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Raiders almost there

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 March 2015

London Raiders captain Tom Davis netted their winner against Solent (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders captain Tom Davis netted their winner against Solent (pic: John Scott)

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National League: London Raiders 5 Solent 4

Vaclav Drabek is the leading scorer for London Raiders this season (pic: John Scott)Vaclav Drabek is the leading scorer for London Raiders this season (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders will ensure their place in the National League play-offs with a point or more at Milton Keynes after beating Solent at Lee Valley last night.

Captain Tom Davis netted the deciding goal with less than four minutes remaining to leave Raiders four points ahead of Cardiff with only two matches left.

And the Welsh club travel to the Isle of Wight for their penultimate match of the campaign, before coming to Lee Valley next weekend.

Raiders had James Tanner back in their net, with Chris Douglas unavailable, and also welcomed import forward Jakub Kostelanksy back from illness, after he missed last weekend’s home defeat against the Isle of Wight.

Raiders import Jakub Kostelansky celebrates a goal with Liam Chong (pic; John Scott)Raiders import Jakub Kostelansky celebrates a goal with Liam Chong (pic; John Scott)

And the Slovakian fired the home side ahead in the seventh minute, before doubling their lead with 11:02 on the clock.

Vaclav Drabek made it 3-0 before George Norcliffe and Michael Gorman netted either side of the first break to bring Solent back to within one goal.

Alan Lack clashed with Alex Cole and earned an extra penalty for slashing on top of a double minor for roughing.

But Raiders survived the shorthanded spell and gave themselves some breathing space late in the middle session as Grant Taylor netted a fourth.

A cross-checking call against Drabek gave Solent a powerplay either side of the break and they converted just 15 seconds into the final session through Norcliffe.

The same player scored again with 10 minutes left to complete his hat-trick and level it up at 4-4 and both sides had late powerplay chances.

Raiders lost Jacob Ranson – who was playing in borrowed skates – to a slashing penalty, before Solent’s Andrew Magee was binned 80 seconds later for high sticks.

Cole joined his team-mate on the sidelines seconds after and, once Ranson returned to the ice the home side had a spell of 5-on-3.

And, just as Magee’s penalty was coming to an end they made it count as Davis found the net for the winner.

Scorers, Raiders: Kostelansky* 2 Drabek* 1+1 Davis 1+1 Taylor 1 Chong 0+2 Lack 0+1 France 0+1 Ranson 0+1.

Solent: Norcliffe 3 Gorman 1 A Murray 0+2 Circenis* 0+1.

Penalty minutes: Raiders 20 Solent 20.

Shots on goal: Tanner 32 Cole 41.


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