Crunch weekend as Phantoms go for their first title for nine years

Leigh Jamieson celebrates scoring against Basingstoke in November.
Leigh Jamieson celebrates scoring against Basingstoke in November.
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It’s the weekend of reckoning for title-chasing Peterborough Phantoms.

The city team face two crucial home clashes in the space of 24 hours as they go in pursuit of NIHL Division One South honours.

They host London on Saturday (7pm) ahead of a potential title decider against table-topping Basingstoke on Sunday (5.30pm).

Phantoms trail title rivals Bison by two points going into the big Bretton double-header, but they can wipe out that deficit by beating the Raiders before turning their attention to the biggest game of the season the following evening.

Head coach Slava Koulikov insists it is a time for cool heads as Phantoms close in on a first league crown for nine years.

“We’ve won five games in a row - now we need to win our remaining three,” said Koulikov. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing, we just have to keep ticking off the results.

“We can’t get carried away and we can never look beyond the next game.

“Everyone is aware of how important it is to beat Basingstoke, but first we must do the job on Saturday against London.

“We know they are a good and dangerous team who have already won in our building this season. Even though we beat them 6-1 last weekend, they still caused us a lot of uncomfortable situations during that game and they will not come here to roll over.

“But my guys will not need any motivation, and the morale and belief in the team is good.

“It’s a fine line between sticking to the plan and getting carried away by emotion in big games. That is something we must get right.”

Phantoms cannot win the title this weekend, but two defeats would see their hopes end.

Should Phantoms and Basingstoke end the season level, the title will be decided by points gained in head-to-head clashes. Head-to-head goal difference could then be required, followed by overall goal difference and finally, if the teams are still locked together, overall goals scored.

Basingstoke have won two of the three meetings between the sides so far - both by 4-3 scorelines - after Phantoms triumphed 2-1 in Hampshire.

Phantoms are offering discounted adult admission of £20 to watch both weekend games.