The Lee Valley Lions v Haringey Racers match lived up to its London derby reputation; both teams left nothing in the locker in the first of 4 encounters, the first away at Ally Pally on 18 October.
The first 10 minutes of the game were close, with few shots fr either team. At 12:22 the deadlock was broken with a goal for the Racers, Jenner scores with a assist from former Lion Romanas Fedotovas. The Lions managed to keep the Racers at bay for the rest of the 1st period.
End of period : Lions 0 – 1 Racers.
The Racers were first to score in the 2nd period with a goal at 25:47, Osborne the scorer and Whitlock with the assist. Lee Valley Lions hit back at the Racers just before the end of the 2nd period at 38:43 as Berry found net for the Lions with an absolute screamer for the 1st goal of the season with two well-executed passes from Day and Robinson.
End of period : Lions 1 – 2 Racers.
The Racers started the 3rd period the same as the 2nd and at 44:22 Webster scored with an assist from Cooper. Before the Lions had a chance to settle the Racers scored again at 45:38, Vearse with the goal and Park with the assist. At 50:37 Robinson hit back for the Lions against his former club with a short-handed goal and an assist from Cave, giving the home team something to shout about. Berry was up to his tricks again just moments later and scored his second of the evening at 51:52, captain Hepburn was the provider. At 53:16 the pumped-up Lions used that energy and momentum to score and bring the game level at 4 – 4 with Robinson netting his second goal of the evening, Drake with the assist. The Racers knew they had a game on their hands for the last 7 minutes, but it took only 30 seconds for the Racers to edge into the lead at 53:45, Mills scoring from Jenner and Osborne. A minute later former Lion, Romanas Fedotovas, netted what seemed to be the nail in the coffin at 54:37 with an assist from Webster. However, the Lions showed real heart and hit back at the Racers almost instantly at 54:51, Fox scoring his first of the season from team mate Alley. Both teams went into the last 5 minutes knowing anything could happen, each side now fired up. The game finished with some big hits and penalties for both teams in a edgy final 5 minutes.
Final score : Lions 5 – 6 Racers
MOM Racers # 18 Robbie Vearse
MOM Lions # 15 Joseph Berry
Point scorers were as follows : Robinson 2+1, Berry 2+0, Fox 1+0, Hepburn 0+1, Day 0+1, Drake 0+1, Alley 0+1 and Cave 0+1
After the game we spoke to Joe Weare in his first game of hockey in over 2 years. He said, “Well, what can I say…? It was great to be involved in a game like today; both teams were hungry from the first drop of the puck. We worked as a team out there today, not quitting on each other and always believing in ourselves. For me this is a benchmark for us and we will look to get stronger as the season progresses. We will take this result into training and make sure we are ready for our away trip next week to Invicta next week, another derby game.”