COVENTRY slipped to an agonising 46-44 defeat in a last-heat decider at Plymouth last Friday.
The Europress Bees did take their first away league point of the season as some consolation, but were so close to a win on the night having led on three occasions, with the Devils only going ahead for the first time in Heat 14.
Top two Jon Armstrong and Connor Mountain both won a series of races but each found themselves at the back in Heats 13 and 15 respectively, and despite their best efforts they were unable to work their way through.
It was harsh on the Bees who covered well for the absence of Danny Phillips throughout an incident-strewn meeting which contained a succession of falls, mainly on the Plymouth side.
Mountain was involved in two early Coventry 5-1s, teaming up with Luke Harris in Heat One and Luke Ruddick in Heat Five as Ryan Terry-Daley and Henry Atkins respectively came to grief for the Devils.
Ruddick, who impressed on his return from injury, had been disqualified in his first ride after going down under Atkins’ challenge in Heat Three, which left him with major bike damage having been collected by Terry-Daley.
The Heat Five advantage put Bees 17-13 up and it was a lead they maintained through four successive shared heats with Armstrong riding strongly to hold off guest Danyon Hume in Heat Six.
The Coventry captain then took the flag in Heat Eight and Nine as well.
But a mechanical failure for Ruddick in Heat Ten proved costly as he looked set to take the lead only to come to a halt, with Hume and Terry-Daley taking advantage for a match-levelling 5-1.
Mountain’s third win in Heat 11 was backed up by third place for Jamie Halder to put Bees back ahead and Ruddick rode superbly to defeat Richard Andrews in the next.
But Ben Hopwood ended Mountain’s unbeaten run in Heat 13 as Armstrong missed out, with the Plymouth debutant defending his position strongly in the closing stages of the race.
Bees looked to be up against it in Heat 14 but Harris kept them in with a chance by splitting Atkins and Andrews, although it did put Plymouth 43-41 up with one race to go.
But although Armstrong hit the front in Heat 15, this time it was Mountain who was squeezed out and again it was Hopwood who was on defensive duty for the Devils, leaving Bees just short of a positive result.