SWINDON Wildcats player-coach Aaron Nell admitted a ‘bad five minutes’ cost his side dear in their final pre-season game against Telford Tigers on Sunday night.

Having beaten the same opposition 6-2 at home on Saturday courtesy of goals from Nell (2), Tomasz Malasinski (2), Toms Rutkis and Edgars Bebris, Swindon set about trying to repeat the result the following evening.

The Wildcats initially held a one-goal lead over the Tigers – thanks to Loris Taylor’s strike – before a disastrous two minutes and 21 seconds turned the game on its head in the second period as the home side found themselves 3-1 up.

Bebris halved the deficit with four minutes remaining, but Telford restored their two-goal advantage in the dying moments to secure the win in the final game of pre-season.

Player-coach Nell confessed his side were far from their best in Shropshire and has called on everyone in the side to respond in a more serene and calculated fashion in the aftermath of conceding a goal.

Nell said: “We started the game quite well and we got ourselves in a good spot, but we had a bad five minutes near the end of the second period.

“We’ve got to learn that if we do let in a goal in a tough situation, we’ve got to stay calm and I don’t think we really did that.

“The next shift was key, and Telford got a big second goal, but their third goal shouldn’t have counted.

“It’s pre-season, so it doesn’t matter, but when a few of the players looked up the rules, it was a bit of a freak goal and it shouldn’t have counted.

“Either way, we didn’t play our best game.”

Despite suffering a loss in their final warm-up game before the new National League season begins on Saturday, Nell felt there was plenty of positives he could take from the weekend.

The performance of back-up netminder Tyler Perre was one, while Nell said allowances could be made for underwhelming showings as all skaters – including the coach himself – had one eye on staying fit and healthy for opening day at home to London Raiders on Saturday.

Nell said: “The fourth game of pre-season is always tough and we all had one eye on the league starting this weekend.

“Having said that, Tyler (Perre) was excellent, he played really, really well and made some big saves throughout.

“He saved a penalty shot and did really well for himself, so that was a big positive for us.

“It’s pre-season, so the result isn’t the be all and end all, and sometimes when you lose that last game in pre-season, it’s not always the worst thing in the world.

“I thought it was a useful exercise, but we’re looking forward to getting started and playing for real now.”