THE Basingstoke Bison narrowly lost the first leg of their South Cup final 2-1 to the visiting Peterborough Phantoms on Thursday night.

The Herd were once again without their leading goalscorer Richard Bordowski and battled hard for the whole 60 minutes.

They edged the opening session with Adam Harding and George Norcliffe both being denied by Peterborough man of the match Jordan Marr early on.

A couple of Phantom powerplays saw Bison netminder Alex Mettam called into action and Harding also went close for the Herd shorthanded.

After a cagey start to the second session, Mettam produced a great stop as he denied Taylor Romeo.

However, soon after, Ales Padelek netted the opening goal of the game, as he fired the puck into the top corner at 25:21.

Later in the period, the last Peterborough powerplay of the night, saw Bison man of the match Michal Klejna shorthanded cut inside Petr Stepanek, but he was unable to beat Marr.

Mettam then produced a great stop to keep out Padelek at the back door, after a well worked move.

The Bison were awarded their first powerplay on the night at 32:57 and during it Adam Jones burst through, being slashed by Will Weedon and the Herd were awarded a penalty shot.

Jones took the shot and could only find the pads of Marr, so it remained 1-0 at the second break.

Peterborough doubled their advantage at 44:36, after Corey McEwen cut in from the right wing and found the roof of the net.

A minute later, Mettam denied Padelek a third Peterborough goal from close range and Phantoms’ James Ferrara pinged a shot off the pipework.

The Bison then hauled themselves back into the contest with a goal.

Jay King skated around the Peterborough end zone passed the puck back to Tait on the left point. His shot took a deflection and looped up over Marr hitting the net at 46:38.

This spurred the home side on, and Tait nearly equalised from a nice feed from Klejna.

Then Liam Morris skated down the left wing and he cannon ball shot came back off the pads of Marr, but Russ Cowley was just unable to get to the rebound.

Then in the final seconds of the game, only a great save from Mettam on a Martins Susters’ breakaway stopped the Phantoms adding a third goal. So the Bison will go into the second leg at Peterborough on March 13 a goal down, but that is nothing in ice hockey.

On Saturday (6.30pm), the Herd return to league action when the Raiders come to town.