilton Academical v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – New Douglas Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Hamilton kick-started their Betfred Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Ayr United.

Having lost their opening group game to League Two Annan Athletic on Tuesday, Hamilton had no margin for error as they had to win to keep their hopes of progressing alive.

And they secured three points with first-half goals from birthday boy Marios Ogkmpoe, who turned 26, and Charlie Trafford.

There was a nervous ending to the game when Ayr’s Michael Moffat pulled one back after 68 minutes but Hamilton held out for the win.

Ayr threatened inside two minutes when Dario Zanatta drilled a low shot across the face of goal and just wide.

Hamilton striker Ogkmpoe opening the scoring after 19 minutes as he got in front of Ayr defender Jack Baird to cushion a volley from Scott McMann’s cross beyond Viljami Sinisalo. It was his first goal of the season.

Ayr were forced into a change when Michael Miller was replaced by Michael Hewitt after 24 minutes.

The visitors continued to pose problems to the Accies defence and Moffat sent a header from an inviting Aaron Muirhead cross just over.

Hamilton, however, doubled their advantage after 36 minutes as Trafford notched his first goal for the club.

David Templeton’s free-kick was headed clear but it fell to Trafford, who was lurking just inside the penalty area, and the midfielder unleashed a crisp volley that beat Sinisalo.

Ayr United pushed for a way back into the game after the interval and Moffat forced a fine save from Ryan Fulton, who was back in the starting line-up after completing a period of self-isolation following a positive Covid-19 test, and the hitman spurned another opportunity when he blazed over as he closed in on goal.

But the next chance Moffat got he tucked away as he reduced the deficit with 20 minutes remaining. Muirhead’s long throw was not dealt with by the Accies defence and came to the unmarked Moffat, who confidently dispatched from close range.