Manchester Phoenix 9 Telford Tigers 1

Josh Ward scored his first ever goal for Manchester Phoenix as they demolished lowly Telford Tigers on Saturday night.

Phoenix were keen to maintain the pressure on league leaders Guildford Flames, and took the lead after eight minutes through Slava Koulikov. Ladislav Harabin smashed in another bullet from the blue line on 15 minutes, and Martin Cingel made it three for Phoenix at the end of the first period.

Manchester began the second period as they ended the first, when Ryan Johnson scored a fourth just two minutes after the restart. Tom Duggan grabbed the first of his brace for the night with a short-handed effort on the half way mark, and followed it up with his second, and Phoenix’ sixth, on 37 minutes.

Telford, as ever, were extremely industrious and created plenty of chances of their own, but the lack of a killer touch in front of the net would cost them dear as the game progressed.

Ward finally got his place on the score sheet when he grabbed a seventh for Phoenix on 46 minutes, and he provided the assist to Ciaran Long’s goal three minutes later.

Phoenix bagged their ninth when Juraj Faith, who had an excellent game, broke away for a superb unassisted effort on 50 minutes.

Phoenix coach Tony Hand had replaced Steve Fone in goal with Jorge El-Hage for the final 11 minutes, and the youngster was unfortunate to concede a goal by Tomas Janak on 54 minutes as Tigers, who simply did not give up, got a consolation.

Coach Hand said: “I am very pleased with the performance. We showed how well we can play, and how well we understand each other.

“Telford are a hard team to play against, and you need a strong start to set the tone. We did that, and reaped the reward.”