DANNY WARD provided a welcome reminder of his lethal left foot as Town made it three wins from as many senior pre-season friendlies as they beat Hamilton 2-1.
Alan Lee also made the scoresheet in Scotland as Lee Clark’s side were given a useful work-out in front of 820 fans, around 100 of them from West Yorkshire, at New Douglas Park.
Town handed a first pre-season outing to Jack Hunt, who lined up at right-back, and played on-loan Hull man Liam Cooper at left-back.
Chris Atkinson and Matty Crooks formed a young central midfield pairing while Lee and Danny Cadamarteri featured up front.
Town had to defend an early Hamilton corner, but were soon on the offensive, with Ward sending in a teasing flag kick of his own before netting with only four minutes 17 seconds on the clock.
Aidan Chippendale, playing wide left, was the architect, cutting in and beating two challengers before delivering a low cross which Ward converted with a trademark shot.
Most of the Accies’ early threat was coming down the right, and striker Derek Lyle had a header from a deflected cross saved by Nick Colgan before a slick 14th-minute move involving full-back Jim McAlister and winger Grant Anderson ended with Jordan Kirkpatrick volleying just wide.
Kirkpatrick tested Colgan with a speculative effort from distance before Town doubled their lead in the 24th minute.
This time Ward was the provider, slipping a neat pass through to Lee, who lifted the ball left footed over diving keeper Tomas Cerny.
Cadamarteri, on familiar territory North of the border after his time at Dundee United, was taking the opportunity to open his lungs, and a darting run and cross in the 29th minute would have provided a straightforward finish for the lurking Lee had centre-back Simon Mensing not stretched to flick the ball to safety.
Mensing was well and truly out-muscled by Lee in the 37th minute, but the Irishman’s powerful rising shot flew narrowly over.
Hamilton were having their moments, however, and after McAlister’s rising shot was held by Colgan, Grant Gillespie crashed a 39th-minute effort against the left-hand angle of post and bar.
The home faithful didn’t have too long to wait to see the net ripple, for just a minute later, Anderson latched onto Kirkpatrick’s looping ball, and with Town claiming offside, squeezed a shot between Colgan and the right-hand post.
Town made two changes at the break, bringing on Gary Naysmith for Cooper and replacing Ward with Jimmy Spencer, who took up position on the right rather than his usual central striker role.
Spencer was soon in action, breaking onto a quickly-taken throw-in by Cadamarteri to send the ball low across the face of goal.
Having taken a knock, Cadamarteri came off on 52 minutes, with Lee Novak coming on.
Naysmith was quickly across to cover as Hamilton substitute Willie McLaren (on for scorer Anderson) latched onto a long upfield pass in the 55th minute.
A raft of changes on the hour brought Peter Clarke, Tommy Miller, Jordan Rhodes and Gary Roberts, but the latter lasted only eight minutes before Chippendale returned.
It was no surprise what had been a lively game lost a little momentum, although Clarke came close with a header from Chippendale’s corner which had Cerny scrambling to palm over the bar.
Novak, chasing a third goal in as many friendly outings, had a late shot saved by Cerny.
Hamilton: Cerny, McAlister, Hendrie, Hopkirk, Mensing, McLaughlin (Kilday, 72mins), Anderson (McLaren, HT), Gillespie (Millar, 72), Lyle (Imrie, 65), Crawford, Kirkpatrick.
Town: Colgan, Hunt, McCombe (P Clarke, 60mins), Kay, Cooper (Naysmith, HT), Chippendale (Roberts, 60, Chippendale 68), Ward (Spencer, HT), Crooks (Miller, 60), Atkinson, Lee (Rhodes, 60), Cadamarteri (Novak, 52).