FORMER BRACKNELL Bee Josh Smith flew back into The Hive to sting his old club an incredible four times, writes Dave Wright.

Smith scored twice as Basingstoke Bison held Bracknell to a 4-4 draw in normal time before adding two more goals in the penalty shoot-out – while missing another – to earn his side victory on Sunday.

For the Bees, it meant their National Cup group game ended in much the same way it had started.

The side seeking their sixth-straight win were slow getting into their stride and soon found themselves in arrears.

Ryan Sutton opened the scoring in the 13th minute and four minutes later the faster-starting Bison doubled their advantage through David Scott with Bees having two players in the sin-bin at the time.

However, the groans from the home crowd quickly turned to cheers as their side quickly cancelled out their deficit.

Frankie Bakrlik opened Bracknell’s account on 17:05 and just 44 seconds later Jared Lane made it 2-2.

Buoyed by this spirited fight-back, Bees continued on the offensive in the second period and the pressure was rewarded when Bakrlik fired them in front for the first time in the 35th minute to maintain his impressive goal-scoring record.

With the defence holding up well, it looked as if the Bees would go into the second break a goal to the good, but 30 seconds before the buzzer Smith pounced on a rebound off Alex Mettam’s pads to make it 3-3.

The third period saw both sides go close before Bees moved back in front with a super goal from Shaun Thompson. The former Bison was close to 20 yards out when he drove the puck low into the right-hand corner.

It was a goal that deserved to win the match – but sadly it didn’t turn out that way.

Smith, who had spent three seasons at Bracknell before switching to Basingstoke this year, made it 4-4 with five minutes left on the clock.

So a thoroughly entertaining game ended all square and it stayed that way in the five-minutes of overtime, where Bakrlik went close to scoring – although Mettam was slightly the busier of the two net-minders.

In the penalty shoot-out, Callum Best and Bison’s Tomas Karpov both missed before Thompson made it 1-0.

Smith failed with his first attempt, while Bakrlik’s penalty went straight to keeper Dean Skinns.

Roman Malink managed to square things up for the visitors with a shot that Mettam half stopped before seeing it roll over the line.

In the second round, Bison went first and this time Smith made no mistake, as did Jan Bendik at the other end.

Karpov and Thompson both squandered their attempts before Smith took his third penalty and scored.

Bendik was given another opportunity, but this time he could not find a way past Skinns.

That left Bison victorious by 3-2, but it officially goes down as a 5-4 win. It was their second success at The Hive this season.

Bees will be looking to return to winning ways this weekend, when they have league fixtures away to London Raiders at Lee Valley on Saturday (6.30pm) before hosting Invicta Dynamos on Sunday (6pm).

“Hopefully, we can take all four points, but it won’t be easy,” said captain Matt Foord.

“We will need to be switched on and ready to go from the first drop of the puck and not lose our focus.”

Bees currently lie third in the NIHL with 10 points from six games behind unbeaten Peterborough on 14 points from seven matches and Swindon with 11 from six.