Courtenay, Payette and Walker at the double as Phoenix return to form

Saturday, 31st October 2009

Basingstoke Bison 4 - 8 Manchester Phoenix

A brace of goals apiece for Ed Courtenay, Andre Payette and Man of the Match Adam Walker saw the Manchester Phoenix complete a stunning victory over the Basingstoke Bison on Saturday night.

Phoenix arrived in Basingstoke without recent signing Ryan Johnson with the former Sheffield Scimitars player having gone down with tonsillitis on Friday evening. However, Phoenix got off to the best possible start with Greg Wood opening the scoring on assists from Andre Payette and Jaakko Hagelberg with just 38 seconds having elapsed. Basingstoke, stunned by the early Phoenix marker, fought back and just before the five minute mark drew level, Lauko the scorer. The goal boosted the home side and player coach Steve Moria blasted them into an 11th minute lead despite suspicions of offside.

The second period again saw Phoenix off to a bright start as Adam Walker tied the score in the second minute of the session. The equaliser started a five-minute purple patch for the visitors as Tony Hand edged them back in front and Walker with his second in the 27th minute silenced the home fans. Basingstoke managed to calm the ship and gradually began a fightback with Joe Ciccarello scoring in the 34th minute, but the Phoenix were in determined mood and a minute later, Andre Payette finally opened his goalscoring account to the delight of the travelling support. And with just 15 seconds remaining on the period, Phoenix made it a three-goal spread as Ed Courtenay bagged his first of the game.

A calmer start to the third period saw no change on the scoreboard for almost seven minutes before Andre Payette doubled his seasons' tally. The Bison responded quickly with Nicky Chinn pulling them back to within three of the Phoenix, but the visitors were now in total control of the game and when Ed Courtenay added his second of the game, shorthanded banking his shot off the back of Lawrence in the home goal with less than six minutes to play, all that remained was whether he, Walker or Payette might get to their personal hat-trick. As it happened, there were no further additions to the score and the victory kept Phoenix hard on the heels of the Milton Keynes Lightning at the top of the table.

Speaking after the game Tony Hand noted, "that's a good win for us after last Sunday. We needed a strong performance and we gave one tonight, I thought we were fully deserving of two points tonight. The guys played well and we spread the goals around with Paysie finally getting the monkey off his back and that will give everyone a boost as we battle back to full fitness. This will send us into Sundays' home game in good heart and we'll look to make it a four-point weekend with victory over Swindon."