BRACKNELL Bees fans must have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief as they saw their new-look side storm into a four-goal lead against arch rivals Swindon Wildcats on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

The visitors did hit back as Scott Spearing’s men tired late on, but a 5-3 victory was still a satisfying result as the curtain went up on a new season at The Hive.

Bees had lost 4-2 at Swindon 24 hours earlier but always looked capable of gaining revenge.

Although netminder Alex Mettam needed to make two fine stops, the hosts were on top for much of the opening period and deservedly swept 3-0 ahead.

Czech import Frantisek Bakrlik, having returned to Bracknell from MK Lightning, powered in a low shot from 25 yards in the 16th minute and within two minutes Shaun Thompson doubled their lead with a solo effort.

Out-shooting Wildcats by four to one, Bees added a third goal through new signing Callum Best just before the buzzer.

It took them just 24 seconds of the middle period to go even further ahead with Thompson and Bakrlik creating the chance for Alex Barker.

Chris Jones, a new acquisition from Cardiff, pulled two goals back in the 29th and 38th minutes, making it 4-2 going into the final period.

Skipper Matt Foord netted a fifth for Bees after 43 minutes with Thompson and Bakrlik again providing the assists.

It was an unhappy return to The Hive for ex-Bees net-minder Matt Smital, who was making his Swindon debut following his summer transfer.

With Bees tiring, Mettam was forced to make two saves before Toms Rutkis scrambled in a late third goal for Swindon.

It meant that this M4 Challenge ended all square at 7-7, but with no trophy up for grabs an extra period was not required.

Foord was named Bees’ man of the match, while Bakrlik also impressed and Spearing gave special mention to Harvey Stead, saying he had produced a “very solid performance especially in the first period.”

Stead had been his side’s best player the previous night at Swindon, where Foord and Bakrlik were on target.

Commenting on the game, Spearing said: “It was a bit physical, but it was good to see the guys standing up for each other.

“Josh (Tetlow) jumped in for a couple of guys and there were a few guys fighting. It was nice to see the new and old guys from last season all sticking up for each other, I see that as a real positive.”

Danny Ingoldsby hurt his back at Swindon, but is having physio this week and hopes to play in the opening league game away to MK Thunder this Saturday (6.30pm).

“It will be tough,” said Spearing. “They’ve kept a lot of good guys from (MK) Lightning and brought back some experienced players, but hopefully we can go there and win.”