King’s Lynn Stars 44 Leicester Lions 46: Play-off hopes take a hit
- Credit: Ian Burt
King's Lynn Stars suffered their first home defeat of the campaign last night to leave their Elite League play-off hopes hanging in the balance.
A last-heat victory from Chris Harris, who was originally down to ride for Lynn, saw Leicester upset the formbook by recording their first win on the road this season.
The result leaves the Adrian Flux Arena side, who travel to Poole tonight, a point behind the Belle Vue Aces in the final play-off spot with a home meeting against the Swindon Robins still outstanding.
Much will now depend on Belle Vue's trip to Wolverhampton on Monday night in a Monmore double-header against the Lions.
The turning point of the meeting undoubtedly came with Lynn 10 points down after the first five races.
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Choosing not to use Wolverhampton guest Jacob Thorsell as a tactical substitution for double points in heat six, the hosts managed only a 4-2 advantage instead of what could have been a 7-2.
A different decision would have left the Stars 47-46 winners on the evening.
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Lynn went into the meeting boosted by the news that captain and number one Niels-Kristian Iversen was able to take his place in the side after his Swedish club Indianerna moved their scheduled fixture.
The jinx in the fixture looked to have struck again when a heavy shower arrived at the Arena an hour before the meeting was due to begin, but the rain dispersed in time for a prompt start.
After a shared first heat, the Lions took control of proceedings with three heat advantages in the next four races.
Thorsell and Robert Lambert teamed up for a 4-2 in heat six and when Carl Wilkinson followed the fast-starting Thorsell home for a 5-1 in heat eight, the Stars looked to have turned the corner.
Lynn levelled the scores on the evening after Kenneth Bjerre and Lambert combined for a home maximum in heat 10.
But the Lions had other ideas, even after the Stars had taken the lead for the first time on the evening, courtesy of a 4-2 from Iversen and Porsing in heat 11.
A maximum from guest Adam Ellis, whose nine-point haul may have condemned parent club Lakeside to the wooden spoon, and Simon Lambert put the visitors back in front by two points.
The Stars redressed the balance in the next and, after a shared penultimate race, it went down to the final outing with the scores locked at 42-42.
Iversen led for the majority of the race, but with Thorsell behind the pace in last Lynn were only set for a share of the spoils.
Just as the final bend beckoned, Harris swept around the outside of the Dane to pip him to the line to hand the Lions what could prove to be a very damaging win.
Lynn Stars: Niels-Kristian Iversen 12+1 (5), Nicklas Porsing 4 (4), Robert Lambert 5+2 (4), Jacob Thorsell 11 (5), Kenneth Bjerre 6 (4), Carl Wilkinson 5+1 (5), Ashley Morris 1 (3).
Leicester Lions: Chris Harris 9 (5), Sam Masters 6+1 (4), Walasek 10 (5), Piotr Swiderski 3+1 (3), Szymon Wozniak 4+1 (4), Simon Lambert 5+2 (4), Adam Ellis 9+1 (5).