BEATING the league leaders the Swindon Wildcats was always going to be tough ask minus import Richard Bordowski.

It became even more difficult when they lost leading goal scorer Michal Klejna just 10 minutes into the clash, but the Basingstoke Bison put up a valiant effort being edged out 5-3.

The Wildcats had Max Birbraer the league leading points from last season back in their line-up for this weekend and being now classed as a non import, it certainly strengthened their line-up.

It was Birbraer who was involved in the first major incident of the game, as his low hit on Bison's Klejna saw the Slovak Sniper take no further part in the game and earned the Swindon man a two minute penalty.

The Herd made the most of the penalty, as they opened the scoring at 11:26, as man of the match Adam Harding found the net from an acute angle out on the left.

The visitors hit back and scored twice in 39 seconds to take a 2-1 lead by 15:11.

Chris Jones scored the first one with a shot from the top of the circle and then man of the match Tomasz Malasinski grabbed the second.

However, 39 seconds later the home side were level, as Alex Sampford at the second attempt poked the puck home by the post.

There was still one more goal in the opening 20 minutes, as Aaron Nell with a bullet from the blue line made to 3-2 to Swindon at the first break.

The home side had the better of the second session, but it was the Wildcats who extended their lead at 29:40, as Loris Taylor converted a nice pass from Luc Johnson.

The Herd kept themselves in the game as a lovely passing move between Sampford and George Norcliffe saw Harding grab his second of the night.

Soon after, Swindon's Jones' saw his shot hit the post, before Liam Morris was just unable to latch onto a wayward pass with the Herd shorthanded leaving the Wildcats one up at the second break.

The Herd continued to look for an equaliser in the final period, with a lovely rush from Sampford set up Harding, but Renny Marr denied the Bison man a hat-trick.

Soon after Birbraer pinged the pipework again and then Norcliffe was denied for the home side.

Swindon made sure of the victory with a fifth at goal at 57:36, as Edgars Bebris tipped a blue line shot from Neil Liddiard.

With 46.4 seconds left in the contest the Herd pulled their goalie and Swindon hit the post one last time from Malasinski, but were unable to add to their tally.

This Saturday, the Bison are at home to the Milton Keynes Lightning, which is a game sponsored by the Basingstoke Gazette.