Updated: Sunday, 20th April 2014 @ 5:36am

Four point weekend for Manchester Phoenix following victories over Sheffield Steeldogs and Swindon Wildcats

Four point weekend for Manchester Phoenix following victories over Sheffield Steeldogs and Swindon Wildcats

By Steven Oldham

Manchester Phoenix secured their first four point weekend of the season with back-to-back victories over Sheffield Steeldogs and Swindon Wildcats.

They beat Sheffield 4-2 on Friday night before following up with a 5-4 home victory over Swindon at the Altrincham Ice Dome on Sunday.

Phoenix are fourth in the EPL table with eight points, just one behind leaders Basingstoke Bison. Guildford Flames and early season surprise packages Bracknell Bees also have eight points, but boast a superior goal difference to Phoenix.

The Altrincham side left it late on Friday, with the scoreboard still reading 0-0 as the game entered the third and final period.

James Archer netted his first goal of the season against his hometown club and Coach Tony Hand, Joachim Flaten and Michal Psurny were also on target.

Flaten opened the scoring before Steeldogs player coach Andre Payette equalised. Two minutes later however Hand had given Phoenix the lead once more, before setting up Archer for his goal.

Steeldogs refused to give up however and pulled the game back within reach thanks to ex-Phoenix player Derek Campbell.

Campbell's goal rejuvenated Sheffield and they pushed hard to get an equaliser, but Payette's stray elbow cost him a three minute penalty, with Phoenix taking advantage of the powerplay to net their fourth.

Czech Psurny found the back of the Sheffield net with assists coming from Ondrej Pozivil and Robert Schnabel to secure a victory over the Pennines.

Before any goalmouth action in yesterday's game, Archer was involved in a scrap with Nicky Watt, with both men receiving penalties for the fight.

Andy McKinney scored his first goal for Phoenix with assists from Ciaran Long and Scott McKenzie before Swindon equalised through Jonas Hoog.

Parity didn't last long however and McKinney and McKenzie combined again, this time with the former Telford man getting his name on the scoresheet less than a minute after Wildcats equalised.

The increasingly-prolific Psurny scored again (assist Hand) but Wildcats again clawed their way back to a one goal deficit, this time through Matias Perkkio.

After an end-to-end first period, Phoenix ramped up the pressure in the first half of the second, netting two more goals through captain Luke Boothroyd (assist McKenzie) and a stunning solo goal from Ciaran Long.

At 5-2, Wildcats found an extra level and Aaron Nell scored their next goal with help from Joe Baird and Lee Richardson.

In the final period, Watt pulled another goal back for Swindon to set Phoenix fans' nerves jangling but Hand's team survived the onslaught to record their second victory over Wildcats after beating them in their own back yard on the opening day of the season.

Man of the match Scott McKenzie said: "It's a good team performance. They're quite an offensive team but we managed to pick them apart and get the two points."

Next weekend, Phoenix have just one game, at home on Sunday to Slough Jets. This will be the first time the teams have met since Jets won last season's playoff final in Coventry.

The game starts at 5.30 and tickets are available via www.manchesterphoenix.co.uk

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Photo credit: Richard Allen