Hamilton spurned the chance to take a giant step towards Ladbrokes Premiership survival as Anders Dreyer’s penalty rescued a 1-1 draw for St Mirren.
Tenth-placed Accies were looking to stretch a four-point lead over the Buddies to seven as they clashed at the Hope Stadium.
And it was going according to plan as Steve Davies swept Brian Rice’s men ahead after 63 minutes.
But Saints grabbed a relegation lifeline just three minutes later thanks to on-loan Brighton winger Dreyer’s cool spot-kick.
Both sides do, however, move further ahead of bottom side Dundee, who find themselves three adrift of Oran Kearney’s Paisley men.
Saints were missing Duckens Nazon after the Haitian frontman was handed a retrospective two-game ban for aiming an elbow at Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer.
But with the pressure on them to chase down Hamilton, there was no lack of desire early on.
Scott McMann had to block a Brad Lyons shot in the opening exchanges while Ziggy Gordon had a nervous moment when he dived in on Dreyer in the box. Referee John Beaton, however, waved away Saints’ penalty appeals.
Yet it was Hamilton who should have netted after 26 minutes. Darian MacKinnon pounced on Jack Baird’s poor clearance before sliding a great ball into Davies’ feet but the big striker was foiled by keeper Vaclav Hladky.
Accies’ impressive 17-year-old midfielder Reegan Mimnaugh again looked comfortable in the heart of the action despite his tender years, reading the danger signs and making the kind of tidy passes that seemed beyond his team-mates. He was even bold enough to pull the trigger from 30 yards out but Hladky dealt with the youngster’s strike well.
Saints wasted their own golden chance eight minutes before the break. Dreyer fired a long ball up to Simeon Jackson, who did brilliantly to hold off Matthew Kilgallon while support arrived.
The striker fed the ball to Lyons while Danny Mullen peeled off to the back post – but there was no cross as Lyons went for goal himself, prodding a tame effort wide.
Accies almost grabbed the initiative early in the second period when Mickel Miller stung the palms of Hladky before Ethan Erhahon had to boot George Oakley’s follow-up off the line.
St Mirren raced up the other end but were also denied as Gary Woods stood up well to defy the increasingly influential Dreyer.
Rice swapped the ineffective Miller on the hour mark for Tony Andreu and it took just three minutes for the Frenchman to make his impact as he swept in a perfect cross which Davies steered home off the post.
It appeared to be a crucial moment in the battle at the bottom but Saints were behind for just three minutes.
Gordon had got away with his first-half scare with Dreyer but there was no reprieve when he brought down the same man again.
Jackson was off penalty duties after his Panenka calamity against St Johnstone, leaving it to Danish Under-21 ace Dreyer to fire home a precious equaliser.
Hamilton could have won it in stoppage time but Hladky pulled off a crucial double save to deny Oakley then Andreu.
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