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London Raiders winless run ‘a worry’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 February 2016

London Raiders defenceman David Oliver (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders defenceman David Oliver (pic: John Scott)

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Oliver warns of missing out on play-offs

London Raiders defenceman David Oliver has warned his side they could miss out on the National League play-offs if they do not end their winless run soon.

The Lee Valley-based club travel to the Isle of Wight tomorrow (Saturday), to take on their namesakes on the back of a 4-1 home defeat against Solent last weekend.

That stretched their wait for a win to 12 matches and saw Raiders drop to eighth place in the table, with two crunch clashes at ninth-placed Bracknell Hornets, who are five points behind them, to come on successive weekends.

And Oliver warned: “I know week after week I sound like a broken record, but it’s now becoming a worry that we haven’t won in so long.

“We are trying everything, but we need to start being a team quickly and not individuals, we need to start showing that.

“If we carry on we won’t make the play-offs, so we have to now show what we can do and not what we can do individually.”

Since beating Streatham just before Christmas, Raiders had lost nine matches (six of them to top two Chelmsford and Invicta) and drawn two.

The visit of Solent, who they had taken a point from last month in a 2-2 tie on the south coast, was seen as an ideal opportunity to end the long wait for a victory, but there was nothing between the two sides in a tense opening period where both sides wasted a pair of powerplay chances.

The visitors broke the deadlock through Mitchell Murray, then doubled their advantage with a shorthanded goal from Ralfs Circenis less than three minutes later.

And a powerplay goal from Alex Murray was soon followed by a Richard Facey effort that made it four goals in less than 10 minutes for Solent.

Oliver added: “Saturday wasn’t great at all. After a scoreless first period, to then come out and lose the second period 4-1 made me sick.

“When we go a goal down we seem to go like rabbits in headlights. We need to learn and ride the lights and come together as a team and pass by that.

But we’ve got to cut the sob story. We are eighth which as a team we shouldn’t be.”

Marek Nahlik replied before the end of the second period with his 35th goal of the season, but the hosts could not find a way past Christian Cole again as Solent skated off with the points.

The Devils then beat Bracknell the following night to open up a three-point gap on Raiders, with two games in hand.

Raiders visit Invicta on Sunday for their final fixture in the South East Cup competition, but neither side can deny Chelmsford top place in the round-robin after they won their first five matches.

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