MATCH REPORT: SAT 5TH JAN 19

A lightning-fast start from the Cats saw them two goals up inside four minutes as Floyd Taylor opened the scoring with Sam Jones netting shortly afterwards.

Thunder replied midway through the first period, though, setting home nerves on edge before coach Nell flicked a backhand shot into the net to restore the two-goal cushion five minutes before the first buzzer.

Jonas Hoog scored his first goal back in Swindon colours to make it four, however, MK scored again minutes later to halve the deficit.

Nell grabbed his second with 15 minutes to play, wrapping up the scoring, as Swindon completed 50 per cent of their four-point weekend mission.

The Cats player-coach was largely pleased with his team’s performance, but insisted they have not reached top gear yet as they begin a run of fixtures against teams in the bottom half of the league table.

He said: “I thought we played well. We moved the puck really well – that’s something we’ve worked on this week.

“I was happy with the team, although I think it could’ve been a couple more in the third period – I think we hit three or four posts but overall, it was good night.

“We’re not quite where we need to be yet and there’s still a lot more to come, but it was good to score myself and it was good to see (Jonas) Hoog score his first goal.”

Another player to score on Saturday was Jones. The 21-year-old defender netted a number of key goals for the Cats in December – including the first in last month’s 3-2 victory against Peterborough.

Nell championed the contribution of his star youngster and has challenged his attacking players to reach the same level of goal-scoring efficiency.

Nell said: “In the first period I thought we were excellent – especially for the first 15 minutes – and in the second period I thought we were good again, but we had a lull at the end of the second.

“But when they’ve got a goalie like they have, they’re always going to keep it close and if a few of those posts go in and he hadn’t made a few of those saves then it could have been a different score line.

“Sam was excellent again tonight. He’s been great since he’s come back (from injury), he’s a big part of our team and he’s a very good player – we’re lucky to have him here.”

@SWINWILDCATS