SWINDON Robins’ play-off credentials took a massive hit at the Abbey Stadium tonight when they were downed 41-49 by Belle Vue Aces.

Fresh from bagging a shock away win at Somerset Rebels the night previous, Mark Lemon’s Aces threw a further spanner in the SGB Premiership works when earning a second away win in as many nights – bringing the Manchester club right back into the play-off picture.

The Robins meanwhile, who realistically had to win all remaining home meetings prior to tapes-up if they were to feature in the end-of-season play-offs, remain second – though chasing teams Somerset, King’s Lynn, Wolverhampton and Belle Vue all have meetings in hand.

The Robins opened the meeting with a shared race as number one Troy Batchelor comfortably took the chequered flag ahead of Aces guest Brady Kurtz and Steve Worrall.

There were early warning signs for the Robins when Aces reserve pair Dimitri Berge and Theo Pijper stormed to an unchallenged 5-1 in heat two ahead of Zach Wajtknecht and Jack Smith.

Mark Lemon’s Aces maintained their four-point lead after heat three as former Robin Rohan Tungate raced to the chequered flag clear of Tobiasz Musielak and Adam Ellis, who fortunate to remain on his bike after losing control on bend two of the second lap.

Nick Morris secured a vital win for the hosts in heat four as Robins reserve Jack Smith continued to struggle at Premiership level.

Morris’ win meant Robins ended the first block of races four points down as Fricke and Pijper picked up second and third.

That deficit was increased after heat six though as guest Brady Kurtz and Steve Worrall raced a smart first turn to earn Belle Vue’s second maximum heat win of the night – stretching the visitors’ lead to eight points.

Swindon secured their first race advantage when it was needed in heat six.

Alun Rossiter’s side were fortunate when Dimitri Berge retired, however the hosts threw away a 5-1 situation when David Bellego was eventually passed by Max Fricke into second.

Still six points down, Robins boss Rossiter opted to replace Wajtknecht with Batchelor in heat seven as tactical substitute.

While on paper it looked the correct decision, Rossiter’s decision backfired when Rohan Tungate exploded out of the gates to win with Batchelor picking up second.

Dan Bewley’s third place meant the Aces re-established their eight-point from earlier in the meeting.

Bellego and Wajtknecht secured a 4-2 for the hosts in heat eight before Adam Ellis was forced to ride the wall of death on bend two when forced wide by Max Fricke in the following heat – which the Robins again earned a 4-2.

Robins’ deficit remained at four points after 10 heats when Troy Batchelor comfortably won from the outside grid, there was frustration for David Bellego though – who ran a second last place as Aces appeared happy to split the points.

Nick Morris kept Robins’ hopes of stealing a win alive when winning from the gate in heat 11.

However hopes of reaching the end-of-season play-offs took a major hit in heat 12 as British youngster Dan Bewley won by half-a-straight ahead of teammate Berge and Robins pairing Ellis and Wajtknecht.

Aces then wrapped up the meeting in heat 13 when Brady Kurtz won clear of Batchelor and Fricke.

There was little consolation when Robins secured a 5-1 through Musielak and Wajtknecht in heat 14 before the Aces secured all four league points on offer when picking up a 4-2 in the night's final race.