THE BESPOKE Guardians Swindon Wildcats head coach Aaron Nell stood by comments made after Thursday night’s 9-4 defeat to Milton Keynes Lightning where he called the actions of the visitors “embarrassing”.

In an in-house post-match interview published on the Wildcats’ Facebook page, Nell heavily criticised the decision to send out Lightning’s first line in the final period with the visitors up by four goals.

The Cats’ boss felt it was not necessary, especially with his team fielding several inexperienced youngsters and given the unwritten rule in ice hockey surrounding the game being played “in the right spirit.”

Speaking to Adver Sport the day after the game, Nell more calmly explained his post-match comments.

He said: “I stand by what I said, it was frustrating last night.

“We played MK a couple of weeks ago and they were in the exact same situation as us with guys out due to Covid.

“They were frustrated during the first game because of something that happened, and we were frustrated on Thursday.

“Both teams are passionate, we’ve had a few guys test positive for Covid but the league agreed at the start of the year that we’d keep on playing. We completely understand that.

“Both teams want to play each other with full line ups – we’ve only done that twice out of four so far.

“Hopefully, the next time we play we will both have full line ups again and we have a really good game.”

Despite a sobering defeat, the Wildcats’ head coach heaped praise on his youngsters – especially Thursday’s man of the match Oli Endicott, who is the nephew of experienced campaigner Neil Liddiard.

The teenager was one of a handful of fresh talents who battled their way through three games in five days as Swindon fell to three successive defeats against Basingstoke Bison and the Lightning.

Nell insists he isn’t worried about his side’s title prospects though with Swindon’s lead cut down to two points, and is backing his group to come out the other side of this rough patch soon.

He said: “We were in a really tough spot on Thursday – we had eight guys out through injury and Covid.

“Dean Skinns has just recovered from Covid, and because the game got cancelled two weeks ago he hadn’t played in almost three weeks.

“I thought we were really good on Boxing Day, it’s just the Bison’s goalie was exceptional. The next night, I don’t think we were as good and Basingstoke got a really good win.

“I’m not worried about us, of course we’d have liked to have won at least one of those, but it’s about how we recover now.

“We’ve got two more games before we get most of our guys back, and we’ve got to come together and try to drag out a win.”