We’re halfway there, livin’ on a prayer

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Hawick Royal Albert 1

Eyemouth 3

EoS FIRST DIVISION

KEVIN JANIAK reports from Albert Park

HAWICK are still on the difficult journey from being First Division whipping boys to becoming a team that can at least hold their own in the league – but they are halfway there.

It’s just a pity that their improvement is condensed into the first half of every match.

The previous week in the Scottish Cup, they held Gala Fairydean to 2-1 at the break before collapsing to an 8-1 defeat.

And on Saturday, they were actually leading the Fishermen 1-0 at half-time thanks to an Andrew Maltman strike, but went on to lose three in the second.

Manager Mick Murphy at least knows what he needs to turn his 45-minute marvels into serious contenders – but it’s not as easy as just saying it.

“We need a team of fit boys starting the match,” he told TheSouthern. “We had a lot of players out from last week’s match – Roddy McConnell, Peter Gellaitry and big Chirs Batten for instance – through work commitments and such.

“We’ve got to be able to run from goalmouth to goalmouth for the entire 90 minutes, not just 45. The boys need a bit of belief in themselves.

“I would even have been happy going down 2-1, that would have been a bit of a boost for the boys.”

The Teries did indeed enjoy most of territory and possession in the first half, with Maltman and Liam Lavery both going close.

Eyemouth were content to hit on the break – and James Wilson would have scored – if it wasn’t for Bryan Tait clearing off his line.

But the Fishermen looked more dangerous from set pieces, with Keiran Ainslie heading wide from a perfectly placed Richard Baxendale free kick.

Seven minutes before the break, Hawick’s pressure paid off. Lavery produced a superb ball to Maltman, whose right-footed shot flew past Sean Simpson and into the net.

Then Lavery sent through Sean Owens, who could have made it two if he had better judged his lob over Simpson.

But the mood in the bar at half-time was one of cautious optimism – even though they were in front, it was a slender lead, one which even the Hawick support feared was not enough.

It took 15 minutes of the second half for the visitors to open their account, but by then the zero next to their name on the scoresheet had entered the endangered species list, such was their dominance.

The equaliser came from the simplest of goals, Stuart Coyle finishing off Steven Shennan’s cut-back.

Then, four minutes later, Wilson headed home Gary Wales’ cross to take the lead.

Coyle had the ball in the net only for it to be chalked off for offside, but by this time any hopes of a Hawick comeback had died.

And with four minutes to go, Wilson fed supersub Johnny Simpson into the box to finish the scoring.

Eyemouth boss Carl Hudson gave the Hawick side credit for their efforts – and forecast that they won’t be the whipping boys for long.

He told us: “I said it before the game – Hawick will beat teams this season, and I don’t want us to be the first.

“For 45 minutes we looked second-best and we looked like we were going to be the first team they would beat.

“I wasn’t pleased at half-time and told the players as much.

“I think their ears are still burning now from the roasting we gave them, and thank goodness, it seems to have worked.”

Hawick Royal Albert: M. White, B. Tait, K. McGaughey (C. Falconer 77 mins), C. Wilson, M. Cooper, C. Robb, L. Lavery, M. Deans (C. Elliot 70 mins), S. Owens, A. Maltman (J. Easdon 65 mins) and L. Cooper.