Steeldogs bounce back to give themselves timely lift

SHEFFIELD Steeldogs ended their latest English Premier League weekend on a high, recovering from defeat in Milton Keynes with a hard-fought victory at Telford Tigers.

Sunday night’s win lifted the Sheffield club out of the bottom two in the EPL table, as well as move them up to seventh in the EPL Cup standings.

The win in Telford will offer hope that they can turn around a dreadful run of form which has seen them lose eight out of their last 12 games, including the dispiriting 9-1 hammering at fierce rivals Manchester Phoenix.

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Derek Campbell had a two-point night in Telford, opening the scoring for the visitors at 27.04, with Stuart Brittle doubling the lead following good work by Lloyd Gibson and Pavel Gomeniuk just over four minutes later.

Telford hit back in the 36th minute to make it a one-goal game through Ryan Selwood. But it was a night that the Steeldogs dominated, out-shooting their hosts 42-22, although it wasn’t until the 59th minute that they were able to make sure of both points, Gibson popping up with his third goal of the season.

On Saturday, Andre Payette’s team had taken a 14th-minute lead through Edgars Bebris. It was a lead they held until 23.54 when the Blaz Emersic levelled for the home side.

GB international Leigh Jamieson then put Lightning in front at 35.50 on the powerplay, although Steve Duncombe replied for the Steeldogs with his fourth goal of the season - another powerplay effort - early in the third and final period.

But what proved to be the game-winning goal came just over a minute later when Kamil Tvrdek found a way past James Flavell at 45.30.

Just over eight minutes later, the Czech winger grabbed his second of the night to give the home side an unassailable lead.

“I thought the guys played hard on Saturday,” said player-coach Payette. “But, in the end, we came up just a little short against a good team.

“But I was really pleased with the performance and the two points in Telford. We are continuing to work hard at trying to stay out of the penalty box and get back on track.

“I really feel we are heading in the right direction.”

Steeldogs are on the road twice again this weekend, first heading to Slough Jets on Saturday night before visiting Bracknell Bees 24 hours later.

Previous visits to both venues have ended in defeat, with Slough winning 5-2 over the Steeldogs in September and Bracknell thumping the South Yorkshire club 8-1 last month.