THE Basingstoke Bison failed to stop the Swindon Wildcats closing in on the South One title, as they were narrowly beaten 5-4 on Sunday night in Wiltshire.

The home side started the better, but it was the Bison who opened the scoring as Sam Jones deflected Tom Ralph’s pass into his own net.

After this the visitors had the better of the game, but Swindon managed to tie things by the end of the first period as Edgars Bebris netted Max Birbraer's rebound.

Within two minutes of the re-start the Herd took the lead as George Norcliffe netted from Adams Jones and Harding.

They then made it 3-1 as Michal Klejna scored on the powerplay after Russ Cowley and Ashley Tait combined.

The Herd then ran into penalty trouble as man of the match Alex Sampford was joined in the sin bin by Elliott Dewey.

The Wildcats made the most of the two man advantage, as Sam Jones scored as he followed up his own rebound.

Less than a minute into the final period on another powerplay Swindon tied the game up, after Toms Rutkis squeezed the puck under Bison goalie Alex Mettam.

Then at 50:35 on another powerplay, Chris Jones fired into the roof of the net to give the Wildcats the lead for the first time in the contest.

Three minutes later, they added a fifth from Sam Jones, but the Herd set up a tense finale as Klejna grabbed his second of the game.

The visitors then pulled their netminder and with eight seconds left Swindon took the last penalty of the game, but the Herd were unable to force an equalise.

The result left the Bison third in table three points clear of the Bracknell Bees who have a game in hand. and these sides meet this coming weekend to decide third spot, with the first game on Saturday (6.30pm) in Basingstoke.