AARON Nell felt Swindon Wildcats’ final-period rally meant they were deserving of their hard-fought 3-2 overtime victory over Hull Pirates in the Autumn Trophy tonight.

Hull headed into the third 20-minute session at the Link Centre holding a 2-1 advantage but Stevie Whitfield’s leveller took the contest to overtime before Max Birbraer hit the back of the net to snatch the win for the home side.

Player-coach Nell conceded that the Cats were far from the best early on but got better the longer the game went on, which meant they were worthy of their win.

“It was a tight game. We were good in the third period but we have got to learn to be better for the first 40 minutes,” said Nell.

“We were a bit flat to start with but we showed what we could do in the third period and we could have had a couple more goals.

“Hull are a good team. We had to be lot more cautious than we usually are against their top guys but we have still got to play with a higher intensity.

“We are winning and that’s great but we need to start playing better too.

“We are too tight at times and we are not playing with enough intensity. This has got to be a tough place to come and right now it’s not hard enough.”

Luc Johnson gave Swindon a dream start with a goal inside the opening 90 seconds of the contest but that was cancelled out almost immediately by Jason Hewitt as the first period ended 1-1.

Lee Haywood got the only goal of the second period as Hull edged narrowly ahead but the Cats were able to rally and efforts from Whitfield and Birbraer completed their comeback win.

The victory was Swindon’s third from as many matches in the Autumn Trophy and sees the NIHL One South side safely through to the semi-finals with one group game still to play.

“We’re pleased. We wanted to get through as quickly as we could and we have,” said Nell.

“We have got one more game in this competition but now we have to concentrate on the NIHL Cup as we have a couple of games in that coming up and then some big league games too.”