Devils buoyed for Redskins showdown

Solent & Gosport Devils netminder Aaron Taylor. September 30, 2012.
Solent & Gosport Devils netminder Aaron Taylor. September 30, 2012.
Richard Facey scores for Solent Devils against Haringey Huskies. Picture: Neil Marshall (171743-729)

IN PICTURES: Solent Devils 7 Haringey Huskies 2

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The Devils travel to Streatham Redskins tomorrow with renewed confidence (6.45pm).

After opening the National League south division one season with four straight defeats, the Solent & Gosport outfit came agonisingly close to shocking reigning champions Romford Raiders last weekend.

Despite a second hat-trick of the season from Kent Johnson – and strikes from Kris Abbott and Craig Weedon – in the end they went down 6-5 at their Forest Way rink.

But team manager Paul Fitzpatrick reckons the result has proved to his troops, who were promoted from the second flight last term, they can cut it at this level.

‘What a game,’ said the Devils chief.

‘You’d never have known it was last year’s champions versus bottom of the league.

‘We were so, so unlucky not to come away with a least a draw. It was a performance the lads should be proud of and left Romford toasting their good luck.

‘The result has lifted us, though, and has sent a warning to the rest of the league that no-one can expect an easy game at Gosport.’

Weedon fired the home side ahead after just seven seconds – assisted by Abbott and Greg Wyatt.

Abbott then added a power-play goal after good work by Andrew Goddard to put the Devils in dreamland.

But with player-coach Will Francis in the sin bin, Romford reduced the deficit.

The visitors were powerless to stop the Devils restoring their two-goal cushion as Kevin Tanner teed up Johnson.

But the Raiders hit back again before the home side’s netminder Aaron Taylor had to leave the ice with a dislocated finger – broken in two places – which has ruled him out of the Redskins trip.

The visitors levelled at 3-3 – the game remaining locked until the final period.

A double in the first five minutes from Johnson put the Devils back in control at 5-3, only for Romford to net three times in the final four minutes and escape with the points.