PANTHERS PIPPED

Sunday August 09, 2015
PETERBOROUGH couldn’t prevent Premier League title rivals Edinburgh claiming a slice of revenge at the East of England Showground today (Sunday).

The delight of a 45-44 triumph in the reverse fixture on Friday was replaced by disappointment as the Readypower Panthers went down 49-41 on home shale at the hands of the table-topping Monarchs.

A tight contest always appeared to be in prospect and that was certainly the case until the pendulum swung in the visitors favour following a major turning point in heat 10 when Panthers lost new number one Robert Lambert to injury.

The teenager was on course for a 5-1 with partner Emil Grondal - which would have stretched their lead to six points - when he hit the deck leaving the last corner after running too wide and losing control.

Lambert withdrew with neck and wrist pain and Edinburgh took full advantage with a powerful finish to the meeting to emerge as deserving winners after slamming in three advantages in the final five races.

Joint Panthers team boss Carl Johnson admitted: “We knew we would be beaten if we weren’t at our best and that has ended up being the case.

“The win at Edinburgh now means nothing and that is very frustrating after the performance we produced up there.

“We didn’t win anywhere near enough races today and we just couldn’t cope with losing our number one at a time when we already have our captain and top reserve out injured.

“Robert knows better than to do something like that when comfortably leading a race. It was a case of his inexperience showing.

“It was also a big moment in the meeting as I feel we would have been good enough to hang onto a six-point average from there.”

Lambert had earlier provided one of just four heat wins and two race advantages managed by Panthers.

That came in heat six when led home top-scoring star Emil Grondal for a 5-1 after both stormed past Kevin Wolbert.

The other advantage had arrived when Rafal Konopka continued his heat two hot streak with guest Luke Bowen in tow.

Recent signing Grondal provided the other two victories courtesy of a fine effort in heat eight before being left to cross the line in front when Lambert tumbled a couple of races later.

But Panthers could not live with the scoring prowess of Edinburgh’s three leading riders. Craig Cook, Justin Sedgmen and Kevin Wolbert piled up 40 points between them while Erik Riss won a crucial heat 14.

That success in the penultimate race left both teams chasing a 5-1 in the finale. It was Cook and Sedgmen who obliged to earn all four available league points for an Edinburgh side who now sit 10 points clear of third-placed Panthers in the standings.

Johnson added: “No team likes losing at home. This is the fifth time it has happened this season and that is far too many.

“The riders know they have let themselves and the fans again, but we will regroup and aim to coming back firing again as we have done so often this season.”

Panthers face a 12-day break ahead of their next meeting at home to Newcastle on Friday, August 21.

Injured captain Ostergaard and high-scoring reserve Simon Lambert have that meeting as their target to return from hand and shoulder injuries respectively while Robert Lambert was due to be checked over at hospital following his spill.

SCORES

READYPOWER PANTHERS: Emil Grondal 11+1, Lewis Blackbird 9, Robert Lambert 7 (withdrawn), Michael Palm Toft 5+2, Rafal Konopka 5+2, Luke Bowen (guest) 4+3, Rider replacement for Ulrich Ostergaard.

EDINBURGH: Craig Cook 15+1, Justin Sedgmen 14+3, Kevin Wolbert 11+1, Erik Riss 6, Robert Branford 3, Max Clegg 0, Rider replacement for Sam Masters.

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