Raiders push champions hard
PUBLISHED: 14:50 24 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:50 24 March 2014
National League: Raiders 2 Chelmsford 3
Raiders gave league champions Chelmsford a fright before falling to a slender defeat in a hot-tempered derby at Lee Valley.
The home side were first on the scoreboard, thanks to a shorthanded goal from player-coach Danny Marshall and still in the hunt for an upset with the scores level after 40 minutes.
But a powerplay goal from Darren Brown in the 49th minute eventually earned Chieftains a win as tempers boiled over.
Raiders killed off four minor penalties in the opening 10 minutes, before failing to capitalise on a couple of powerplay opportunities of their own.
But sparks flew at the end of the first period as Billy Phillips clashed with Chelmsford goalie and former teammate Euan King, which saw both ejected with match penalties for spearing and slashing respectively.
Phillips was also assessed a roughing double minor after clashing with former Raiders captain Julian Smith, which left the home side with a numerical disadvantage after the restart.
But the second period was only 22 seconds old when Marshall beat Ben Clements with his first shot faced to break the deadlock.
Former Romford junior Cameron Bartlett got the visitors back on terms less than two minutes later, though, but their joy was shortlived as Jakub Klima restored the Raiders lead 28 seconds later.
Chelmsford’s James Ayling squared matters for a second time in the 33rd minute and the match remained in the balance heading into the final period.
A bench minor penalty on an icing infringement proved costly for Raiders, though, as Brown converted Chelmsford’s powerplay to clinch victory.
Raiders end the regular season with a double-header next weekend as they visit lowly Solent on Saturday, before hosting Bracknell on Sunday.
They need two points to clinch fourth place above Streatham, who they will then face in the first round of the play-offs next month.
Scorers, Raiders: Danny Marshall 1+1 Jakub Klima* 1 Tom Davis 0+2 David Oliver 0+1. Chieftains: Cameron Bartlett 1 James Ayling 1 Darren Brown 1 Gary Clarke 0+2 Luke Brittle 0+1 Matt Turner 0+1.
Shots on goal: Michael Gray (Raiders) 43-3 Euan King (Chieftains, 19:58) 7-0 Ben Clements (Chieftains, 40:00) 18-2.
Penalty minutes: Raiders 61 Chieftains 67.