AN AGONISING 323 days of pain, broken by the sound of a whistle after just 90 minutes.
That is how long it took for the Moama Echuca Border Raiders to secure a win and sing their song after their last victory — a 2-1 over Colts United on July 30, 2017.
Sunday’s 6-0 thrashing of Golden City at Jack Eddy Oval broke a nearly year-long dry spell for the Raiders, and lifted them off the bottom rung of the ladder.
Mitch Langenbacher scored two penalties on the way to a well earned hat-trick, and striker Aaron Piercy claimed his first of the year.
Skipper James Brown bagged another brace, taking his season total to nine in eight, and to third equal for the league’s golden boot.
Having gone through four previous goalkeepers through suspension or injury this year, it is also the first time the Raiders have kept a clean sheet — Clayton Scott donning the gloves this time to keep City out.
It is a marked improvement on the previous season for the men in green — in the 2017 Bendigo Amateur Soccer League the Raiders managed just one win and a draw in 22 rounds.
They conceded an average of 10 goals, while scoring less than one at the other end, in every match.
This time around the average score line is a 2-4 loss, and they have already racked up nine points from 10 games.
With a draw and a win from their last two matches, the Raiders are in fine form to host second-placed Eaglehawk on Sunday.
Coming off the back of an unconvincing 1-0 win over seventh-placed Colts United, Eaglehawk have only netted three more goals than the 10th-placed Raiders.
Border Raiders coach Darryl Brown said it was a long time between drinks, but well worth the wait.
‘‘The lads played fantastically well,’’ Brown said.
‘‘At the whistle everyone was happy and just relieved. It was good to get it under our belts. It felt like we’d finally been rewarded.
‘‘We dominated from the start. They were fired up and even though they have improved, we were just better on the day.
‘‘We have Tiziano (Carbone) still to come back, and Adam Richardson played and played well, but he came off in the second half to help his back recover,’’ he said.
In other divisions, the women’s seniors won 4-1 and sit seventh in a ladder of 12, the men’s reserves lost 0-2, and the youth premiers sit fifth after a 7-1 win.