THE Buildbase Bees suffered the frustration of derby defeat at Wolverhampton in a match which could and perhaps should have gleaned an away win.
Bees seemed to find themselves playing catch-up for most of the meeting and eventually fell short when home skipper Fredrik Lindgren won Heat 15 to protect his team's four-point lead.
But the real difference between the sides was the fact that Wolves had a flying reserve in Nicolai Klindt, and this became more significant when both teams were reduced to six riders.
Jesper B Monberg was leading Heat 4 when he spun broadside coming out of the fourth bend, and the closely following Simon Stead had no way of avoiding him. Klindt was caught up in the carnage too and Robbie Kessler only just made it through, and all three fallen riders required attention.
Initially it seemed that Klindt had come off worse with a bloodied nose, but Monberg was quickly withdrawn from the rest of the meeting with concussion, whilst Stead took his place in the re-run, which he won, but then with his thumb swelling up he could take no further part - with the concern being that a bone could be broken.
And with Klindt in superb form, Wolves were able to cover far better for their missing man than the Bees who were tracking reserves with limited track knowledge and who were caught out on several occasions.
They held the advantage from the tapes in Heat 1 with Hans Andersen flying across from the outside gate to win, although Lindgren managed to make it though on the inside of Olly Allen on the second bend, and it was 5-1 time for the home reserves in Heat 2 when Kessler made a good start but drifted on the first bend and the other three riders all came through.
A fast start saw Niels-Kristian Iversen take charge of Heat 3 as Chris Harris and Billy Janniro were delayed early on by David Howe, the Wolves man making an error on turn four to allow the Bees a straightforward passage through.
The Monberg/Stead/Kessler collision led to a Bees 4-2 in the re-run to level the scores, Klindt going around Kessler at the end of the first lap to limit the damage, before Heat 5 saw a virtual repeat of Heat 1 with Andersen and Allen gating, and Iversen this time switching inside Allen on the second lap but the Bees holding on for a 4-2.
Heat 6 looked troublesome on paper with Bees forced to field their reserves, but Kessler made the best start of all, only to slide wide on turn two and nearly hit the fence. Filip Sitera, made his way through nicely and although he was no match for Lindgren, he rode a good line to hold off Ales Dryml and at least save a 5-1 reverse.
The next race was one in which Bees were looking to capitalise on the absence of Monberg, but Klindt appeared to be virtually in the first corner by the time the tapes went up, and with the red lights remarkably not going on the young Dane proved again what a turn of speed he has when he hits the front - as neither Harris nor Janniro could make any serious challenge.
Buoyed by that let-off, Wolves gained ground in the next two races with that man Klindt at it again in Heat 8 with a win over Allen as Sitera fell on turn four, and then a predictable 5-1 in Heat 9 from Iversen and Howe over the Bees reserves.
With storm-clouds gathering, Bees put themselves back in contention with a 4-2 in an epic Heat 10, Lindgren initially leading but making a mistake on turn four to allow Harris and Janniro through. The Coventry riders attempted to team-ride for a 5-1 only for Lindgren to make it around Janniro going into the last lap - but they did get their 5-1 in Heat 11 when Klindt was finally upstaged, clamped by Andersen on the first bend and unable to find a way past Allen, who had taken his chance on the outside in the early stages.
That left the match all square with four heats to go, only for Wolves to edge two in front with Iversen beating Harris in Heat 12 and Klindt going around Sitera on the fourth bend for the important third place point.
And with the interval then called, that looked as though it might be game over as the clouds began depositing heavy rain just before the resumption - but with a strong wind, they quickly blew over and the last three races were completed.
However, Andersen was caught out by a slightly greasy track at the start of Heat 13 when he gated but almost turned around completely on the first bend - and although he quickly re-passed Chris Neath, Lindgren was away and clear to extend the Wolves lead to four points.
That margin was maintained in Heat 14 with Janniro coming up trumps to ride the perfect defensive race, second-guessing Klindt all the way round to make sure of the win - Howe's third place ensuring at least a draw for Wolves.
Bees were looking to their Elite League Pairs champions to snatch a 45-45 outcome with a 5-1 in the last race, but it was Lindgren who conjured the best start off gate 2, and although Iversen was unable to link up with him, the Bees duo of Harris and Andersen were unable to put too much pressure on the Wolves captain, who duly secured the points for his team.
It left Bees once again close but not quite close enough after another last-heat decider away from home, and now awaiting word on Stead's injury which would leave a worrying hole in the middle-order should he be ruled out for any length of time.
WOLVES 47 Fredrik Lindgren 2 3 2 3 3 = 13 Ales Dryml 0 1 1 F = 2 Niels-Kristian Iversen 3 2 3 3 0 = 11 David Howe 0 0 2* 1* = 3+2 Jesper B Monberg X = 0 Chris Neath 2* 0 0 1 = 3+1 Nicolai Klindt 3 2 3 3 1 1 2 = 15
BUILDBASE BEES 43 Hans Andersen 3 3 3 2 1* = 12+1 Olly Allen 1 1 2 2* = 6+1 Chris Harris 2 2 3 2 2 = 11 Billy Janniro 1* 1* 1 3 = 6+2 Simon Stead 3 = 3 Filip Sitera 1 2 F 0 0 0 = 3 Robbie Kessler 0 1 R 1 0 = 2