SWINDON Wildcats returned to winning ways in the National League on Saturday night with an 8-4 success at home to Hull Pirates.

Aaron Nell’s side were beaten by Basingstoke Bison at the Link Centre last Friday and had more than a week to dwell on that defeat following a rare one-fixture weekend.

The Cats were clearly keen to make amends for that slip-up as – despite falling behind early on – a run of seven goals without reply snatched the treasure from the Pirates.

Player-coach Nell dedicated the victory to long-time Swindon supporter Mark Midwinter, who died last weekend.

Nell said: “It was a tough weekend last week with everything that happened – losing the game and, more importantly, what happened with Mark. It was very important for us to bounce back.

“I am very proud of the team. We needed that as we didn’t want to lose two games in a row at home. It is a big win for us.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant but, in the circumstances, I think we would have beaten anyone tonight.

“We really wanted it with everything that has happened. We wanted a big win for our fans and everyone who is involved with the club. It has been a tough week and I am very proud of the team.

“We weren’t great in the third period but we were excellent in the first two periods and it is a big win for the team in honour of Mark.”

Hull took the lead inside five minutes when Lee Bonner finished off a sweeping move, beating Cats keeper Renny Marr from close range at the back post.

Swindon’s response was swift and they had not only restored parity but also moved ahead within 90 seconds of falling behind.

Firstly, Tomasz Malasinski lashed home to level the scores following a flurry of action in front of the Pirates goal before Edgars Bebris made it two goals in quick succession after being picked out by Max Birbraer.

The Cats remained in the ascendancy and Chris Jones moved them further ahead before the end of the first period, beating Hull keeper Ashley Smith with quick hands and a neat finish.

Swindon remained on top as the second period began, although it had almost reached its midway point by the time they added another goal to their tally as Malasinski notched his second of the night, prodding home after Smith had spilled his initial shot.

There was no let-up in the pressure and Sam Bullas added his name to the scoresheet after a flurry of efforts were kept at bay by the Pirates defence in the build-up.

Having struck twice himself, Malasinski then turned provided for Swindon’s sixth goal, rifling the puck across the face of goal for player-coach Nell to finish the job.

Nell then added a magnificent seventh for his side in the dying seconds before the buzzer, unleashing an unstoppable drive from distance on the turn that gave Smith no chance.

Six goals to the good, Swindon took their foot off the gas in the final period and Hull were able to reduce the deficit through Bobby Chamberlain’s brace and one from Sam Towner.

But any thoughts of a Hull comeback were killed off by Tyler VanKleef’s strike 20 seconds before the final buzzer, and with just one fixture on their schedule again this weekend, the Cats will be able to enjoy their rare Sunday break much more than they did their last.