Match Report: Raiders 3 Bristol 4

Olly Shone scored a dramatic game-winning goal with just 11 seconds left to give the Dayshift Recruitment Bristol Pitbulls a 4-3 road win against the Romford Junior Raiders.

Pitbulls started brightly, showing no hint of bus legs after their first ever journey to Romford’s tidy new rink. For the first ten minutes, they were easily the better side with a couple of early Romford penalties helping them take control of the game. However, a double minor on Dave Manning and a penalty on Richie Hargreaves allowed Raiders to take that control back. Momentum that they largely held through the second half of the first period.

No goals were scored during the period, however. Ross Miller and Romford’s Bradley Windebank, who would both pick up their team’s Man of the Match awards, both looked composed and assured in goal.

Romford struck first in the second period when Tommy Huggett broke free at the back post. Their lead lasted only four minutes before Bristol found an equaliser through a slightly unusual source. Defenceman Jordan Jefferies stepped up to score only his third goal in 49 games for the team. In fact, Jefferies was unlucky not to add a second just minutes later with another charge to the net.

The third period started with Manning being penalised for a check to the head. Romford struggled to do much with the man advantage, allowing Steve Osman to take Bristol’s first lead of the game while short-handed. However, Bristol were still struggling to really test Windebank in the Romford net. Possession wasn’t really being converted into quality chances and a young, energetic Raiders side consistently showed themselves to be dangerous on the break.

And that was exactly how Romford retook the lead with two goals a minute and a half apart with around ten minutes left to play. Both came from quick breaks and a Bristol side struggling to recover defensively and take control around their crease. The first came through Matt Brown, the second on the powerplay by import Kamil Kinkor. In both cases, the goals coming from goalmouth pressure after Pitbulls failed to remove bodies from around Ross Miller.

With the clock counting down, Pitbulls were running out of time to recover the situation as the game continued to be tight 50-50 affair. With less than four minutes to play, Osman tied the game before Shone stepped up to be the last minute hero with just eleven seconds left on the clock.

Bristol now sit third in the league table ahead of this weekend’s home game against Invicta.