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Smith relieved by Raiders success

PUBLISHED: 15:22 19 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:22 19 January 2014

Raiders forward AJ Smith gets to grips with a MK Thunder rival to the delight of the home fans

Raiders forward AJ Smith gets to grips with a MK Thunder rival to the delight of the home fans

Archant

Five-game losing streak comes to an end

Raiders forward AJ Smith paid tribute to his teammates after they ended a five-game losing streak at Lee Valley last night.

Smith was among the goalscorers and collected the man of the match beers as Raiders defeated the National League basement boys MK Thunder by a 9-5 margin.

And he admitted it felt good to celebrate their first victory since the December 14 success over Cardiff.

Smith said: “It was a good home win against MK and nice to get back to winning ways again.

“We didn’t have the whole game our way and with only 10 guys we probably never will, but on the whole, we played a good game and scored some great goals.

“My favourite was little Charlie Phillips stepping up and scoring his first Raiders goal with a cannon from the blue line that went straight in the top corner – not a bad way to open your account!”

Phillips, 16, impressed on the blue line alongside David Oliver and stand-in defencemen JJ McGrath and Tom Davis, in the absence of elder brother Billy, who was unavailable.

Frankie Harvey, Jakub Klima and new captain Grant Taylor all netted braces, with player-coach Danny Marshall also on target.

And Smith says the small Raiders squad – weakened by the release of five Peterborough-based players earlier this month due to cutbacks – have pulled together in the past couple of weeks.

He added: “The team has really come together even more with our ongoing financial problems.

“Everyone is giving their all for the team and putting their bodies on the line and leaving everything out there on the ice and that’s a great sign for the rest of the season.”

The shortstaffed Raiders are sure to face a difficult test away at Bracknell tonight (Sunday).

The Hornets were beaten 9-2 in Cardiff last night but have been something of a bogey team for Marshall’s men in recent seasons, particularly on their own Olympic-sized rink.

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