Photo Gallery: Elite League: King’s Lynn Stars 42, Birmingham Brummies 48
Lynn flopped in front of the Sky Sports cameras again tonight as they slipped to their fourth home defeat of the season.
For the third time this campaign, the Stars failed to pick up a win in a televised meeting as their play-off dream realistically died in front of the nation.
To call a loss at Eastbourne, a draw against Swindon, and the eight-point defeat to Birmingham part of a Sky curse would be simply papering over the cracks. Lynn haven't been good enough for weeks and three defeats on the bounce at the crucial time of the season proves it.
Guest Chris Harris was the star of the night for Lynn in place of number one Niels-Kristian Iversen. But his two exciting race wins only gave him nine, paid 10, while Birmingham's Bjarne Pedersen and Sebastian Ulamek scored 13 plus one and 11 respectively.
The defeat hurt even more with the Stars play-off hopes still being mathematically alive, as were the Brummies, before the meeting. But with the visiting Midlanders having raced three times less than Lynn it was the hosts who needed the victory the most.
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And Lynn never really looked like taking the honours on a night where they only led on a handful of occasions during a tight meeting.
Maciej Janowski showed some of his 'Magic' to win his first two heats, one of which helped the Stars to a maximum 5-1 heat victory in heat 3. He was ably assisted by his captain Mads Korneliussen - who was in the thick of the action all night.
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But, as it has been for far too long this season, the Pole - and most of Lynn's riders' form - peaked and troughed throughout the evening. Poor gating was hurting Rob Lyon's men once again.
Bomber Harris settled into his new surroundings with his customary poor starts from the tapes but at least he had the pace to come from third to first twice to collect race wins.
Reserve Kevin Wolbert bagged another couple of victories and Korneliussen chipped in with an outstanding triumph of his own in heat nine after being ploughed into by Nicolas Covatti.
Lynn's skipper dusted himself down and bravely won the re-run after going all the way around the outside to beat ex-Lynn rider Ulamek. But a two-point lead with five heats to go quickly got turned on its head as the gritty visitors took control.
A miserable 5-1 reverse in heat 13, which saw Harris finish last after being blocked countless times by his own team-mate for the night Daniel Nermark, left Lynn facing an uphill battle.
And it's one they never recovered from as a shared heat 14 and a 4-2 defeat in 15 - which was re-started after Janowski went through the tapes - saw Lynn lose again. The Stars will be hoping to do better in tomorrow's return fixture at Birmingham.
King's Lynn: Chris Harris 9 (1), Mateusz Szczepaniak 4, Maciej Janowski 9, Mads Korneliussen 6 (2), Daniel Nermark 4, Kevin Wolbert 9, Ulrich Ostergaard 1 (1)
Birmingham: Bjarne Pedersen 13 (1), Josh Auty 4 (1), Danny King 8, Ben Barker 4 (2), Sebastian Ulamek 11, Nicolas Covatti 2, Martin Smolinski 6 (2)