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Ice-cool Gustafsson wins it for Eagles
Simon Gustafsson produced a superb heat 15 win to help Eastbourne edge out Coventry in an Arlington thriller tonight.
Gustafsson fended off former Eagles stars Edward Kennett and Scott Nicholls to secure a 48-45 home win in a roller coaster of an Elite League meeting.
Eagles trailed 13-5, then led 35-25 before Kennett, on a tactical, and wily veteran Leigh Lanham combined for an 8-1 in heat 11.
That brought the home lead back to 36-33 and the last four heats were all shared.
Eagles had a chance to win the meeting in heat 14 but Kenni Larsen produced a superb start off gate one to beat Cameron Woodward and Denis Gizatullin and set up the last-heat drama.
Gustafsson was put under intense pressure but kept his cool to take his second chequered flag of the evening.
Eagles had just four lasts, plus an unfortunate retirement for Timo Lahti when his engine blew up at the start of the reserves’ race.
The hosts operated rider-replacement for Joonas Kylmakorpi but that is likely to change at Belle Vue on Monday.
Kylmakorpi tested his injured shoulder in Poland today and has reported fit to race for Rzeszow against Torun in the Ekstraliga tomorrow.
That would set him up to ride against the Aces - weather permitting.
Eagles: Gustafsson 12+1 (6), Dryml 8+2 (5), Bridger 8+1 (6), Gizatullin 7+2 (4), Lahti 7+1 (4), Woodward 6+2 (5), Kylmakorpi r/r.
Coventry: Nicholls 12+1 (5), Kennett 11+1^ (5), Harris 7+1 (4), Lanham 6+1 (4), Larsen 6 (4), Tungate 2 (4), Davies 1+1 (4).