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Hibernian thwarted in quest for overdue league win

It was a case of deja vu for Hibernian as settling for a 1-1 draw at Hamilton meant they had failed to secure their first Ladbrokes Premiership win since the opening day of the season.

Hibs were excellent during the first half and deservedly led through Stevie Mallan’s stunning strike but they could not find the second goal their play deserved before Ross Cunningham’s penalty gave Accies a point.

Paul Heckingbottom watched proceedings from the directors box as he served the first part of his two-match touchline ban.

The Hibs manager was again left to rue his side’s wastefulness in front of goal. A brilliant free-flowing move down the left flank in the 11th minute culminated in Joe Newell crossing for Daryl Horgan, but the winger somehow missed the target from only six yards out.

The visitors were in the ascendancy and came close to opening the scoring again when Christian Doidge glanced a header narrowly wide in the 14th minute.

Hibs deservedly went ahead in the 20th minute courtesy of a stunning strike from Mallan. The enigmatic midfielder collected the ball on the edge of the box and fired an unstoppable low drive past the despairing dive of Owain Fon Williams.

Hibernian have improved in recent weeks and they should have won last time out against Aberdeen but for Doidge’s profligate finishing. The visitors were excellent during the first half and some of their intricate football was a joy to behold.

There was a lull in proceedings as half-time approached but Tom James came close to doubling the visitors’ advantage with an ambitious long-range free-kick.

Hibs continued to look the most threatening side after the break and, after a clever short corner, Mallan’s drilled cross somehow evaded everyone in a crowded six-yard box.

With the visitors looking comfortable, the game turned in the 58th minute when referee John Beaton awarded Hamilton a penalty. Blair Alston went down theatrically after a clumsy challenge from Mallan and substitute Cunningham confidently fired the spot-kick beyond Chris Maxwell.

The visitors thought they had scored a late winner when Doidge fired past Williams but the referee had already blown for a foul in the build-up.

Heckingbottom waited until the 86th minute to introduce Florian Kamberi, to the frustration of the away support, but he almost won it for the visitors with a powerful effort from the edge of the box but Williams clawed it away as the pressure increased on the Hibs manager.