THE Moama-Echuca Border Raiders’ men’s side has pulled off its first win of 2017, beating Colts United 2-1 in Strathfieldsaye on Saturday.
After 14 disappointing weeks produced just one draw, the division one Raiders had to fight hard for the win, surviving a United barrage in the closing minutes.
Coach Darryl Brown said the relief and excitement was easy to see in the players throughout the win.
‘‘When we scored our second goal, everyone just went ballistic,’’ he said. ‘‘It was stacks on, everyone was up off the bench, some of our substitutes were probably a little bit lucky not to get booked for running onto the pitch.
‘‘But everyone was very excited, and it was a close game.’’
Brown was proud of the side’s attitude to keep fighting despite the rough season.
‘‘It was like winning the championship for us; from where we are, it was huge for us,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a great effort from the lads, they don’t give up. They could have walked away during this season but they decided they wanted to keep playing football.
‘‘Now they’re already looking for where that next win is coming from.’’
The Raiders hit the lead 20 minutes into the game when Quinn Kane scored a brilliant goal, his fifth for the season.
‘‘It was a great run by Quinn, he took a few guys on and slotted it home; the goalkeeper had no chance,’’ Brown said.
A back and forth contest throughout, neither side could break through before the half with Moama holding the slender lead. But 12 minutes into the second half, defender James Brown surged forward from defence to double the side’s advantage and bring them close to a maiden win.
‘‘He played centre back, he defended most balls throughout the game and he was outstanding,’’ the coach said.
‘‘He picked the ball up in the backline, went for a run with it and just kept going.
‘‘He passed in to Quinn, who played a perfect one-two, James controlled it with his left and hammered it in with his right.’’
Joshua Raeburn pulled a goal back for United in the 73rd minute, but the Raiders were equal to the task and held on for the win.
‘‘When they scored, everyone picked up and wouldn’t let Colts score again,’’ Brown said.
Goalkeeper Stephen Gruner was the side’s standout in the win, sacrificing his body in a string of brilliant saves with a broken nose and a concussion after the game.
In the women’s championship, the Border Raiders kept up their strong winning form with a 3-0 triumph against Colts United.
Colts suffered late injuries and could only field nine players through the game, which proved to be a tricky recipe for Moama to deal with.
Natalie Sands opened the scoring just eight minutes in, but the side couldn’t break through again until the second half, Sands again finding the net in the 63rd minute.
Winger Cameron Yeates completed the 3-0 result, the side’s seventh win in eight games. The Raiders are third on the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League table.