Match Report: Wildcats 4 - 2 Bison

THE last time Swindon Wildcats claimed a cup success Michael Jackson was top of the charts with Black or White and player-coach Aaron Nell was still 334 days away from his third birthday.


However, the wait is finally over as the Cats lifted the Autumn Trophy in front of a packed Link Centre crowd last night following their 7-3 aggregate win over Basingstoke Bison, thus ending their 27-year wait.


Nell, who notched the fourth goal of their 4-2 win at home, says he is delighted the wait is finally over.


“I have got to give a lot of credit to the boys. They worked extremely hard and the first period was one of our best this year,” he said.


“I’m delighted for the players and the fans. It was hugely important that we didn’t sit back on the lead that we had from the first leg last Friday.


“In the first period you could see from our intensity that we were going to win the game on the night.


“We are slowly learning how to win. This is the first trophy in a very long time but it is not easy to win.


“We had tough games against Peterborough and then another tough game against Basingstoke last Friday.


“After all the snow and everything else, to play like we did against them last week and how we did this week was fantastic.”


The opening period got off to a frantic start before Sam Bullas calmed the Cats’ nerves in the 12th minute of the game, after Nell picked out the forward on the turn.


Three minutes later, Phil Hill added his name to the scoresheet as he crashed the net well to extend Swindon’s aggregate advantage to 5-1, making it 2-0 at the break.


In the second period, Swindon came under pressure as Bison looked to play their way back into contention.


Hallum Wilson was the man to open their account for the night, when he found a way past the impressive Renny Marr to make it 2-1 and 5-2 on aggregate two minutes after the restart.


The goal led to a surge in momentum from the visitors as they peppered Marr’s goal without really causing him too much trouble.


Edgars Bebris restored the two-goal cushion as he too crashed the net to notch with 33 minutes on the clock.


From there, the Wildcats looked comfortable as they maintained their advantage into the final period at the Link Centre.


The final instalment was a fitting climax for the competition as Bison again dented Swindon’s lead through Kurt Reynolds to plant a seed of doubt in the home fans.


Bison pulled their netminder with more than three minutes to play in a desperate attempt to get back into the game.


After several players attempted to shoot from distance, it was player-coach Nell who notched the Cats’ fourth goal to finally kill off the tie and by doing so, followed in his father - and club general manager - Steve Nell’s footsteps by becoming cup winner in Swindon colours.

SWINDON now turn their attention back to league action in NIHL South One as they begin their play-off campaign with back-to-back away and home matches against Streatham in the quarter-finals tonight and tomorrow.