FORMER Basingstoke Bison head coach Doug Sheppard and seven of last season’s treble winning team buzzed into town on Saturday, but were stung by the new look Herd, as they were beaten 3-1.

This clash was the most anticipated home fixture of the season and the local derby lived up to expectations.

It took just 11 seconds of the contest for the first hit to be dished out as Ivan Antonov sent Tom Ralph crashing into the boards behind the Bison net.

The Herd had the upper hand in the first 20 minutes thanks to five powerplays.

However, they were unable to break the deadlock as the sides headed to the dressing room level at 0-0.

This was soon to change after the interval, as the Bison made full use of the balance left over from their fifth powerplay.

Great work from Liam Morris saw him feed the puck across the crease, from where Alex Sampford found Richard Bordowski to score.

This was just 43 seconds into the period and sent the very noisy home fans wild.

The Bees continued to run into penalty trouble and Ryan Watt earned himself a two-minute rest in the sin bin for speaking out of turn from the bench.

The former Bison forward then skated out the penalty box and hit a player off the play, so was sent straight back to the penalty box by referee Stephen Matthews.

This time the Herd made the extra man pay as man of the match Russell Cowley with some superb stick handling was able to score from close range.

Soon after, the home side took two quick penalties against George Norcliffe and Ashley Tait, which gave the visitors 61 seconds of a two-man advantage.

This was killed, and shorthanded Morris forced a great leg pad save from Dean Skinns.

With six minutes left in the session, the Bison so nearly made it 3-0 as a great rush down the wing by Hallam Wilson saw a delightful drop pass to Adam Jones, but the defenceman fired just wide.

Seconds later out of nothing, Bracknell scored thanks to Antonov from close range.

This gave the Bees some belief and they had their best spell of the game.

Then at 36:38 came the major talking point of the game.

The Herd players took exception to a late check from Josh Martin on netminder Alex Mettam.

It seemed to have sorted itself out with a few harsh words, but suddenly the punches started to fly as Martin and Bison’s Morris clashed.

Both players were given a 5 + game penalty for fighting and Morris was also given an additional match penalty for a head butt, which happened early on in the fight.

This left the Bison needing to kill a five-minute powerplay, which they did really well taking the sting out of their opponents’ tails.

The first powerplay of the final session saw the Bees have an odd man rush shorthanded, but it came to nothing as Antonov decided to shoot and not use the spare man Bracknell’s man of the match Roman Malinik.

The Bison then gave themselves some breathing space as Alex Sampford scored from the slot from a lovely pass from behind the net from Cowley.

The visitors tried to get themselves back into the contest with Harvey Stead and Edward Knaggs both having blue line efforts pushed away.

With just under two minutes left, Dean Skinns was pulled for the extra skater, but the home defence stood firm roared on by a home crowd in great voice.

Bison’s Jones so nearly hit the empty net, but his goal bound shot was blocked in the goal crease by a visiting defenceman.

Seconds later, the buzzer sounded for a very satisfactory victory for the Herd and the delight showed on the faces of the Bison faithful.

Head coach Ashley Tait said: “It was a real physical battle tonight and we knew it would be, being a local derby. It wasn’t pretty, but we won most of the 50/50 battles and came away with the win we wanted.”

This evening, the Bison are in action again this time at the Milton Keynes Thunder.