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Oliver defends Raiders efforts

08:35 18 February 2014

Raiders defenceman David Oliver (pic: Tim Bowes)

Raiders defenceman David Oliver (pic: Tim Bowes)

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Blueliner reflects on Isle of Wight loss

Raiders defenceman David Oliver tried to put on a brave face on his side’s 10-0 defeat at the Isle of Wight.

The National League cup tie was abandoned after 40 minutes, following an injury to Raiders goalie Michael Gray, who took the full force of an Alex Barker slapshot to the head, which broke his helmet.

And the heavy loss came just 24 hours after Raiders had won a league meeting between the sides, 6-4, at Lee Valley.

Raiders travelled to the island with only eight players and Oliver said: “It was the complete opposite to Saturday, where we played some of the best hockey that we’ve played all season and beat them.

“We knew they were going to come hard and everyone did their best, but it was always sort of on the cards that we were going to lose with only six skaters.”

Oliver, who claimed to play the entire match alongside makeshift defensive partner Tom Davis, added: “It was embarrassing really, to go down there with so few players but it was a Sunday and people had work and other commitments so what else could we do?

“At times we played nice hockey, but with such a short bench and with them getting all the bounces and luck too, it was always going to be difficult.

“I felt sorry for the fans who had paid their money to come and watch as it wasn’t much of a game, but we just had to keep our chins up and try to get on with it.”

Oliver’s sympathies also went out to his injured goalie as he added: “P-Head took an absolute rocket of a shot to the head and his helmet came off and he was just out of the game.”

Gray is expected to be fit for next Sunday’s home league game against Streatham, with Oliver suggesting the team will shrug off their loss in Ryde.

“We’ll be looking to bounce back against Streatham,” he said.

“That’s a big one for us as we’re fighting them and Cardiff for that fourth spot.

“Despite losing the Peterborough boys and having a short bench, the spirit in the team is still good despite this trip.”

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