Widnes Wild 4 Nottingham Lions 3.
The Nottingham Lions suffered their first defeat of 2015, narrowly losing 4-3 to play off rivals Widnes Wild, at the Silverblades Ice Rink on Saturday evening.
Adam Andrews netted the Lions' first goal of the night.
Goals from Adam Andrews, Kieran Raynor and Stuart Parker proved not to be enough to return from Cheshire with the points, as the Wild took the advantage in the race for a top-four spot and also in the head-to-head between the two sides.
Nottingham travelled without Lee Holland, Elliot Perrin and Reece Glossop but were able to welcome back Christy Johnson-Brown, as well as Under-18s Raynor, Connor Glossop, Joe Humphries, Hamish Hall and Joe Gretton.
The first period ended all-square, with Filip Supa opening the scoring after ten minutes on the power play before Andrews equalised for the Lions, just before the buzzer.
Three unanswered Widnes goals then gave Nottingham a big mountain to climb, two power play strikes in the second period from Joe Greaves and Supa, followed by a Ben Brown effort on fifty-three minutes looked to have comfortably sewn up the points for the hosts.
The Lions refused to throw in the towel however and two goals in the last three minutes of the game from Raynor and Parker set up a tense finish but sadly, a Nottingham equaliser did not materialise before the final buzzer.
Warren Tait receives his 'Man Of The Match' award in his first away trip with the Lions.
The Lions' thoughts now quickly turn to revenge in today's return match at the National Ice Centre (7.30pm), where they will be looking to take two points off the Wild and to win by a margin of three goals, in order to triumph in the four-game head-to-head series.
Make sure you're inside the Lions' den tonight, for what promises to be another entertaining clash between two sides who both need the vital two-points on offer, in their respective pushes for the play offs. Ticket details can be found by clicking here.
Photos are courtesy of Ed Chappell.
Adam Andrews 1+0, Kieran Raynor 1+0, Stuart Parker 1+1, Ben Wood 0+1.
Period Scores: 1st 1-1, 2nd 2-0, 3rd 1-2.
Shots: 1st 16-14, 2nd 15-11, 3rd 10-12. Total 43-35.
Penalty Minutes Total: 26-67.
Lions MOTM: Warren Tait.