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Historic result for London Raiders

21:36 27 November 2016

London Raiders goalie Michael Gray denies Streatham (pic John Scott)

London Raiders goalie Michael Gray denies Streatham (pic John Scott)

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Streatham 0 London Raiders 0

London Raiders recorded the first 0-0 draw in their long history after an enthralling National League derby contest with Streatham.

Raiders, playing their fourth season in Lee Valley after a quarter of a century in Romford, had been involved in 1-0 scorelines before, but never in a match that saw both goalies post shut outs.

But their own Michael Gray and Streatham’s Matt Colclough would not be beaten on a memorable evening, deservedly earning the man of the match awards for their respective teams.

Streatham had taken the points in east London the night before, courtesy of a 4-3 win, and Raiders had just 13 skaters available for the returning meeting with Bailey Chittock and Julian Smith both missing.

The home side were without Nick Compton and the suspended Steven Fisher after his match penalty 24 hours earlier, but still had 18 skaters on their bench.

And a big Sunday night crowd in south London saw Casimir Madren-Britton’s blue line blast knocked into the corner by Gray inside the opening five minutes, before Sean Scarborough forced a superb double save from the Raiders goalie.

Joe Johnston’s backhand shot was comfortably saved too, before Marek Nahlik was denied by the blocker of Matt Colclough at the other end.

Thomas Beesley then robbed a Streatham defenceman of the puck and tested Colclough, before Ryan Webb’s first-time shot went close for the hosts.

Raiders saw Slavomir Buda and Jacob Ranson combine well on a break, with Colclough producing a brilliant save to deny Buda’s tip, and the Streatham goalie pulled off a great glove save to thwart Sam Roberts after a defensive error gifted him the puck in a good position.

Alex Sampford was the next to test Gray, who also kept Scarborough at bay after Beesley had gone close for the visitors inbetween times.

After a scoreless opening period, Streatham went close within 10 seconds of the restart as Callum Best forced Gray quickly into action.

But Raiders were then presented with the first powerplay chance of the night when Chris Cooke was binned for tripping and Tom Davis almost managed to tip the puck past Colclough while they enjoyed the man advantage.

Good defensive work by Adam Wood denied Buda after a strong skate into the zone, as Raiders maintained good pressure once the sides were back to even strength.

But Streatham then saw Johnston tee up Wood for a first-time shot, which Gray kept out with a superb glove save, before Davis saw a wristshot held by Colclough.

The home side thought they had scored soon after following some good work by Joe Allen in the Raiders end, as the puck appeared to hit a post and the goal light went on, but their appeals were ignored by the officials and it remained scoreless.

Raiders defenceman Ross Connolly was then called for a delay of game minor after firing the puck over the plexi glass in his own end and Streatham applied lots of pressure on the powerplay, with Sampford and George Norcliffe getting shots away as the pressure mounted.

The visiting penalty-killers did their job, though, and Raiders then saw Buda look threatening on a counter, before Cooke’s perfect poke-check ended hopes of a breakthrough.

JJ Pitchley’s slapshot forced a full-stretch save from Colclough, before Connolly also called the Streatham goalie into action as the two sides continued to search, in vain, for the first goal of the night.

The start of the third period was tense, with Gray the first goalie tested by Sampford’s close-range effort from Norcliffe’s pass, before Nahlik’s pass flew just beyond the stick of Beesley at the far post.

Buda then attacked on the wing and fired a quick-release shot just wide of Colclough’s glove hand, before Nahlik smashed a shot into the former Isle of Wight goalie and stumbled in his attempt to bury the rebound.

The end-to-end action continued as Best’s shot was kicked wide by Gray, before Ryan Giles picked out Webb with a cross-ice pass and saw his shot fly over the top of Gray’s net.

Then Buda found himself clear for Raiders, only to lose his one-on-one battle with Colclough, and Beesley’s pass across the crease in the closing seconds led to another sprawling save by the Streatham goalie.

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