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Pitchley in positive mood as Raiders upset Phantoms on way to a four-point weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 November 2017

JJ Pitchley looks for a way through against MK Thunder (pic John Scott)

JJ Pitchley looks for a way through against MK Thunder (pic John Scott)

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London Raiders forward JJ Pitchley was delighted to help his side produce their best result of the season against National League Division One South leaders Peterborough last weekend.

Marek Nahlik goes on the attack for London Raiders as team-mates look on from the bench (pic John Scott) Marek Nahlik goes on the attack for London Raiders as team-mates look on from the bench (pic John Scott)

Pitchley’s 54th-minute goal proved to be the game-winner in a 6-3 success, after Raiders had let a three-goal lead slip.

Juraj Huska bagged a brace, with Brandon Ayliffe, Marek Nahlik and Olegs Lascenko (empty net) also on target, while goalie Euan King made 43 saves against his home-town club on his return from a knee injury.

And the 23-year-old Pitchley – son of ex-Raiders defenceman Ben – was well aware of the significance of the victory, saying: “Saturday was a good start to the weekend of course. I think it’s the first time the Raiders have beaten Peterbourgh for a long time, not since my dad played!

“To get a a win away from home against the Phantoms was a massive boost for us and it shows us and the league that the gap is just a matter of inches now. It’s anyone’s league.”

Matt Turner scores in a shoot-out for London Raiders (pic John Scott) Matt Turner scores in a shoot-out for London Raiders (pic John Scott)

Raiders, with Michael Gray between the posts this time, were made to work hard for their win over MK Thunder at Lee Valley the following night.

Matt Turner opened the scoring on the power play midway through the match but former Raiders Rio Grinell-Parke and Ross Green scored 19 seconds apart in the final before, before Pitchley grabbed a 51st-minute equaliser to make it 2-2.

Overtime failed to separate the sides, but Turner and Nahlik netted in a penalty shoot-out to earn Raiders victory.

Pitchley added: “We made hard work of what should have been an easier task than Saturday’s game.

“We went into Sunday a little relaxed and MK came out of the blocks wanting it more. Going into the last 10 minutes trailing by one is never the situation we expected after the previous night, but credit to the boys.

“We stepped up and took our chances well to draw it back to 2-2 we had a couple of good chances in OT to end it, including one from myself. But Tommy Annetts stood on his head in those extra five minutes and in the shoot-out.

“‘P-head’ (Gray) made some great saves to give us our first four-point weekend of the season and it was very well-earned but almost taken away by a little bit of confidence from a big win against an old EPL team. It’s a learning curve for us, for sure!”

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