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Raiders skipper in Solent warning

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 September 2014

Raiders captain AJ Smith looks to make a pass, as Phil Manny looks on (pic: John Scott)

Raiders captain AJ Smith looks to make a pass, as Phil Manny looks on (pic: John Scott)

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Smith expects tough battle on south coast

London Raiders captain AJ Smith is expecting another tough battle at Solent on Sunday.

Having slipped to a late loss against Bracknell at Lee Valley last weekend, Raiders head to the south coast looking to bounce back.

But Smith warns they cannot take Solent for granted, saying: “Solent on Sunday is going to be a very tough game. It is a tiny, horrible place to go and play hockey and Solent know how to use that to their advantage.

“They have also had some good performances so far this season, running both Chelmsford and Isle of Wight very close in recent weeks.

“The boys will be up for it though. It’s important to get some more points on the board and to bounce back immediately from the disappointment of losing to Bracknell at the weekend.

“We know where we went wrong and it’s something we will be looking to rectify in training this week and take into the game with us on Sunday.”

Raiders welcomed player-coach Danny Marshall back from a one-game suspension against the Hornets, while Ross Wilkinson and Perry Richardson made their debuts, but they fell behind with barely 30 seconds on the block.

The hosts levelled through Jakub Klima’s goal and moved 3-1 up at the start of the middle session as Marshall and Vaclav Drabek netted 63 seconds apart.

Danny Hughes replied with a shorthanded goal, before Smith opened his account for the campaign to make it 4-2.

He said: “It was nice to get off the mark as far as scoring is concerned. It was a nice goal too!

“Klima put me through one-on-one with the keeper and I slotted it through his legs.

But obviously the shine was taken away from it due to the loss we suffered.”

Former Raider JJ Pitchley replied before the second interval, before Cameron Barker and Hughes put Bracknell 5-4 up in the final stanza.

Defenceman Drabek looked to have rescued Raiders a point with his second goal of the night, but Hughes had the final word in the 59th minute.

Smith added: “I’m gutted to have dropped points this early in the season against a team that we should be beating.
“But now we will see what the team is made of by seeing how we recover from the loss and that will start at training Thursday and continue through to the weekend.”

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