COVENTRY 48 PANTHERS 42

Friday May 18, 2012
PETERBOROUGH were again left to come away from a meeting on the road reflecting on a case of what might have been – after defeat in a last-heat decider at Coventry.

Readypower Panthers co-boss Jan Staechmann admitted to mixed emotions on a night where the side didn’t take maximum advantage of the Bees’ problems, not that it was plain sailing for the visitors either at Brandon.

Five of the six team members on duty won at least one race, but on a night where almost all riders had good heats and then setbacks, it was a surprise contribution of paid-nine from home reserve Jason Bunyan which arguably swung the match Coventry’s way.

The early stages were close but Panthers were already ruing points dropped in Heat 4 when Jesper B Monberg, contesting second place with Scott Nicholls, collided with his race-leading team-mate Olly Allen, and a possible Peterborough 5-1 turned into a Coventry 4-2.

That was partially cancelled out in Heat 5 when home skipper Chris Harris was disqualified for bringing down Kenneth Bjerre on the first bend, but the Bees led by four when Bunyan joined Scott Nicholls for a shock Heat 7 5-1 over an up-and-down Michael Jepsen Jensen, who was not in full health, and Linus Sundstrom.

Jepsen Jensen and Monberg immediately hit back for Panthers in Heat 8, and a disqualification for Nicholls in Heat 9 for being the cause of a first-bend pile-up opened the door for the Panthers, as it wasted a strong rider-replacement ride for the Bees and left them vulnerable later on.

But the likes of Bunyan and Leigh Lanham continued to notch vital points to keep the Bees’ noses ahead, although Jepsen Jensen rode superbly to defeat Harris in Heat 12 and then Allen brilliantly took Heat 13 under pressure from Edward Kennett and Nicholls, as Bjerre missed out at the back.

Heat 14 favoured the Panthers on paper, but ex-Peterborough man Henning Bager conjured a good start for the Bees, and as Monberg tried to make it from the back he went down on turn three as he tried to make it around Bunyan.

The referee disqualified Monberg leaving Sundstrom to win the re-run but Panthers were still two points down – and Bjerre and Allen were unable to crack the Harris/Nicholls combination for Coventry in the last race, although the margin of defeat was at least enough for a league point.

Staechmann said: “The point is the only consolation, because we’re all a little disappointed. You can point to several incidents throughout the night where we gave points away, and that came back to haunt us at the end.

“The referee made his decision in Heat 14 and he’s not going to change it. I did speak to him but he said that in his view the guy in blue (Bunyan) didn’t do anything wrong. You have to take the track into consideration and there’s no point in arguing about it.

“Michael’s not well and he was struggling all night long, although he still got seven points which was commendable, and Linus is still struggling with his engines, but in my mind the way Olly was going he definitely deserved to be in Heat 15 and Kenneth can pull one out of the bag even if he’s not scoring, so my mind was pretty clear on that one.”

COVENTRY 48: Scott Nicholls 13+1, Chris Harris 10+1, Edward Kennett 8, Jason Bunyan 7+2, Henning Bager 5+1, Leigh Lanham 5, Kenni Larsen r/r.

PETERBOROUGH 42: Jesper B Monberg 9+2, Kenneth Bjerre 9, Olly Allen 9, Linus Sundstrom 7, Michael Jepsen Jensen 7, Kyle Newman 1+1, Lasse Bjerre r/r.

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