Mulherin treble as Phoenix cruise past Bison

Saturday, 14th March 2009

Basingstoke Bison 1 - 7 Manchester Phoenix

Manchester Phoenix were back on the bus on Saturday for the long ride South to Basingstoke and proved to be a rewarding trip as they ran out comfortable victors over the basement dwelling Bison.

Phoenix killed an early Tripping penalty against Alex Dunn before opening the scoring in the sixth minute, Luke Fulghum scoring unassisted. The in-form Lucas Burnett made two-nil in the ninth minute finishing a pass from Nathan Ward before Phoenix went shorthanded again with Luke Boothroyd assessed a Hooking penalty. Back to full strength and the Phoenix offence was proving too much for the Bison defence to cope with as Adam Walker completed good approach work from Burnett and Josh Garbutt for number three. And the rampant first period for the Phoenix was completed shortly before the first break as Ward and Burnett combined for Bruce Mulherin to score the fourth.

Having romped into what was to prove a game-winning lead, Phoenix eased up in the middle period trying to conserve energy ahead of Sunday's home game against Newcastle and Tuesday's trip to Belfast for the second leg of the Challenge Cup Final. Phoenix eventually got back on the goal trail, going nap in the 34th minute with Mulherin netting his second of the game.

Phoenix continued to dominate the possession and the goalscoring opportunities in the final period with the defensive motive to try and get netminder Stephen Murphy a clean sheet. With just over ten minutes remaining in the game, Phoenix stretched their lead to six as Adam Walker bagged his second of the game assisted by Brett Clouthier and Kenton Smith before Basingstoke's dogged resistance finally gained its reward as Greg Chambers got them on the scoreboard in the 52nd minute. And Phoenix rounded off a thoroughly professional nights work with player coach Tony Hand assisting on Bruce Mulherin's hat-trick marker with a little over two minutes to play.

Speaking after the game, Phoenix player coach Tony Hand remarked, "With Basingstoke unable to make it to the playoffs, it would have been easy for our guys to take the game too lightly. On the contrary though, the guys played well and took their chances in some style. It's been tough on Basingstoke recently and I give them a lot of credit for their effort too."

Phoenix face the Newcastle Vipers at 5.30pm on Sunday evening in Altrincham before travelling to Belfast on Tuesday for the second leg of the Challenge Cup Final. Phoenix hold a 4-3 advantage from the first leg in Altrincham.

Bruce Mulerin

Bruce Mulherin scored a hat-trick.

Sign up for the Phoenix Newsletter

Manchester Phoenix Community Sports Foundation

Join our 200 Club