TONY Hand’s Manchester Phoenix title charge is all but over after losing to title rivals Guildford Flames on Sunday.

Phoenix now trail leaders Guildford by eleven points whilst they have also fallen nine points behind second place Basingstoke.

Hand’s team has been hampered by injuries over the past weeks with starting netminder Steve Fone still sidelined, whilst import Joachim Flaten returned to the line up at the weekend with Hand who had been on Team GB coaching duty.

Phoenix however gave it everything on Sunday, with the ever improving back up netminder Jorge El-Hage producing some fine saves against the leagues best offensive line up.

However goals from Michel Psurny and Luke Boothroyd were not enough as Tony Hand’s side went down to there fourth loss in five games.

Flames goals from Curtis Huppe, Milos Melicherik, David Longstaff and a fluke strike from Branislav Kvetan sealed the win for the visitors.

Phoenix must now concentrate on the cup semi final second leg against the Flames in two weeks and the end of season playoffs in search of silverware.