Phantoms end Phoenix five-game winning streak

Thursday, 10th December 2009

Peterborough Phantoms 8 - 4 Manchester Phoenix

Reigning champions Peterborough Phantoms brought the Phoenix five-game winning streak to an abrupt end on Thursday night, winning all three periods as the Phoenix failed to make the most of their game in hand over the chasing pack.

Manchester Phoenix travelled to Peterborough looking to open up a five-point gap on second placed Milton Keynes, but got off to a terrible start. Inside the opening four minutes, they found themselves two goals behind, Knight and Miller the scorers, to a Phantoms side eager to climb the EPL table in defence of the title they lifted last season. Phoenix steadied the ship and Andre Payette's fourth goal of the season in the tenth minute signalled their intent. Player coach Tony Hand then pulled his side level, much to the delight of the midweek travelling support, but the home side regained the lead in the 18th minute, James Morgan netting the go-ahead goal at the first interval.

A tight opening to the second session eventually saw Phoenix again draw level as the first line of Hand and Ed Courtenay combined for Adam Walker to net his 20th goal of the season in the 29th minute. And the Phoenix seemed to be in their usual strong second period mode, but they failed to make the most of their opportunities and the Phantoms rode their luck to strike back with deadly effect. The home regained a second two-goal lead by the 37th minute, former Phoenix forward Joe Miller bagging his second of the game and Gough the fifth home goal to take a two-goal advantage into the second break.

Summerfield, who has performed admirably in his first three starts for the Phoenix as stand-in for the injured Steve Fone, was feeling the pressure of back-stopping the league leaders and with the defence pushing forward to help the forwards, gaps were left for the Phantoms to exploit. Fowler fired the Phantoms into a 6-3 lead before the energetic workhorse that is Jaakko Hagelberg tallied a fourth for the Phoenix with eight minutes to play to give them some hope. However, two lapses at the back allowed Ziedins to bag a late brace and put the result beyond the Phoenix.

Phoenix player coach Tony Hand mused, "I said a few weeks ago that any side with genuine championship ambitions can't really afford to lose more than six or seven games and tonight is our fifth loss, so we need to re-group and hopefully maintain top spot into Christmas. We didn't enjoy the best of luck in front of goal tonight and Peterborough to their credit made the most of their chances. We lose four players now to the GB squad and that will give the rest of us plenty to think about. We've got four big games before the Christmas break and we'll use that break to assess exactly where we are and what we might need to do to keep us in the hunt for the title. Just like in football, we'll take a look around and if we can find a way to improve our club, we'll look at all possibilities and options."