Raiders scalped by rivals
PUBLISHED: 09:07 18 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:07 18 March 2013
Romford Raiders 1 Chelmsford Chieftains 8
Romford Raiders saw their reign as National League champions come to an ignominious end with heavy derby defeat last night.
Needing to beat Essex rivals Chelmsford to have any hope of defending their title on the final weekend of the regular season, Romford found themselves two goals down inside four minutes and never recovered.
Michael Ranby put the visitors ahead after 94 seconds and Julius Sinkovic made it 2-0 with a powerplay goal, after Billy Phillips was binned for roughing.
Shaun Yardley replied less than a minute later, but Sinkovic struck again before Darren Brown made it 4-1 in the ninth minute.
The scoreline remained unchanged until the 24th minute when Danny Hammond raced away to net Chelmsford’s fifth.
And Raiders player-coach Danny Marshall – who did not ice in the match – called a timeout after Ranby made it 6-1 just short of the midway mark.
The returning JJ McGrath earned a 10-minute misconduct penalty soon after the restart and a tripping call against AJ Smith allowed Chieftains to net another powerplay goal through James Ayling.
Ryan Giles, Phillips and Andrius Kaminskas were all binned in quick succession by referee Stephen Matthews before David Oliver tussled with Alex Green just before the interval.
Further penalties against Grant Taylor and Juraj Huska at the start of the final period led to a third powerplay goal of the night for Chelmsford, netted by Tibor Schneider.
And although that completed the scoring, there were more penalties to be handed out, with Phillips earning a match penalty after clashing with Ranby.
Victory left Chelmsford three points clear of the Isle of Wight at the top of the table, with Romford now in third place.
Raiders had skated to a comfortable 9-3 win in Milton Keynes on Saturday night, with Huska’s hat-trick leading the way.
Matt Turner netted twice, with AJ Smith, Phillips, Yardley and Giles also on target.
They end their league campaign with a trip to Streatham on Saturday, before hosting Peterborough in the final fixture of their cup group.
Raiders are set to meet Chelmsford in the two-legged final, with the home leg at Rom Valley Way scheduled for March 30 and the return at the Riverside 24 hours later.
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