Sheffield Steeldogs produce stunning comeback to book place in NIHL National Cup final against Telford Tigers

SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS lost 5-2 to Peterborough Phantoms last night. But it didn’t really matter. Well, maybe it did. A little bit.

GREAT LEVELLER: Alex Graham ensured the semi-final went to overtime when he equalised against Swindon wildcats with 57 seconds remaining on Saturday night. 
Picture: Bruce Rollinson
GREAT LEVELLER: Alex Graham ensured the semi-final went to overtime when he equalised against Swindon wildcats with 57 seconds remaining on Saturday night. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

But, in the grand scheme of things, after their heroics the previous night against Swindon Wildcats, when they staged a stirring comeback from two goals down with less than eight minutes remaining to take their NIHL National Cup two-legged semi-final into overtime and then win, it probably wasn’t the main thing on their minds.

Victory arrived with an Andreas Valdix goal with 67 seconds remaining, sealing a final showdown against Telford Tigers.

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The Steeldogs had tasted bitter defeat in a semi-final already this season, when losing out to Leeds Knights in the Autumn Cup.

Matt Bissonnette scored Sheffield Steeldogs' first goal in their semi-final win at Swindon. Picture: Peter Best/Steeldogs Media.

Heading to Swindon on Saturday afternoon after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Ice Sheffield the previous night, Greg Wood’s team were determined to avoid a repeat of the disappointment they experienced at Elland Road back in November.

It looked like they would, though, trailing 2-0 in Swindon after 25 minutes after goals from Tomasz Malasinski and Neil Liddiard. The deficit was halved by Matt Bissonnette’s short-handed strike at 45.28, although the Wildcats restored their two-goal lead through Malasinski at 52.00.

Three and a half minutes later, it was a one-goal game again, Matt Haywood finding a way past Renny Marr. And there were 57 seconds remaining when Alex Graham levelled, enabling Valdix to take the overtime glory.

In Peterborough, the Steeldogs took the lead through Jason Hewitt but were 3-1 adrift by the end of the second, former Steeldogs’ forward Nathan Salem scoring twice. Haywood made it 3-2 at 52.59 but the hosts secured the points through Ales Padelek and Nathan Pollard.

Kieran Brown enjoyed a 2+2 night for Leeds Knights in the 4-1 win at Basingstoke Bison on Sunday night. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

As a result, Leeds Knights moved to within a point of the fourth-placed Steeldogs with a 4-1 win at Basingstoke Bison.

Kieran Brown led the way with two goals and two assists, while Adam Barnes and Matty Davies joined him on the scoresheet.