Player-coach Aaron Nell struck a late winning goal as Swindon Wildcats put away a stubborn Basingstoke Bison side 4-3 on Friday evening.

The victory put to bed a three-game losing streak for Wildcats, who pushed on their advantage in second place in the NIHL, now also boasting a six-point lead on Basingstoke in fourth.

Nell hopes the win can give his side a kick going into their final stretch of five games – the first of which comes on Saturday evening when the teams switch venue to the Link Centre.

“I’m very happy with the game. Two very good teams that were very close and it came down to the end,” Nell said.

“That was the best game we’ve played for probably five or six weeks and you could see out of the two who was the form team that had won four games in a row, and one had lost three in a row like us.

“The first period we were the far better team, the second period they were and the third was really tight.

“It’s important for us to get that win. It’s the first time in about five weeks where we haven’t been behind in a game and it was key.

“Everyone did their bit tonight and you could see the players were motivated to get a big win and start turning the corner.”

A strong start to proceedings saw Cats go in front after less than four minutes through Edgars Bebris.

Despite penalties for both Stevie Whitfield and Luc Johnson, that advantage was doubled before the first period was up as Nell put away a penalty shot.

But Alex Sampford nabbed one back for in-form Basingstoke, and not long after the second period got under way Richard Bordowski had them level.

It remained that way heading into the final stanza, which saw Wildcats ride out a penalty on Bebris and move back in front on 49:21 thanks to Sam Godfrey.

The game was then held up for repairs after Bebris’ stick got caught in and broke the plexiglass surrounding the rink.

Still Basingstoke refused to go away when the contest got back under way, and on 55:27 they were level again courtesy of Sean Norris.

But with overtime looming, Nell completed his brace on 58:44 to give Swindon victory in the first half of their weekend double-header against the Bison.

The winner was teed up by Tomasz Malasinski on a fine night for the Pole, whom Nell was quick to praise.

He said: “It was a great play by Tomasz. In the third period he was excellent and he made two great plays for two goals.

“It’s always nice to score in that situation but Tomasz made an unbelievable play.

“When he’s playing like that we all contribute like we were tonight we’re a good team.”