SWINDON Wildcats are now one win away from their first ever league title after battling back from 3-1 down to win 5-4 against Basingstoke Bison on Sunday.

Despite being in control of the opening five minutes, the Wildcats went behind as Sam Jones inadvertently prodded Tom Ralph’s pass into his own net courtesy of pressure from the Bison’s Ashley Tait.

After then surviving a barrage of visitor pressure, Edgars Bebris fired in a rebounded Max Birbraer shot to tie the score at one just before the end of the first period.

Not long into the second period, Bison grabbed their second on a powerplay through George Norcliffe before another powerplay goal from Michal Klejna moved the Bison on to three.

But with a five on three situation advantage, the Cats halved the deficit through Sam Jones as he followed up his own shot after neat passing play.

Less than a minute into the final period, Tom Rutkis squeezed the puck under Alexander Mettam as the Cats clawed their way back to 3-3 before Chris Jones slammed one top shelf with ten minutes remaining to edge Nell’s side ahead.

Shortly before the end, Sam Jones netted his second and Swindon’s fifth to put the Wildcats within one win of the title with just enough time for the Bison to net a fourth and set up a nervy finish.

The Wildcats held on though and Nell was delighted with his side’s character in staging the comeback.

He said: “It was a very big win – very difficult. We got ourselves in a bit of a hole there, but we didn’t panic.

“We’ve been good in third periods in the last couple of weeks and tonight was the same.

“At 3-1 down, we said there was a long way to go still and we just had to keep playing our game.

“If you go two goals down, you want to do it early and it was important to win the rest of the period, like we did.

“With the games that they’ve played, they’re always going to be fresher at the start and we had to try and wear them down and capitalise later in the game, which is what we did – I’m very proud of the players.”

With three of their five goals coming with at least one extra player on the ice, Nell highlighted how important being successful on the powerplay can be.

He said: “Our powerplay was good tonight – it was the first time that’s happened in a long time – and we got three big goals, which was crucial.”