WITH the nature of their problems before the meeting, and at the start of the meeting, as well as facing one of the toughest home-track teams in the Elite League, there was only ever going to be one outcome for the Buildbase Bees at Purfleet.
It was a night to be swiftly put to one side, albeit with some lessons hopefully learned, and of greater concern at present is the injury crisis which has occurred of late.
Racing throughout July on almost antiquated averages will be another handicap, especially with the rider replacement facility no real replacement for skipper Chris Harris, whose mechanically-challenged start to the season dropped him fractionally below the 2007 figure that Rory Schlein remains on until next Monday.
Harris was sorely missed at Purfleet, his rides gleaning a not-so-grand total of four points, and taking out the usual small-track contribution of Billy Janniro too after a first-ride crash made the final result all-too-predictable.
Credit to Lakeside who have put together an impressive unit this season, and one which clearly knows all of the ins and all of the outs of their tricky circuit. Bees fans are well used to the class of Andreas Jonsson, who remains a joy to watch on any track, but it was the fact that the entirety of the Hammers' supporting cast performed well that left Coventry fighting an increased rearguard action.
Janniro's crash came on the third bend of Heat 1 as he chased Olly Allen and Leigh Lanham into bend three, only to spin and go over on his shoulder - and he also appeared in further discomfort from his leg when he returned to the pits.
It was no surprise that he took no further part in the meeting, and one of the more usual laws of speedway applied in the re-run when Allen, who held second place when the race was stopped, missed out at the expense of Jonsson and Lanham second time around.
Bees looked set to be sunk by an early Lakeside barrage as the home reserves also took a 5-1 by virtue of holding the inside line as initially Andreas Messing and then Stan Burza went wide - and 10-2 rapidly became 15-3 when Lubos Tomicek found his way inside Schlein to join Adam Shields at the front of Heat 3 on the second lap.
Some respite for the Bees came in Heat 4 when Messing switched bikes and rode four determined laps to hold Joonas Kylmakorpi at bay, a 4-2 being the outcome after Jonas Davidsson had slipped off on the first lap when trying to come inside Simon Stead.
But the Hammers advantages were straight back on in Heat 5 as Tomicek again came from third place, slipping underneath Allen at the end of the first lap - and then Stead was frustratingly pinned on the inside by a fast-starting Lanham in Heat 6 as Jonsson swept around the outside.
Two Bees heat-winners followed, firstly Schlein repelling Davidsson to win Heat 7 with Messing holding on to another good point in third - and then in Heat 8 Allen rode a terrific second bend round the boards after initially being taken wide by team-mate Burza, and he then had to hold the white line to fend off Lanham.
At 31-17, damage limitation was working to an extent, but 41-19 didn't look quite so good after Shields and Tomicek made it look easy in Heat 9 and the profitable Jonsson/Lanham combination also netted a maximum in the next race.
Heat 11 provided plenty of incidents with the race initially being called back after Kling jumped the start - but in the re-run, with Davidsson well clear, the Bees riders held second and third places with Allen working overtime to maintain control on the outside of team-mate Stead and also prevent Kling from coming through.
Schlein took the tactical ride in Heat 12 - although the doubling of any points in Bees' situation was of chocolate-teapot usefulness - and he rode a solid enough race for second place behind Shields as Burza, who made several good starts but could not hold position, lost third to Kylmakorpi on the line.
But the closing stages always appeared to have big Lakeside points written all over them, and so it proved to be. Allen rode well initially in Heat 13 but fell victim to Jonsson and, eventually, Davidsson, whilst the Bees reserves could offer no real threat to Kling and Tomicek in Heat 14.
Heat 15 was probably the best of the night, and it was impossible not to have some sympathy for a hard-working Schlein, although the brilliance of Jonsson also had to be applauded.
Schlein led away but was moved aside for the lead by Shields on the fourth bend of the first lap, with Jonsson squeezed out completely behind Stead. The Swede finally moved clear in third place on lap three and then, generating outrageous pace on the outside, switched back under Schlein going into the last lap and then continued to carry momentum on turns one and two as he swung wide again - something which appeared impossible for almost any other rider during the meeting.
Jonsson's ride, even from a member of the opposition, was a rare highlight on the night as Bees were left to lick their considerable wounds and ponder the damage done over the last 48 hours.
In the big scheme of things, and under the current regulations, 29-63 at Lakeside is exactly the same as 44-46, but it is the knock-on effect of the current situation which will currently be of the most concern - especially with the matches coming thick and fast at present.