SWINDON Wildcats tasted defeat for the first time in 11 games on Saturday after going down 5-3 to Telford Tigers at the Link Centre.

The top two played out a thrilling encounter in Wiltshire and the Tigers were full value for their victory after stifling the Cats’ attacks and defending with an unmatched resolve at the other end.

The visitors went ahead with the only goal of the first period before Jan Kostal netted the equaliser on his final home game for the Cats shortly into the second period.

Telford regained the lead minutes later however, and pushed further in front as the clock struck 29 minutes.

Tyler Plews grabbed what felt like a really important goal for the home side prior to the second buzzer, and the Cats were level through player-coach Aaron Nell in the fledgling moments of the third.

But a shorthanded goal five minutes from time took the wind out of the hosts’ sails, and an empty net strike from close to his own goal from a Telford player wrapped up the game in the dying moments.

Reacting to a first home loss of the season, Nell admitted he could not have asked for any more effort from his players and tipped his cap to Telford for their win.

“I thought it was a really good game,” said Nell.

“I thought we played well, but the goals were individual errors and that’s how it goes sometimes.

“Their goalie was excellent, and he made some big saves in the first and third period.

“We couldn’t have given much more in the third, but it was just the one breakdown by me with five minutes to go and they scored a really nice goal.

“Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players.

“You could just see how much that team cares by the way they worked so hard, and you could see what it meant to Telford at the end. Fair play to them because they deserved it.”

The loss not only ended the Cats’ unbeaten home record but interrupted a streak of 10 consecutive wins.

Nell said his team’s achievement was ‘not normal’ and they should be proud of their record before resetting their expectations ahead of a difficult trip to Peterborough on Sunday night.

Nell said: “Of course it’s frustrating to lose, but the streak was always going to end. It’s now important how we react.

“It’s easy to keep going when you’re winning all the time, but it’s key to see how we react now that we’ve lost.

“Winning 10 in a row is not normal – we’ve got to be proud of what we’ve achieved, but we need to move on and get ready for Peterborough now.”