Friday September 14, 2012
DEPLETED Peterborough went agonisingly close to snatching an Elite League point at Lakeside on Friday – but the twelve-point defeat now leaves their chase for the play-offs delicately poised.

The result moves the Hammers into fourth place in the table, and means the Readypower Panthers need at least two-points from next week’s remaining away meetings at Belle Vue and Coventry to qualify for the title shoot-out.

That is still quite achievable, but their task could have been made much easier had they picked up a point in Essex – something they nearly pulled-off after staging a late fight-back only to lose out in the last race of the night.

Panthers were missing three regulars but using guests and rider-replacement they put up a very spirited performance. Stand-in reserve man Patrick Hougaard had a busy night taking seven rides after fellow guest Jacob Thorssell withdrew hurt after a Heat 6 fall. The Dane topped the visitors scorechart with 13+1 with Linus Sundstrom (10+2) and Ryan Sullivan (8+1) offering best support.

Lakeside had raced into a 13-5 lead after three races, but Hougaard was victorious in Heat 4 and Krzysztof Buczkowski won a fantastic battle with Robert Mear to reduce the deficit with a 5-1.

Hammers went six-points ahead with a 4-2 in Heat 6, only for Sundstrom and Hougaard to strike back with a tapes-to-flag 5-1 in Heat 7.

Heat 8 saw Hougaard go off a 15-metre handicap after breaking the tapes and in the re-run the home side took full-advantage with Mear and Kim Nilsson bagging a 5-1 with Norbert Kosciuch in third.

And another Lakeside maximum followed in Heat 9 with Peter Karlsson and Stuart Robson getting the better of Hougaard and Buczkowski.

Heat 10 saw Sundstrom nominated for a tactical ride, but there was to be no double-points as he trailed the home duo of Davey Watt and Nilsson – which left Peterborough trailing 37-23.

Sullivan did get a better return from his double-point ride in Heat 11, finishing second behind Nilsson with Kosciuch third. The resulting 5-3 cut the Hammers lead and it was further reduced to just eight-points courtesy of a 5-1 from Hougaard and Sundstrom in Heat 12.

Panthers hopes of snatching a league point looked to be over with Heat 13 ending in a home 5-1, but they took it to the last race with the impressive Hougaard and Sundstrom replying with a maximum of their own in Heat 14.

But there was to be no last heat heroics with Watt and Karlsson jetting from the tapes ahead of Sundstrom and Sullivan, leaving Panthers with some work left to do in next week’s away matches.

LAKESIDE 52: Peter Karlsson 14+1, Kim Nilsson 11+2, Davey Watt 11+1, Robert Mear 8, Stuart Robson 6+2, Justin Sedgmen 2+1, Jonas Davidsson R/R.

PETERBOROUGH 40: Patrick Hougaard 13+1, Linus Sundstrom 10+2, Ryan Sullivan 8+1, Norbert Kosciuch 5+2, Krzysztof Buczkowski 4+1, Jacob Thorssell 0, Michael Jepsen Jensen R/R.

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