Nottingham Lions 6 Solihull Barons 2
The Lions got back to winning ways on Sunday evening at the NIC, a Nick Whyatt hat-trick helped the home side to a convincing 6-2 win over their Midlands rivals, the Solihull Barrons.
It was always going to be a feisty encounter with both sides looking to pick up two precious points before the festive break to help fight against the drop to Division 2.
Nottingham were almost back to full strength after last weekends’ short-benched defeat in Whitley Bay, only captain Chris Colegate was out injured for the short-term. Solihull were still looking for their first win on the road this season after conceding a equaliser in the dying seconds the night before in a 7-7 tie with Sheffield.
The Lions dominated the first period as the Barons showed signs of ‘bus legs’ in the early stages. Despite some solid defensive work and neat passing Nottingham were unable to make a breakthrough. Solihull still looked dangerous on the counter, forcing netminder Richard Griffiths into one or two good stops but the period ended scoreless.
The visitors stepped up the pace in the second in an entertaining period which saw more excellent work between the pipes from Griffiths to keep the Barons at bay. However, the Lions remained focused and claimed their reward through Joe Wightman who pounced on a rebound from a Danny Rose shot to fire past Sam Hewitt (28.47).
Nottingham found themselves two goals to the good before the end of the period after some good work on the flank from Nick Whyatt, Marcus Maynard was on hand to slot home (34.27).
The weekends exertions began to take a noticeable toll on the Barons in the third as the Lions took hold of the game, Nick Whyatt grabbing a hat trick within eight minutes (46.08)(47.08)(52.47).
Solihull’s Richard Slater prevented Nottingham from gaining their first shut-out of the season with two quick goals before Gareth O’Flaherty rounded off a pleasing night for the Lions with number six (57.31).
Post-game interviews with players and staff from the Lions and Barons can be found on our LionsTV channel.
The Lions now have a couple of weeks well earned rest over Christmas and New Year before their attentions turn to a road trip to the Billingham Stars on Sunday 8th January, where they will be hoping to snatch another victory at the TFM Arena similar to their outstanding 3-2 win back in November.
Nick Whyatt 3+1, Marcus Maynard 1+1, Joe Wightman 1+1, Gareth O’Flaherty 1+1, Danny Rose 0+3, Jonny Bell 0+1, Richard Griffiths 0+1.
Scores – 1st 0-0, 2nd 2-0, 3rd 4-2.
Shots – 1st 15-6, 2nd 16-18, 3rd 13-7 – Total 44-31.
Penalty Mins – 1st 6-6, 2nd 2-6, 3rd 4-2 – Total 12-14.
Lions Man of the Match – Danny Rose.