SWINDON Wildcats blew their first chance to win a maiden league title after a 4-3 loss at home to Streatham on Saturday.

Along with their first chance to win the NIHL1 crown, Aaron Nell’s side lost their first league game in 16 after an underwhelming performance meant their celebrations would have to be postponed for at least another week.

But after Peterborough Phantoms lost 5-4 on penalty shots to Invicta – the team the Phantoms beat 15-0 on March 3 – the Cats now only need to take either of the final games to overtime in order to wrap up the league.

In Saturday night’s game, Streatham came out to play and went 1-0 up with just a few minutes on the clock before Loris Taylor slammed home the equaliser five minutes later.

However, goals from Adam Wood and James Warman put Streatham two goals to the good and meant Nell’s side were trailing 3-1 for the second week in a row.

Max Birbraer halved the deficit before the end of the second period before Toms Rutkis levelled things up on a power play goal with 13 minutes remaining.

Yet, after Floyd Taylor was sent to the penalty box on a slashing call Streatham duly took the lead through their talisman Alex Roberts to seal the points for the visitors.

Despite seeing his side waste their first chance to win the league early and lose their first league game since December 23, Nell was upbeat afterwards and stressed that one game would not define his team.

He said: “How good we’ve been over the past two months gave us three chances to do this.

“Of course we wanted to do it tonight, but it shows that it’s not easy to win a league and if it was easy then it wouldn’t be as important to win.

“We had three chances to do it, I’m still very confident we’re going to do it – we need to look after ourselves and try and win a game next week.”

Nell gave credit to Swindon’s opponents for their smash and grab, but was keen to point out that the odds are still very much in his side’s favour as far as winning the league goes.

He said: “I don’t think we played our best game tonight, Streatham were very good and now they’ve got their night and they can say that they stopped us winning the league, but if we lose twice next week then we’ve really failed.

“If we win once, then we’ve had success and after the season, no one will say ‘ah they messed it up on the 9th of March’, they’ll just say we won the league.

“We’ve got two chances next week and we only need one point.”