DOMINANCE displayed in the first half of the National League season by Telford Tigers and Swindon Wildcats fails to represent the division’s competitive nature, according to Aaron Nell.

Tigers have dropped just seven points from 21 games this term while Wildcats have allowed 10 to slip from their grasp in the same number of fixtures.

Combined, both teams have dropped as many points as third-placed Peterborough Phantoms, while chasing clubs Basingstoke, Hull and Sheffield have lost at least eight games since September.

If the country’s two-horse second-tier race had to be talked down, Friday night was an ideal opportunity to do so after Ashley Tait’s Bison surprised the Wildcats by springing a 2-4 win at the Link Centre.

Friday’s result epitomises the consequence of players’ performance levels dropping for Wildcats player-coach Nell, who has called for a positive reaction when Hull visit this Saturday.

He said: “The reality is that at the start of the year when we were flying and beating teams by five or six goals, that was not a real reflection of how the season is going to be.

“We had a great start to the season – we had a 10-game winning run and Telford had a run where they got at least a point in 15 games in a row.

“I think that made everyone think that sort of form is normal – it is not normal. Telford aren’t going to go 15 games without losing in regulation time again, and we are probably not going to win 10 games in a row again.

“It just shows how good we were for 10 games. Our goal is to win the league and be at the top, but it is going to be tough.

“There are going to be tough nights and Friday was one of those nights.

“We have played 11 games at home so far and that is the first one where we have been really disappointed with our performance. If you don’t perform, you are not going to win.”

Off the back of Friday’s loss, Nell paid tribute to the hard-working Bison and has tipped Tait’s roster to upset a few more teams on the road for the remainder of the season.

Bison will move to within five points of Wildcats should they win their game in hand. And a bid to finish in the league’s top two is most certainly on if their performance levels for the remainder of the season mirror Friday night’s efforts.

He added: “I can only credit them and how hard they worked. When you don’t perform at your best, you are leaving it to luck.

“Basingstoke were great and they really deserved to win.”