PANTHERS PUSHED BY PLYMOUTH

Sunday April 12, 2015
PETERBOROUGH were made to sweat by plucky Plymouth in a tight tussle at the East of England Showground this afternoon (April 12).

The Readypower Panthers produced a powerful burst of four heat advantages in the space of five races to come from behind and win 48-42 – their fourth successive victory in the space of six days.

It was also enough to take them back into a share of Southern Group leadership although the Devils were good value for their consolation point after being superbly led by skipper Kyle Newman.

From an early stage it was clear there would be no repeat of the drubbing dished out by Panthers in the reverse fixture two days earlier.

The Devils arrived intent on revenge and some slicker-than-desired track conditions no doubt played into their hands.

Panthers found themselves trailing after conceding heat advantages in the opening two races and it was not until Robert Lambert and Lewis Blackbird combined for a 5-1 in the ninth contest that they finally clawed their way back onto level terms.

They immediately hit the front with a 4-2 in the next race although Michael Palm Toft was agonisingly denied another maximum when holding second spot behind guest number one Lasee Bjerre until being pipped to Newman in the dash to the finish line.

Plymouth responded with a 4-2 of their own as Ryan Fisher – a Peterborough rider in the last two seasons – got the better of Panthers skipper Ulrich Ostergaard in an 11th heat which turned into two races in one.

Jack Holder, the younger brother of former world champion Chris and winner of two races in his first-ever visit to the Showground, then edged out Ollie Greenwood for third.

But back-to-back 5-1s finally put Panthers in command as namesakes Robert and Simon Lambert impressed in heat 12 – the latter successfully completing a race-long pursuit of Sam Simota on the final lap – before Bjerre and Ostergaard followed up in a dramatic 13th race.

Bjerre was left trapped under the air fence after being sent tumbling by Fisher, who was excluded for causing the third-bend spill, and took a ride back to the pits in an ambulance before declaring himself fit for battle in the re-run.

He blazed clear with Ostergaard getting the better of fellow Dane Morten Risager when he fell on the final lap before remounting to limp round for a point.

Newman completed a successful solo mission in the penultimate race after partner Ashley Morris had packed up at the tapes, but that 3-3 proved enough to secure Panthers’ victory.

They couldn’t prevent Plymouth leaving with a point though as Newman also prevailed in an exciting finale to earn them a 4-2.

Panthers team boss Carl Johnson said: “We found ourselves in a position where we needed to pull some heat advantages out of the bag - and we did it.

“The first half of the meeting was not good enough and it was a case of rallying round to get everyone going.

“It is never ideal when falling behind at home as it increases the pressure, but thankfully it worked out in the end. The boys all pulled together.

“We’re struggling to get the track right at the moment, but it is something we will continue to work on to make sure we have the maximum home advantage.”

Panthers are now out of action until April 23 when they travel to Redcar for their Premier League curtain-raiser.

A long trek south to Somerset for their remaining League Cup clash follows the next day before their next home meeting on Sunday, April 26 when Rye House visit.

Johnson added: “We’re on a roll right now so the break doesn’t really come at a good time.

“We would much rather have the meetings coming thick and fast, but the majority of the guys will get action elsewhere so at least they won’t be sat at home twiddling their thumbs.”

SCORES

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 11+1, Robert Lambert 9, Lewis Blackbird 7+3, Simon Lambert 7+2, Lasse Bjerre (guest) 7+1, Michael Palm Toft 7, Ollie Greenwood 0.

PLYMOUTH: Kyle Newman 13, Jack Holder 8, Ryan Fisher 7, Morten Risager 7, Matt Williamson (guest) 3, Ashley Morris 2+1, Sam Simota 2.

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