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Raiders in end of year sting

20:13 27 December 2015

London Raiders players and coach Alan Blyth look on from the bench (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders players and coach Alan Blyth look on from the bench (pic: John Scott)

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National League: London Raiders 3 Bracknell Hornets 5

London Raiders forward Seb Downing ended his long wait for a goal against Bracknell (pic: John Scott)London Raiders forward Seb Downing ended his long wait for a goal against Bracknell (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders brought the curtain down on 2015 with a disappointing loss against lowly Hornets at Lee Valley Ice Arena.

Raiders, without leading scorer Marek Nahlik (unavailable) and Liam Chong (suspension), could not capitalise on two early powerplay chances after penalties against Greg Chambers (tripping) and Stewart Tait (slashing).

And although they killed off a holding minor against Robert Jenner, the home side then fell behind seconds later as William Stead beat Michael Gray.

Chambers doubled Bracknell’s lead less than two minutes later and Raiders saw Mason Webster clash with Brandon Miles just before the break, which saw both claim double minors for roughing.

London Raiders forward Sam Roberts (pic: John Scott)London Raiders forward Sam Roberts (pic: John Scott)

Raiders halved the deficit within a minute of the restart through young forward Seb Downing, who having netted seven goals in first six matches of the season had gone 19 games without finding the net.

But Chambers restored his side’s two-goal cushion a little over a minute later, before Jack Baveystock was binned for high sticks.

Raiders got back to within a goal just before the midway mark when captain Tom Davis struck after Webster and Frankie Harvey had combined.

And the assist saw Harvey move into a share of ninth place in the club’s all time scoring list, level on 277 career points with former Raiders import Dave Whistle, who had scored 125 goals and 152 assists during the 1992/93 season.

The home side were back on level terms a minute later as Downing and Sam Roberts worked to create a chance for Michal Oravec to beat Daniel Milton.

But the Raiders joy was shortlived once again as Miles put Bracknell, who were without former Raider JJ Pitchley, back in front just 44 seconds later.

A boarding call against Rio Grinell-Parke and bench minor for having too many men on the ice were killed off by Raiders, while Hornets held on to their lead despite losing Danny Hughes to a hooking call late in the middle session.

And the home side survived another shorthanded spell at the start of the final stanza, after Mark Robinson was called for interference, to keep their hopes of a comeback alive.

Bracknell gave themselves some breathing space with less than nine minutes remaining, though, when Hughes netted their fifth goal of the night.

And London’s frustrations were clear and Oravec clashed with Ryan Handisides four minutes from time, which saw both given roughing minors.

The home side could not make any inroads in the brief time that remained as Hornets celebrated only a fourth win of the season in 19 matches.

Raiders ended 2015 in sixth place and they welcome their namesakes from the Isle of Wight, who are currently third, to Lee Valley for a rearranged fixture next Saturday (January 2).

Scorers, Raiders: Seb Downing 1+1 Tom Davis 1 Michal Oravec* 1 Sam Roberts 0+2 Frankie Harvey 0+1 Mason Webster 0+1.

Hornets: Greg Chambers* 2+1 Danny Hughes 1+2 William Stead 1 Brandon Miles 1 Ryan Handisides 0+3 Tom Fisher 0+1 Josh Martin 0+1.

Penalty minutes: London 14 Bracknell 14.

Shots on goal: Michael Gray (L, 59:55) 10-14-12=36-5 Daniel Milton (B) 14-15-9=38-3.

Referees: Tom Stephenson/Phil O’Neill.

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