It was a tale of missed chances for the Hibernian under-20's at Easter Road as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Hamilton with a Scott Morton header proving to be the difference, writes John Stephens.
The beginning of the first half produced a lot of attacking play from both sides as each traded blows in an attempt to gain the upper hand.
A slack ball back from Gary Fraser to Scott Christie in the Hamilton goal almost allowed Shefki Kuqi an attempt at goal, but the danger was cleared by the visiting defence.
Defensive errors were the mainstay of the opening half as Hibernian won a penalty following a long ball which Kuqi collected in his stride and burst towards the goal.
The veteran striker, who had troubled the Hamilton defence, was hauled down in the box as he looked to pull the trigger.
It was Ivan Sproule, another first team player, who took on the responsibility of dispatching the spot kick. But his effort from 12 yards was saved by Christie in the Hamilton goals as he kept the score level.
Following this the young team in bottle green asserted themselves better as they began to stroke the ball around a open up spaces to attack.
Christie almost turned into the villain for Hamilton as he rushed out of his box to deal with Kuqi intercepting a slack pass back. The ball fell to Sproule as Christie was still 25 yards from goal and struggling to get back.
A breakdown in communication between Sproule and Kuqi however led to the chance evaporating as the ball was cleared and the chance passed.
But it was Hamilton, who took the lead as they remained dangerous on the counter attack. A dangerous ball in from the right hand side found the unmarked Scott Morton in the box as he directed his header past the helpless Paul Grant in the Hibs goal.
Hibs continued to probe and their efforts were almost rewarded as Harris put in a great challenge and won possession back as the Hamilton defence held onto the ball
The young Hibee weaved his way through the defence and found himself one on one with the keeper, however he opened himself up and sidefooted his effort marginally wide of the right hand post.
Sproule missed a golden opportunity as Hibernian kept the pressure up on the Hamilton goal.
David Gold won a challenge and then played the ball through to the first team player, however his low strike was saved well by the Hamilton keeper.
The young Hibernian team continued to press and find an equaliser, as the 36 year old Kuqi hammered a low free-kick from 25 yards which Christie again got down well to save.
Hamilton remained dangerous on the counter attack, yet it was Hibs who yet again missed another glaring opportunity.
Harris hit another ball in from a free-kick and number 5 headed towards goal but it was cleared only as far as the 18 yard line where Horribine could only hammer his effort high above the goal in the last chance of the first half.
After the break, the game continued on in the same vein as Hibernian kept piling on the pressure as Christie kept the strikes at goal out on the rare occasion the ball was not blocked by the packed Hamilton defence.
On one of those occasions it was Sproule again who tested Christie, this time with a stinging drive from distance that looked destined for the top corner, however the keeper was able to push the ball behind for a corner.
Hibernian continued to press however the goal never arrived despite the best efforts from the team, as the substitute Jay Doyle almost found the net, however his strike could only hit the side netting as the game petered out to a 1-0 defeat for the Hibernian under-20's.
Hibernian u20s: Grant, Black, Crane, Monaghan, Wilson, Donaldson, Sproule, Gold, Harris, Horribine, Kuqi
Subs: Smith, Paul, Doyle (all used), Horne, Baptie, Martynuik
Pic: Willie McGillivray