AARON Nell paid tribute to the club’s travelling fans after the Swindon Wildcats booked their place in the NIHL Cup final tonight.

A professional display saw the Cats seal a 5-1 win over Telford Tigers on the night and an 8-4 triumph on aggregate.

With 50 supporters making the trip to Shropshire, Nell says their presence was felt by him and his players.

“I couldn’t believe how many fans made the trip for the game, especially on a Tuesday night,” said Nell, whose troops will now take on Sheffield Steeldogs over two legs in the final.

“They made a lot of noise and hopefully they enjoyed their night.

“We have a couple of games to organise and it will be nice to play a different team, we haven’t played them (Sheffield) all year.

“We’ll prepare for the game in the same way that we normally do, but the club are two legs away from their first trophy in a very long time.

“Something was always going to give up, that was the league chase, but we are delighted.

“We are in two finals and have two chances to win some silverware for the club.”

After a frantic start to the game, the Tigers took the lead through Warren Tait with just seven minutes on the clock in Shropshire.

The hosts managed to sneak round behind Renny Marr’s goal and play the puck into Tait who squeezed it home from close range to take the initiative.

However, a dramatic 18th minute saw a resurgence from the Wildcats as Phil Hill levelled against his former side following good work from Floyd Taylor.

Skipper Jan Kostal, who was restored to the starting line-up after being rested over the weekend, scored 27 seconds later to snatch a lead into the second period.

The second period saw Swindon take a stranglehold on the game, as they pummelled three goals past Tigers’ netminder Denis Bell.

Edgars Bebris got the first, he was rewarded for his persistence as he drove towards the net before sliding it in past the near post two minutes after the restart.

Chris Jones was on target for the second as he swatted the puck into the back of the net, after a sustained period of pressure from Nell’s troops.

Former Tiger Max Birbraer rounded off the period in style with Swindon’s fifth following a sweeping move from the visitors. A quiet third period saw the Cats manage the game superbly as they coasted their way to the final buzzer and the NIHL Cup final.