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Raiders ‘recognised’ as contenders

17:00 28 March 2014

Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall beats Chelmsford goalie Ben Clements in their derby meeting at Lee Valley (pic: John Scott)

Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall beats Chelmsford goalie Ben Clements in their derby meeting at Lee Valley (pic: John Scott)

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Marshall believes team can have play-off impact

Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall fights for possession against Chelmsford (pic: John Scott)Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall fights for possession against Chelmsford (pic: John Scott)

Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall believes his side can cause an upset in the National League play-offs.

Victory at Solent tomorrow (Saturday) or against Bracknell at Lee Valley on Sunday will clinch fourth place for Marshall’s men, following their win over Streatham last weekend.

They pushed champions Chelmsford hard too in a typically feisty derby, before succumbing to the odd goal in five, and are set to face Streatham again in the post-season.

Marshall said: “I think people recognise we can be contenders in the play-offs, but we’ve got to take it one weekend at a time.

“I don’t think Solent or Bracknell will come and try to take any of our players out, but with only nine or 10 guys, it’s hard playing back-to-back games three weekends in a row.

“It’s hard, but doable. We’re playing good hockey and I’m up for winning it, so lets hope we can.”

Raiders will be without suspended duo Billy and Charlie Phillips this weekend, with doubts over JJ McGrath due to concussion.

But Marshall revealed he might call up JJ Pitchley, with his spell at Slough now over with the Jets having finished their campaign.

He added: “JJ is still registered and would be a useful extra body. I expect us to win and finish fourth, which will be very respectable.

“I’ve been shuffling players around and we’ve got to take it one weekend at a time.”

Hat-tricks from AJ Smith and Jakub Klima led Raiders to a 7-3 win over Streatham, but they were edged out by the Chieftains after Billy Phillips and former Raiders goalie Euan King received match penalties at the end of the first period.

Darren Brown’s third-period powerplay goal proved the difference between the sides after Marshall and Klima had put Raiders 2-1 up in the middle session.

“We played well against Streatham. They’re a bit hot and cold, getting good results against Invicta but when we play them we don’t find it too difficult,” added Marshall.

“We’ve got them in the play-offs and don’t want to take them too lightly. They will be two hard games.

“AJ fitted in well and I left it like that against Chelmsford. Frankie Harvey was a bit jet-lagged but he brought a bit more to the other line.

“We know we’ve got to take it to Chelmsford but we need to stay out of the box because they’ve got a good powerplay and got one in the end for the winner.

“Billy and Euan had a pop at each other but nobody got hurt. I don’t like to comment on decisions. What I say doesn’t change anything. But I felt we were unlucky not to get a draw.”

Raiders are expected to visit Streatham for the first leg of their play-off clash tomorrow week (April 5).

The second leg at Lee Valley is scheduled to start at 7.30pm on Sunday April 6.

n Former Romford juniors Glenn Billing and Denis Bell suffered double disappointment at the World Under-18 Championships in Dumfries this week.

Great Britain were beaten by Holland and Korea in their first two matches, with Bell the unused back-up goalie, and were due to face Romania last night (Thursday).

They meet Croatia tomorrow (Saturday) and Lithuania in their final match on Sunday.

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