LEE Richardson hailed his Oxford City Stars side after they stayed in the title hunt after a thrilling overtime

victory at leaders Slough Jets.

Despite seeing the table-toppers draw level at 4-4 with just 82 seconds remaining, the visitors dug deep with Alex Staples netting the winner in their South Division 2 clash.

It leaves fourth-placed Stars five points behind Slough with two matches in hand.

And although frustrated not to have seen out victory in normal time, acting player-coach Richardson was thrilled with the effort of his side.

“It was our best performance of the season,” he said.

“We were gutted not to take the win in regulation time, but despite the late equaliser the team kept going and got the winner.

“Slough had been unbeaten for 24 games, so to go to their rink and win is something we take great pride from.

“It showed we can compete with the top side in the league.

“The title is out of our hands, but we’ll keep going. The win gives us good momentum to take into the play-offs.”

Captain Darren Elliott was quick to point to the large travelling support as a telling factor in their triumph.

“It was a great performance and we really stepped up in the third period and showed what we’re about,” he said.

“The fans were fantastic. There was well over a hundred there and they were so loud.

“They really gave us a lift and helped us.

“All the boys commented on it in the dressing room, so a big thank-you to all our supporters.”

Despite suffering a blow before face-off when Dom Hopkins failed a late fitness test, Stars started brightly with Conor Redmond and Josh Florey going close.

A series of minor penalties disrupted the flow of both sides but it was Stars who took the lead when Michal Oravec scored after good work from Richardson and Josh Florey.

Slough hit back to level through Ryan Handisides before the buzzer, and then went ahead at the start of the second period when the same player found the net.

Matt Lawday missed a good chance to level, but made amends shortly afterwards when he fired past home netminder Matthew Smital to make it 2-2.

Stars continued on the front foot in the final period and went ahead when Tom Davis netted.

And the impressive Lawday then doubled the away team’s advantage after good work from Josh Oliver and Oravec.

Slough pulled a goal back with 12 minutes remaining to set up a nervous finish.

Richardson had a golden opportunity to win it for Stars but rattled the crossbar with a fierce shot.

And the miss proved crucial.

With just over a minute left on the clock, the hosts scored with a wrap-around shot to take the game to sudden-death overtime.

And it was Staples, an unlikely goalscorer, who proved the Stars hero, sliding the puck past Smital to send the visiting support into raptures.

Stars next host Romford Raiders at Oxpens this Sunday (6.15pm).