Young Hibs hang on for a vital point

Jason Cummings scored with a header.  Picture Robert Perry

Jason Cummings scored with a header. Picture Robert Perry

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A LACKLUSTRE Hibs under-20s side scraped a 1-1 draw against a dominant Hamilton Academical under-20s to extend their unbeaten run to 12 games.

A disputed penalty was converted by Greg Docherty with four minutes gone at the Energy Assets Arena, Livingston, before a Jason Cummings header levelled proceedings.

Hamilton dominated throughout and had two late penalty appeals turned down but the result moved Hibs four points clear at the top of the table following Hearts’ defeat of Celtic.

With just three minutes on the clock, Sean Murdoch was ruled to have hauled down Andy Ryan and despite the goalkeeper’s protestations the referee awarded a penalty. Docherty dispatched the spot-kick, leaving the title-chasing side facing an uphill battle.

Despite carving open the home side’s defence with consummate ease on numerous occasions, Hamilton were pegged back, Cummings heading in the equaliser on 23 minutes, notching his 22nd goal of the SPFL U20 League in the process.

This did not alter the flow of the match and Murdoch almost gifted Danny Armstrong a goal as he ventured outside the box, leaving his goal unattended, but the midfielder could not hit the target.

After the break, Danny Handling spurned a good chance, blazing his effort over the bar on 53 minutes. Hamilton continued to fillet the Hibs defence, with Murdoch proving to be the last bastion of hope for the league leaders, preventing them from falling behind.

Three Hibs substitutions could not alter the flow of the game, and under heavy pressure, they almost gifted their opposition two penalties.

Claims for a handball against Tom Gardiner, and another for a potential foul from Murdoch in injury time, were waived away, much to the displeasure of the visitors.

Hibs Under-20s: Murdoch, Black, Baptie, Smith, Boateng, Gardiner, Zoubir (Sinclair, 81), Horribine, Cummings (Crane, 63), Handling, Watmore (Todd, 74). Unused substitutes: Perntreou, Dunsmore, Wilson, McCaffrey.