Deeside Dragons slipped to their sixth defeat of the season in a 6-3 reverse at Whitley Warriors.
A second meeting between the clubs in a fortnight yielded the same disappointing outcome, albeit by a lower winning margin for the Warriors.
Scott McKenzie’s Dragons made the worst possible start, conceding after just 15 seconds to Philip Edgar’s crisp finish which gave Dragons netminder Oliver Johnson no chance.
But the visitors hit back within 27 seconds as McKenzie found the top corner of the net for Deeside with a sweet strike to restore parity.
After being thwarted by some good saves from Johnson, Edgar did grab his second goal of the game with a well taken strike after he was set up by line mate Jordan Barnes.
A penalty late in the first period was expertly despatched by experienced DJ Good who put the Warriors 3-1 ahead.
Things got worse for the Dragons early in the middle period as Ben Richards and David Longstaff fired home to make it 5-1.
Undeterred the Dragons replied with Ross Kennedy pulling a goal back for the visitors on 27 minutes, before McKenzie brought the Dragons within two goals of the hosts with an unerring strike.
Buoyed by reducing the deficit, the Dragons started the third period brightly but were pegged back further when Longstaff fired home from a powerplay to make it 6-3 to the home side to seal victory.
Critical of his side’s performances in recent weeks, McKenzie was more heartened by his team’s latest showing.
He said: “The result is obviously a very disappointing one, but it was a far better performance from us.
“The most disappointing aspect was how they went on to lead 4-1 and then 5-1 without us making them work for it.
“That’s happened too often this season, but I was pleased with the way we fought to come back into the game at 5-3 after a good spell of pressure from us.
“We looked sharp as an attacking threat and caused them a lot of problems, but they defended very well to contain us in that final period.
“It’s a long way to go to return home with no points again, but there are positives to take from the performance if not the result.
“I thought Ollie Johnson, who’s 17, was really impressive for us in his first full senor game. He came in for Jonah Armstrong who’s one of our regular starters and did a brilliant job for us.
“I’m sure he will only get better with the more games he plays for us in the future.”
Moralee Conference leaders Telford Tigers continue to set the pace after following up a 4-3 win at Billingham Stars with a 4-2 win against Solihull Barons.
Second-placed Blackburn Hawks won 3-1 at Nottingham Lions, who were also beaten 6-2 by reigning champions Solway Sharks.
But the Sharks were unable to take maximum points from their double-header as they went on to lose 6-3 at Hull Pirates.
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