PLAYER-COACH Aaron Nell was delighted with his troops after they claimed a 3-1 away win over Basingstoke Bison in their Autumn Cup opening leg tonight.

Goals from Stevie Whitfield, Jan Kostal and Nell saw the Cats through the game, setting them up nicely for next Friday’s second leg.

While the goals weren’t the easiest on the eye, the Wildcats coach says he will take them in any shape or form.

“It doesn’t matter how you score, in these big games it is just about getting the goals,” he said.

“We were fortunate but we don’t care how we get them.

“Now we need to take next week a period at a time. We have won at home all year, we have only lost twice and now we need to go and get another win.

“If we can do that we will be very happy. We are only halfway through, I know that it is a massive cliche, but we are.

“There is a lot of hockey still to be played. Now we just need to keep calm and try to do the same next Friday when they are at our place, if we can.

The Wildcats got off to a dream start as Whitfield put their noses in front with a scrappy effort in the third minute of the game.

The D-man made the most of a good cycle between Max Birbraer and Aaron Nell, he took the puck well and let fly before it took a slight deflection on the way past David Skinns.

Momentum then swung between the two teams before Ivan Antonov latched onto a mistake by the visitors to draw level in the 16th minute, scoring a short-handed goal.

The second period saw the lead gift wrapped for Swindon thanks to the home netminder, Skinns.

After a compelling opening to the second instalment, skipper Kostal popped up with Swindon’s second of the night.

Kostal got a hold on the puck after solid work from Ben Nethersell and Sam Godfrey, before having a go at goal from distance.

His strike was met by Skinns but the netminder could not prevent it from squirming over the line, to hand the Cats a fortunate goal in the 32nd minute.

While the Cats were lucky to score, they did warrant a lead as they produced a much better period in Hampshire.

They managed the game well as they adopted a physical approach in the closing moments of the period, which went a long way to unsettle the frustrated hosts.

In the final period, the Cats further stretched their lead as Nell notched to double their advantage in the 48th minute.

The decisive leg of the final takes place next Friday evening, as the home side chase their first piece of regular-season silverware since 2001.