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National League Cup: Chelmsford 5 Raiders 3

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Shortstaffed Raiders put up a brave fight but could not avoid falling to their second successive derby defeat at the Riverside Arena last night.

Beaten 5-1 at Lee Valley on Saturday after conceding four times in less than eight minutes in the first period, they welcomed David Oliver and Charlie Phillips back to their blue line, but were still without experienced trio Dwayne Newman, Tyrone Miller and Shaun Yardley and had lost Frankie Harvey and Nathan Pollard from the night before.

But despite travelling with only 12 skaters Danny Marshall’s men struck first blood in the return meeting as tripping calls against Grant Bartlett and Julian Smith allowed Grant Taylor to score on the 5-on-3 powerplay.

Raiders, having taken three out of a possible four league points on previous visits to Chelmsford this season, doubled their advantage shortly before the first interval as Billy Phillips beat Ben Clements.

And they held that 2-0 lead under the 32nd minute when Ross Brears finally found a way past Euan King, who faced no fewer than 30 shots in the middle session.

Clements was a virtual spectator at the other end, saving five attempts on his net, and Chieftains levelled through player-coach Gary Clarke’s powerplay goal at 34:54, with Billy Phillips serving a roughing minor.

The home side edged in front before the break through import Daniel Volrab and moved 4-2 ahead when Bartlett found the net seven minutes after the restart.

Raiders replied 40 seconds later as Phillips collected his second goal of the night and the match remained in the balance until Clarke sealed victory for his side with 74 seconds remaining.

But despite ending 2013 with a third straight loss, having gone down 5-1 against the Isle of Wight just before Christmas, battling Raiders will take heart from their efforts.

And they will aim to begin the new year on a high when they welcome the Isle of Wight again in their next challenge cup fixture on January 4.

Captain Jason Buckman said: “We huffed and puffed but it wasn’t enough. Proud of the effort from the short bench we had.”

King added: “Good effort from the guys tonight. Shortbenched - ran out of legs in the end.

“Thanks to the Raiders fans that travelled.”

Scorers, Chelmsford: Clarke 2+1 Volrab 1+2 Brears 1+1 G Bartlett 1 Turner 0+2 Castle 0+1 Brown 0+1 Wright 0+1 Ayling 0+1.

Raiders: B Phillips 2+1 Taylor 1 Klima 0+2 A Smith 0+1 C Phillips 0+1.

Shots faced: Clements (Chelmsford) 29 King (Raiders) 55.

Penalty minutes: Chelmsford 10 Raiders 14.

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