In-form Raiders ready for biggest test
PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 December 2013
Isle of Wight pay first visit to Lee Valley
Raiders captain Jason Buckman says his side face their biggest match of the National League season tomorrow (Saturday, 5.30pm).
The Isle of Wight come to Lee Valley for the first meeting between the sides since last season’s play-off penalty-shot success in the final match ever to be played at Rom Valley Way.
And Buckman wants to give fans an early Christmas present, saying: “This weekend is probably our most important fixture of the season. It’s our first meeting with Isle of Wight and after winning five on the bounce we couldn’t face them at a better time.
“They have had a few indifferent results so far this season and have struggled away from home like us.
“We know their strengths, but also know how to beat them too. If we can extend the streak it will set us up nicely for the new year.
“Jeremy Cornish always seems to get his teams playing to decent systems and in a style that shut more skillful teams down, but we know Raiders is a team he doesn’t enjoy playing against, and I’m sure the boys will want to continue that at Lee Valley this weekend.”
Raiders go into their last league match of 2013 on the back of a high-scoring win over Cardiff last weekend.
The visitors struck first but a Tom Davis brace put Raiders ahead by the first break.
Frankie Harvey netted twice in the middle period, with Jakub Klima and Billy Phillips helping to build a 6-3 lead after 40 minutes, when Cardiff goalie Mike Brabon was forced out of the action due to illness.
Raiders put six more goals past emergency stand-in Ross Wilkinson, a defenceman, in the final stanza as Klima finished with eight points to his name and Harvey ended up with half a dozen.
AJ Smith and Dan Peters also found the net, while Raiders back-up Frankie Sabine was beaten three times after replacing Euan King.
Buckman added: “It was a comfortable win really. It was a strange game that didn’t have much flow to be honest, but once we got a few goals up we were never going to lose.
“Frankie (Harvey) showed what decent form he is hitting by grabbing a hat-trick, along with Klima too. It’s going to be important for those guys to start scoring regular from now to the end of the season.
“Cardiff ran into goalie trouble going into the third, so had Wilkinson step in for Brabon with the back-up injured too, so Cardiff were up against it after being down in the game anyway.”