IT JUST wasn’t to be for Swindon Robins in Norfolk tonight.

A match-turning moment in heat two that saw new recruit Stefan Nielsen withdraw from the meeting before he’d completed a lap was followed by two lost steal shoes for skipper Jason Doyle while Ellis Perks struck the fence in the penultimate race of the evening to go from first to last.

All in all, an evening to forget. But there were at least several encouraging signs for Alun Rossiter’s septet. But is it now getting to the point where those signs need to be applied, and instead valuable Premiership points gained?

Quite possibly so. The issue doesn’t seem to be at home, but one point from Robins’ five away meetings in the Premiership will give Rossiter food for thought.

Stars’ nine-point win tonight has dropped Swindon to sixth in the table.

Couple that with surprise wins on the road for Poole and Ipswich at Belle Vue and Peterborough respectively, the Robins find themselves 13 points short of the Aces who hold third.

With meetings in hand, the next month could prove crucial in Robins’ bid to reach the end-of-season play-offs – starting on Thursday when Ipswich Witches arrive at the Abbey high on confidence.

King’s Lynn made one change to the team that suffered defeat at the Abbey on Thursday, with Erik Riss drafted in to replace Ty Proctor.

The Robins meanwhile were unchanged, though Stefan Nielsen was confirmed as Zach Wajtknecht’s permanent replacement on Sunday afternoon.

But Nielsen’s full-time Robins debut was brought to a premature end in heat two when he spectacularly crashed into the bend four safety fence after colliding with teammate Ellis Perks.

Perks was excluded, and Nielsen was forced to withdraw from the meeting – gifting King’s Lynn a 5-0 in the second race. This followed the hosts’ 5-1 in the opening race, with Robert Lambert leading Michael Palm Toft and Jason Doyle to the flag.

Both teams traded 4-2s in heats three and four, before another nasty spill halted heat five.

Holding a 5-1, Stars duo Erik Riss and Thomas Jorgensen team rode to block the hard-charging Doyle in third. But when Riss switched lines exiting turn four after running wide into turn three, a helpless Doyle ploughed into the side of the Stars racer, which brought both men down on the home straight.

Robins skipper Doyle was excluded, adding to Robins’ early misery.

Bellego did manage to split the home pair in the re-run, but Stars’ dominant service resumed in heat six with Robert Lambert taking the flag with teammate Palm Toft a comfortable second from Batchelor.

A 20-minute delay followed as riders struggled for vision with a low sun piercing through the Norfolk skies.

Trailing by 15 points, all hope appeared to have vanished from the Robins corner of the pits as an early interval was taken.

But the visitors fought for every point when racing resumed. Jensen and Ellis both passed Cook to rescue a 3-3 in heat seven before another shared race in heat eight kept Stars’ significant lead intact.

When Jason Doyle was excluded for a second start line offence in heat nine, Robins’ slim chances of poaching a consolation league point looked to have been lost.

But an inspired ride in the re-run, which earned the visitors a 3-3, sparked a late fightback.

Rasmus Jensen was the unlikely hero in heat 10 when rounding Robert Lambert in breath-taking style to record a 4-2.

Doyle and Bellego then teamed up a race later to earn Robins’ first maximum race advantage of the night.

With momentum very much with the Swindon camp, Stars looked towards returning heat leader Erik Riss for a moment of magic. And he delivered just that when squeezing past Jensen in heat 12 to earn a crucial heat win for the hosts, stemming Robins’ late charge.

An eventful heat 13 concluded in a 4-2 advantage for the Robins, before King’s Lynn earned a 4-2 of their own a race later – meaning a 5-1 was required by Swindon in the final race to earn a consolation point.

That couldn’t be delivered, as Batchelor raced to his third heat win of the night while Jensen trailed in fourth – earning King’s Lynn a 49-40 win.