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Bracknell 2 Romford 3; Romford 7 Bracknell 6

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Romford Raiders ensured a happy Christmas for their fans with successive wins over Bracknell at the weekend.

But the National League cup double produced a few tense moments, with only one goal separating the sides on both nights.

Beaten at Invicta in their first match in the competition, Romford travelled to Bracknell without Lithuanian import Andrius Kaminskas, captain Julian Smith and forward Shaun Wallis, having suffered a shock 4-3 defeat on their last visit in the league.

After a goalless opening period, the visitors broke the deadlock through JJ McGrath early in the second session, but Peter Jasik got Hornets back on terms with a powerplay goal, after McGrath was binned for slashing.

Shaun Yardley restored Romford’s lead within a minute, but the hosts levelled again in the 50th minute through Nick Minhinnick.

And the match remained in the balance until 57:09 when Billy Phillips beat Adam Marashi to clinch Romford’s 3-2 victory.

Early goals from Juraj Huska and Grant Taylor put Raiders on top in the return at Rom Valley Way.

AJ Smith added a third goal before the first break, with Kaminskas and Huska extending the lead to 5-0 by the second interval.

Bracknell dominated scoring in the final stanza, though, to almost pull off another shock.

Danny Hughes netted twice, before Tom Fisher added a powerplay goal at 52:39 to make it 5-3.

And there were six more goals scored in the final 3:21 of play, before Raiders could skate off with a 7-6 win.

AJ Smith and Frankie Harvey put the hosts four goals clear with goals just nine seconds apart.

But Hornets produced some late doubts as Hughes beat Michael Gray twice more and Richard Wojciak made it a one-goal game with 38 seconds remaining.

Raiders go into the Christmas break with a one-point lead at the top of the league table, after the Isle of Wight slumped to an 11-1 defeat at Chelmsford.

And they return to action with another cup tie at Division Two side Oxford on January 5, when Romford Fury host Lee Valley Lions in a league match at Rom Valley Way.

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