Shropshire Star

Watkins fumes as Telford Tigers are outclassed by leaders

Telford Tigers head coach Tom Watkins was left disappointed with the manner of his side’s defeat after they were hit for six by Leeds Knights.


Twenty-four hours after seeing their four-match winning run come to an end at the hands of Peterborough Phantoms in overtime, the Tigers had no answer to table-topping Leeds as they crashed to a 6-0 reverse.

And that left Watkins to reflect on his ‘sloppy’ side’s ill-discipline.

He said: “I’m not disappointed that we lost it’s how we lost which is where we need to focus.

“We were very sloppy in all areas of the ice in the second period and if you give good players good opportunities in good areas they will take advantage and Leeds did that.

“We have to play the right way and in the second period the execution and discipline wasn’t there.”

However, Watkins did reserve special praise for netminder Matty Bloor as he made his full Tigers debut on goal.

“Matty came into the team and did a great job against a very good team,” said Watkins. “It takes time to adjust to this level but we see his ability and work ethic every week in practice.

“He battles and competes for every puck and he’s very quick with good athleticism and had a very good attitude.”

The Tigers travelled to Yorkshire to take on the leaders on the back of a heartbreaking overtime loss to Peterborough the day before. With a very short bench, Telford put up a great fight and narrowly lost to the Phantoms, but Leeds had beaten Tigers every time they have met this season and this was going to be a tough test for the understrength Telford roster. Aidan Wilson, Jake Price, Lucas Price, James Smith and Joe Aston all joined the long list of absent players for the visitors, while Bloor made his first start in goal for Telford since joining the club in the summer.

Tigers were caught out early in the game and Leeds’ top scorer Kieran Brown opened the scoring in the third minute.

Bloor was the busier of the two netminders and ended the period with 15 shots against him.

Tigers lost their way in the second period and conceded four goals.

Leeds import forward Mac Howlett scored a hat-trick, with the Tigers’ defence going AWOL at times.

Howlett took advantage of some lax defending to score three goals in a row in an eight-minute spell that the home team dominated.

Oli Endicott rounded off the scoring in the period to put the game beyond Telford and Leeds 5-0 ahead.

In the third period, Telford defended slightly better, but conceded a sixth goal while shorthanded.

With Endicott in the penalty box for tripping, Leeds broke away and scored through Matt Haywood.

A miserable night ended with Tigers unable to score as they suffered a second defeat of the weekend.