Dougie Imrie’s 72nd minute header was all that separated Lanarkshire’s Premiership sides in a game that was full of effort and endeavour but short in composure and class.
It was a long, looping cross to the back post area by Accies’ left back Anton Kurakins that allowed Imrie to climb highest at the back post to send a header back across the goal and into the Motherwell net.
Before that it looked like a scoreless draw was on the cards as chances were at a premium with the game being fought out in the midfield area.
The visitors had numerous half chances in the first half through Theo Robinson but on each occasion he shot tamely at Michael McGovern in the Hamilton goal.
At the other end Lucas Tagliapietra saw a headed goal chalked off for a foul on visiting keeper Conner Ripley before the mercurial Ali Crawford struck the bar with a wonderful left footed effort from 20 yards.
The second period was punctuated with fouls and stoppages and the only chances fell to Ali Crawford who should have done better after Imrie had cut the ball back to him inside the penalty box.
In the dying seconds Motherwell had a big shout for a penalty when Tagliapietra looked to motion his arm to the ball in the box. Referee Craig Thomson decided that it was not an offence and waved play on.
Home gaffer Martin Canning thought his side ‘deserved the victory’ as he felt Accies ‘controlled long periods of the game’ while Ian Baraclough ‘couldn’t see his team lose the game but paid the price for not defending a deep, speculative cross’.