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Raiders can rebound from Hornets sting

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 January 2016

London Raiders forward Seb Downing lurks in front of Bracknell's net (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders forward Seb Downing lurks in front of Bracknell's net (pic: John Scott)

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Downing: Isle of Wight are beatable

Seb Downing goes on the attack for London Raiders against Bracknell (pic: John Scott)Seb Downing goes on the attack for London Raiders against Bracknell (pic: John Scott)

Seb Downing believes London Raiders can begin the new year on a winning note when their namesakes from the Isle of Wight visit Lee Valley tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm).

The islanders won by the odd goal in seven on their last visit to east London six weeks ago, but Downing feels his side can get revenge.

He said: “The Isle of Wight are a good side, but away from home they’re beatable on any day.

“I think it will be a great test for us to improve our form at home and get back to winning ways and get on a roll again.”

London Raiders players celebrate a goal against Bracknell (pic: John Scott)London Raiders players celebrate a goal against Bracknell (pic: John Scott)

“We’ve just got to do what we do best. We are the fastest team in this league on our best day and we just have to utilise that and get pucks deep, drive the net and work hard.

“I think a lot of teams in this league are very even and at the end of the day, it’s just down to hard work and that’s what we have to do in order to succeed this weekend and come play-off time.”

Raiders ended 2015 in disappointing fashion with a 5-3 home loss to Bracknell last weekend.

It was their fourth defeat in five outings, but Downing tried to look for the positives.

London Raiders Mason Webster trades blows with Bracknell's Brandon Miles (pic: John Scott)London Raiders Mason Webster trades blows with Bracknell's Brandon Miles (pic: John Scott)

He added: “Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted and we have no excuses for that, but once again we outplayed them.

“We gifted them their opportunities for the most part, but we shouldn’t worry.

“We have been having great form at home and will continue to do so for the rest of the season, it was just one of those games that puck luck wasn’t on our side.”

Bracknell took charge with two goals in less than two minutes from William Stead and Greg Chambers in the first period.

Downing halved the deficit just 51 seconds into the middle session and ended a 19-game goal drought, having scored seven times in the first six matches of the season.

And he admitted it was great to get that particular monkey off his back after some frustrating times in front of goal.

“It felt great to finally score,” he added.

“When you get a few goals so early in your first season you start to really overthink things when it’s not going so well for you in the goal department.

“In this league as a young player you’ve got to take what you’re given and work twice as hard to prove a point, get that ice time and get those scoring chances. “You’re bound to make mistakes at some stage and go through some tough patches as you’re not used to this level of hockey.

“In all honesty I’m just happy to produce at some level in my first season playing senior hockey, but I always think I can do better for the Raiders. It’s just nice to help out the team in anyway possible.”

Chambers put Bracknell 3-1 up soon after, but captain Tom Davis and Michal Oravec had Raiders back on terms just past the midway mark.

Having dropped the gloves to tussle with Mason Webster in the opening period, Brandon Miles put Bracknell back in front and Danny Hughes sealed the points with the only goal of the final stanza.

Raiders are set to welcome Liam Chong and Marek Nahlik back for the visit of their namesakes and Downing added: “It’s going to be great to have them back, they make a massive difference to the way we control the game and are two of the best players in this league by far.”

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