Peterborough Phantoms 3 – 6 Manchester Mayhem
A brilliant performance by a short-benched Manchester side saw the Mayhem pulling off a stunning 6-3 away victory at the home of the League Champions in the Peterborough Phantoms, courtesy of four-goals by Mayhem captain Karl Nicholson and a brace from Anthony Booth to help record their second win of the season and keep their faint title hopes alive. It has been a common theme in all the games this season involving the Mayhem that the Manchester side have struggled to ice a full strength side, so with a depleted team, it saw the win almost most remarkable.
Manchester drafted in a couple of guest replacements with Kingston Kestrels Tony King and Simon Berry stepping in at short notice for the Mayhem, as it saw the visiting side able to ice an line. For the home side, it saw them at full strength and also welcomed back Ian Warner to their side for the clash.
The visitors controlled the play on and forced the Phantoms netminder Robin Gaze into action with some good stops to keep the game scoreless. Peterborough managed to force themselves back into the contest, but they couldn’t stop the away side taking the lead though a Karl Nicholson effort at 4.29 before doubling the lead later in the period at 11.34 to see the Mayhem moving 2-0 up.
Peterborough responded in the second half of the period, thanks to two late goals by Ian Warner and Scotty Turner as they pulled it back to 2-2 and on the balance of play Manchester will have felt aggrieved at not leading after the open stanza. Once again though it saw the Mayhem surrendering a lead and making it harder for themselves.
In the second period, it saw the home side coming out of the traps a lot quicker and building on their momentum from the back of the first with a go ahead goal at 21.16 from the stick of Darren Brown, to see the Phantoms scoring three unanswered goals to lead the game. Unfortunately for the home side, it saw their lead lasting less than two minutes, with the host’s goal providing a wake-up call for the Mayhem side and began to see the game turning in the favour of their opponents.
Firstly Anthony Booth registered his first goal of the game assisted by Karl Nicholson at 22.42, before then repeating the same feat towards the back of the period to and give the visitors a 4-3 lead after two periods of hockey. It also saw the period being one of physicality and some good passages of play coming from both sides as the game headed into the final period.
Play in the third saw a more evenly contested period between the two and saw a big collision involving Matt Coleman of the Peterborough Phantoms, which saw the forward staying down but was thankfully ok minutes later. Manchester then made it 5-3 with an effort from Karl Nicholson at 40.22 with Booth grabbing an assist on it. Soon it was followed up with the sixth goal by Nicholson and his fourth of the night, as he sealed the victory for the Mayhem.
The Netminder for the Mayhem in Dougy Hankinson, saw the Manchester goalie making some crucial stops late on from the Phantom forwards, with Hankinson preserving the three-goal lead for the visitors. Victory for the Mayhem saw the kind of performance that was missing from the Manchester side the week before, with the visitors showing quick movements and were able to establish a far more fluid passing and attacking side to their game than that of their previous fixture.
What the result means now is that the Mayhem are still in the hunt for the league title, but will need Manchester to win all their remaining fixtures to lift the trophy for the first time. The Mayhem will have to do it the hard way with Cardiff away in the near future as well as the return fixture with the Phantoms at Widnes next month. If that wasn’t difficult enough, then their next game is against the high flying Kingston Kestrels and will be playing the unbeaten league leaders home and away
Defeat for Manchester on the 15th of July will hand the title to the Hull-based outfit and will condemn Manchester to play for a runners up spot, though in hindsight considering the last twelve-months that would be a huge achievement.