After a tough home defeat on Saturday against Streatham, the Raiders struggled early on to keep pace with the Oxford City Stars on Sunday evening.
But despite the Raiders finding themselves 4-1 behind in the university city going into the final period, they mounted an outstanding comeback crowned by Alan Lack’s equalising goal with only 11 seconds left, to grab an incredible draw.
Injuries set Raiders back
The Raiders were without JJ Pitchley, Matt France and back-up goalie Harry Buckingham. Those absences had a huge impact on the Raiders performance, with the east London club falling behind with only 23 seconds gone as Jesse Lye beat Euan King for the opening goal.
Despite the initial setback, the Raiders got back in the game in the 12th minute with Lack’s first goal of the night as he fired over the glove hand of goalie Mark Duffy.
Then Oxford roared back to life just 83 seconds into the second interval, regaining the lead thanks to a great effort from Joshua Oliver. Then midway through the period, Alan Green and Ben Paynter put the home side firmly in control with a pair of goals within a minute.
But the Raiders, who had previously been beaten by the Stars 9-3 in late October, proved determined to avoid finishing empty-handed again this time.
Captain Davis claimed his side’s second goal thanks with excellent assistance from both John Connolly and Andy Munroe, putting the team back in the game.
The unstoppable Davis struck again two minutes later, helped by Stewart Tait and King, forcing the home side to call timeout.
The Oxford City Stars tried to defend their now slender advantage until the very end, but the Raiders struck again courtesy of Jack Cooper with just 11 seconds remaining and to secure a share of the points with a 4-4 draw.
Davis took the man of the match award for the Raiders, who end the season campaign in fifth place and will face Oxford again in a fortnight’s time in the first round of the playoffs on March 25th and 26th.