The Coventry Bees gave their play-off push a welcome boost on Monday night with an emphatic but controversial 53-40 victory over the Swindon Robins at the Brandon Stadium.
In the first of three important home matches this week, fast track reserve Jason Garrity was the star of the show for the Bees as he won his opening four heats on the way to a 12-point haul.
The start of the contest was blighted by a number of crashes and interventions from the referee with Swindon repeatedly falling foul of the officials over timing issues.
Indeed, Nick Morris set the tone in the very first heat as he was excluded after a false start and Coventry took full advantage to secure a 5-1 through Garrity and Kyle Howarth, with the former then also winning the next.
In the third heat Swindon had both Simon Gustafsson and Steve Worrall excluded for time delays and, after Troy Batchelor fell at the end of the first lap, Coventry were able to claim a facile 5-0 on the restart to open a 13-4 lead.
Kenneth Hansen led home a 4-2 in the next after another Swindon exclusion (Nathan Greaves) and the same scoreline in heat five meant that Coventry had raced into a 21-8 advantage.
Swindon did manage to hit back as Batchelor, riding on double points, took the chequered flag just ahead of team-mate Gustafsson to land an 8-1 that reduced the deficit to just six points.
But most of that good work was undone again in the next as the visitors once again had both riders excluded – this time Morris and Worrall the guilty parties - leaving the Bees to claim another 5-0.
When Hans Andersen and Howarth combined for a 5-1 in the tenth, Coventry had moved into a 37-24 lead leaving Swindon with a last chance to send out a tactical rider in heat 11.
For a while another 8-1 looked on the cards as Morris (on double points) and Batchelor got themselves well positioned at the front, but Chris Harris came with a quite superb ride to pass both men and snatch victory, limiting the damage to a Swindon 5-3.
Harris would then go on to win heat 13 with the subsequent 3-3 guaranteeing Coventry overall victory on the night, James Sargeant’s win in the next ensuring Swindon left with nothing.
The success means the Bees move just three points behind Swindon in fifth but with a number of fixtures in hand over their play-off rivals.
Elsewhere on Monday night, Wolverhampton thrashed basement boys Leicester 56-38, while Belle Vue recorded a 42-33 win over Lakeside – the result standing despite the fact the match was abandoned after heat 12 because of heavy rain.