Circenis nets double but Devils suffer derby defeat

Mitch Murray. Picture: Dave Chapman
Mitch Murray. Picture: Dave Chapman
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Solent Devils slipped to eighth spot in the National League south division one table after a 5-2 defeat to derby rivals Wightlink Raiders on Sunday.

Ralfs Circenis notched both of the home side’s goals at the Gosport Ice Arena.

However, a powerful final period from the visitors saw them ease to victory – and second spot in the standings.

Corey Watkins struck twice for the Raiders, while Alex Sampford, Ryan Webb and Jaroslav Cesky got the others.

The Devils suffered an early blow when Mitch Murray took the full force of a shot on the side of his knee, while assisting his defence on the penalty kill.

While he returned later, his absence was a setback for the hosts.

Alex Murray was then sent to the sin bin for elbows – before Richard Facey missed a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring.

The Devils forward was taken down from behind when one-on-one with Raiders keeper Matthew Colclough.

But he was unable to convert the penalty shot as Colclough reacted quickly to block his shot.

Circenis then managed to ring the post with a shot from long range before George Norcliffe was sent to the sin bin for interference.

Norcliffe’s departure gave the Raiders a two-man advantage for 41 seconds and, with time almost up, they broke the deadlock.

With confusion in front of goal, Cesky found Webb to fire home.

The Devils hit back on a power play.

Alex Murray found the fast-moving Circenis from deep in the hosts’ zone and he let fly from just inside the blue line to beat Colclough.

Sampford restored the Raiders’ lead in the 37th minute – beating Christian Cole and his brother, Alex.

And early in the third period, Webb and Craig Tribe teed up Watkins to slip the puck over a diving Christian Cole’s shoulder and into the net for 3-1.

Shortly afterwards, Cesky rattled home a first-time shot to increase the Raiders’ lead.

Cesky’s strike sparked a run of three goals in little more than two minutes.

Watkins made it 5-1 – despite his team-mate Jordan Gregory sitting out.

The home side then grabbed a consolation when Circenis picked up a pin-point pass to smash home in emphatic fashion.

The Devils are next in action at Oxford City Stars on Sunday, December 20 (6.15pm).