Eyemouth will still have a say in promotion race, insists Gracie

Eyemouth coaching staff, manager Carl Hudson, Colin Gracie and Gary Smith have done a terrific job.
Eyemouth coaching staff, manager Carl Hudson, Colin Gracie and Gary Smith have done a terrific job.

RATHER than dwell on their home derby defeat, Eyemouth United coach Colin Gracie would rather look forward to Saturday’s match against Burntisland Shipyard and get it out of the system.

The Fishermen remain firmly in contention for promotion after defying all the odds this season and mounting a challenge at the top with a threadbare squad.

While Coldstream have grabbed the headlines by stretching ahead at the summit of the First Division since August, Eyemouth have quietly churned out the results to put themselves in the hunt for the second promotion place along with Berwick Rangers Reserves, Leith Athletic and Craigroyston.

Just three points now separate the teams from second to fifth place. Two of them, Leith Athletic and Berwick, meet this weekend.

“The dark horses, of course, are Leith Athletic and Craigroyston, who have games in hand. But there is no pressure on us. We’re still in the mix in second place, but Coldstream are a long way in front now,” said Gracie, who admitted that the Streamers deserved their 3-0 win at Warner Park.

“They were the better team,” he added. “They took their chances and their set pieces were effective. We didn’t turn up. We were poor.

“We tried to change it in the second half by bringing on Stewart Wright and going with three at the back, but we ended up chasing the game.”

After losing nine players to Coldstream in the summer and bringing four players in the other direction, expectations were low at the start of the season.

Thirty goals from captain and talisman Steven Shennan, who has formed an effective partnership in attack with former Coldstream midfielder Mark Bolton, has been a major factor in Eyemouth’s relative success. But Gracie also puts it down to a combination of team spirit and hard work.

“Everyone has pulled together. We have a small squad of just 15, so it is difficult at times. We’ve just a brought young Euan Sherry into the team at right-back and he’s only 17. But we’re sitting in second place so we can’t complain.

“We are doing far better than we thought we would at the start of the season, so to be sitting second at this stage is a great effort.”

“We’ll have a say in who goes up, that’s for sure. We’re in the mix and we’re extremely positive going into the Burntisland game this weekend.”

Left-back Leigh Walker returns to the squad after missing the Coldstream match, but Sean Phillips is still struggling with a knee injury and could be doubtful.