London Raiders signings boost Blyth
17:00 22 January 2016
Coach hoping to end winless run
London Raiders coach Alan Blyth is hoping his new additions can bolster the ranks and help his team end a seven-match winless run against Streatham tomorrow (Saturday). Raiders have not tasted success since their 10-4 victory over the Redskins on December 19, tasting a sixth successive loss when going down 3-0 at home to Invicta last weekend, before a 2-2 tie in Solent the next night.
Goalie Ryan Bainborough made his debut in the defeat against the Dynamos, while defencemen Matt France and John Connelly are set to come into the side after joining from Chelmsford, who signed ex-Raiders Billy and Charlie Phillips in midweek.
Blyth said: “This week had been quite eventful for us and the latest news to be announced will hopefully have the fans as excited for the remaining part of the season as the team and management are.
“The new additions have given us more strength in depth and will provide vital competition to the squad.
“Ryan proved last weekend that even being short of match practice he is more than capable of starting games and will be a solid addition for us.
“His professionalism and athleticism since he has joined us has been superb and we look forward to seeing more of him over the course of the season.
“The additions this week will bring a new lease of life to our defensive unit. Chelmsford may well regret the decision on letting these two players leave, however their loss is our gain.
“I would like to thank Sean Easton and the Chieftains organisation in making the transfer of the players so effortless and tidy.”
Raiders are still without Liam Chong as he recovers from a broken thumb and clarified the situation surrounding Frankie Harvey this week, explaining that he remains on the roster, but his availability is affected by work commitments.
They could not find a way past Invicta’s Damien King last weekend, but former goalie Blyth paid tribute to the 24-year-old, saying: “He has proved over the last two years that we have been facing him that he is most probably the best netminder in this league.
“He made saves that he had no right to make and left our forwards frustrated. Our defence was pretty solid, but for a few lapses and moments of craziness.
“Again a few frustrating penalties were called, penalty shots for both teams were awarded however neither team could convert.”
Bailey Chittock missed London’s penalty shot late on, but Marek Nahlik’s brace earned a deserved point in Gosport the following night.
Blyth added: “The 7pm face off time always makes this a difficult fixture that doesn’t attract many supporters due to the late return time.
“We travelled with only three defencemen, Michael ((Gray) was back between the posts and only seven forwards.
“We started solid and limited their chances and had a few good chances of our own, but ‘Chico’ Cole in the Solent net was alert to the danger.
“Solent got the initial breakthrough, however we fought back through a slap shot from Marek.
“The period finished 2-1 to the Devils and we had it all to do in the third period. We changed our plan slightly and got back on level terms through another slapper from Marek.
“Both teams had chances to take maximum points however both goalies were in top form and were determined not to concede any more.”
Streatham, meanwhile, arrive in Lee Valley unbeaten in five matches since their last meeting with the Raiders after beating the Isle of Wight, Solent and Cardiff (twice) and drawing with Bracknell.
The Redskins also added experienced British defenceman David Savage to their line-up this week ahead of the January 31 signing deadline.