BANK HOLIDAY DEADLOCK

Monday August 29, 2016
PETERBOROUGH took a small step towards securing a Premier League play-off place despite enduring a difficult Bank Holiday Monday meeting.

The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers, who featured two new arrivals and two departing riders in their team, were held to a 45-45 deadlock by struggling Redcar at the East of England Showground last night.

The two sides could not be split during a tension-packed run of four successive shared races after the visitors had drawn level with a heat 11 5-1 inspired by their skipper David Bellego, who took the flag in three of the final five races.

But the point gained from the stalemate against promoter Ged Rathbone’s home-town club did at least allow Peterborough to climb to fifth place in the standings. It also stretched the gap between themselves and the Ipswich side, who sit directly below the play-off zone, to five points.

Team boss Carl Johnson admitted: “It was very disappointing not to pick up the win we wanted, but we’re in a position where one point is better than nothing.

“That point could prove to the difference between making the play-offs and coming up short so we’ve got to look to the positive and move on.

“The track wasn’t brilliant again, but we can’t keep pointing to that as a reason for not performing in the way we should.

“Redcar were quicker out of the traps towards the end of the meeting and we can’t really argue with the result.”

Peterborough saw an early six-point cushion and a later four-point advantage wiped out by the battling Bears last night.

Ash Morris launched his farewell appearance with a fine triumph in heat one as he had Craig Cook in tow for a 5-1, and Panthers kicked on in the second contest with a triumph from the much-improved Zdenek Holub and new recruit Danny Halsey’s first point in Peterborough colours earning a 4-2.

But a delay for work on part of the track gave Redcar time to regroup and the visitors promptly slammed in back-to-back 5-1s when racing resumed to edge into a two-point lead.

Skipper Ulrich Ostergaard and the returning Anders Thomsen were on the receiving end of the first of those setbacks, but they responded to deliver a 5-1 of their own in heat five that edged Peterborough back into the driving seat.

That margin remained until the hosts doubled their lead in a re-run 10th contest after Redcar man Jonas B. Andersen had hit the deck in the initial staging.

Morris, who was troubled by mechanical issues for much of the night, limped across the line to take third spot in his final ride for the club and that earned a 4-2 with Cook streaking to victory.

But the Peterborough advantage was wiped out when Bellego led home Jy Etheridge, who darted past departing Panthers man Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, to claim a 5-1 for Redcar in heat 11.

And the two sides then remained locked together for the remainder of the meeting as honours ended even with Bellego taking victory over Cook and Thomsen in a winner-takes-all final heat to preserve parity.

Peterborough now face a crucial home double-header on Sunday (September 4) when they entertain Rye House (2.30pm) and Workington (5pm).

Major signing Kenneth Bjerre and 2006 title-winner Richard Hall will feature in their line-up for a vital afternoon of action when team boss Johnson insists maximum points are a must.

He added: “We’ve got to make sure we pick up all six available points on Sunday and we might then need to go to Edinburgh to get a result to make sure we reach the play-offs.

“The pressure is on and we all need to show we can handle it.”

The club are yet to finalise a new date for the trip to Edinburgh, which was postponed last month

SCORES

PETERBOROUGH ‘T BALFE CONSTRUCTION’ PANTHERS: Craig Cook 12+1, Anders Thomsen 8+3, Zdenek Holub 8, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 6+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 6, Ashley Morris 4, Danny Halsey 1.

REDCAR: David Bellego 11, Jonas B. Andersen 8, Jye Etheridge 7+4, Hugh Skidmore 7+2, Lasse Bjerre 7, Lee Payne 3+2, Tobias Busch 2.

PICTURE: Anders Thomsen battles past Lasse Bjerre to win heat 9 in Panthers' draw against Redcar (pic credit: STEVE HONE)

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