It was a match he had expected them to win comfortably but in fact, at one point, it looked like even a draw was going to be out of the question.
After setting a club record five successive wins earlier in the season, the Bears have now failed to win in three attempts and their last five home matches have gone to a last heat decider.
Only captain Gary Havelock and James Grieves rode either to their potential or to Premier League standard last night - and now the manager's patience has snapped.
"I'm gutted," said Havvy snr. "We're going to have to have to name another 1-7 for next week - we can't use this team when Workington come.
"I've told Chris van Straaten (the Bears promoter) that he's going to have to sort it out.
"The tail is far too long and it can't go on - we've got to do some alterations.
"We should have been away and gone - a team like Workington will come and mow us down."
It's hard to disagree with Havelock, especially as the Bears were only in front once, after heat six, and that was immediately cancelled out by a Stoke 5-1 in the very next race.
And the scenario would have been even worse had the Potters' Rusty Harrison not suffered engine problems on no fewer than three occasions, the first when leading heat four.
Mat Tresarrieu - who somehow sandwiched two wins between a pair of lasts - and Chris Kerr were again blowing hot and cold.
And the simple fact was that the remaining members of team didn't look like scoring a point unless they were handed it gift-wrapped.
The only exception came in the penultimate heat which had "5-1 to Stoke" written all over it - an outcome which would have sealed an away victory.
But with guest Karlis Ezergailis ruled out of the re-run after falling while bravely trying to have a go, Arlo Bugeja came from the back to beat Lee Complin and keep the match alive.
That left the Bears 44-40 behind and needing a 5-1 from the nominated riders' race to salvage a draw.
Havelock and Grieves duly made the gate and, despite the best efforts of Claus Vissing and Glenn Cunningham, stayed in front to send a mixture of cheers and sighs of relief around South Tees Motorpsorts Park.
TEESSIDERS Ashley Johnson and Jitendra Duffill make their first appearances of the season in Cleveland Bays' double header away to Boston tonight.
They sides will clash first in the Conference League and then in the CL KO Cup.