SPEEDWAY: Panthers suffer first away defeat of the season

Ulrich Ostergaard top scored for Panthers with 12 points.

Ulrich Ostergaard top scored for Panthers with 12 points.

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Temporary boss Dale Allitt admitted an East Anglian derby point last night (April 14) probably wasn’t enough to boost Peterborough Panthers’ hopes of Premier League Cup qualification.

The city racers fell to a first away defeat of the season when suffering a 48-42 reverse at Ipswich in the Midland Group.

But captain Ulrich Ostergaard inspired an all-Danish late stand as Panthers secured a 4-2 in the final race which ensured they didn’t leave Foxhall empty-handed.

Ostergaard powered to victory over Great Britain international Danny King with countryman Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen coming home in the third.

It edged Panthers to within a point of group leaders Sheffield, but they have now completed one more meeting than the Tigers with only the table-toppers advancing to the semi-finals.

“Coming away from Ipswich in possession of a point would ordinarily be very pleasing,” admitted Allitt, who stepped in on a short-term basis following the departure of Carl Johnson earlier this week.

“But in all truth we knew we needed a win to really put the pressure on Sheffield at the top if the group.

“We weren’t quite good enough to make that happen, but we did manage to keep ourselves on their coat-tails throughout the meeting.

“Ulrich and Nikolaj did very well to get us an advantage in the last race. It is certainly not easy to go up against the likes of Danny and Lewis Kerr on their own track.

“There were quite a lot of positives to be taken from our performance considering we are a team that is still a work in progress – none more so than the fact this result was a considerable improvement on those we picked up at Ipswich last season.

“The group is far from over as well. We’re still in with a chance of making it through to the semi-finals.

“Our fate is out of our hands, but Sheffield have to face Ipswich twice and that won’t be easy.”

Panthers and Ipswich remained close throughout last night’s contest with the hosts’ advantage growing to a maximum of eight points as they clinched victory courtesy of a Morten Risager-inspired 4-2 in the penultimate race.

Panthers were behind for almost the entirety with the only exception being for a few moments following a second-heat 5-1 from the reserve combination of Tom Perry and Emil Grondal.

British recruit Perry again out-scored his former World Under 21 finalist compatriot at the bottom of the order - his paid-seven haul continuing to a fine start to his Panthers career.

Busk Jakobsen has also begun his time in red and black in pleasing style. The most valuable of his nine points last night arrived courtesy of that third place in the finale.

He had earlier taken the chequered flag in heat seven when a late mistake from Michael Palm Toft saw a potential 5-1 reduced to a 4-2.

Nicklas Porsing was also a race-winner with skipper Ostergaard bagging two triumphs as he led home a 4-2 with Simon Lambert in heat 11 ahead of his key contribution in the finale.

Panthers are back in action tomorrow (April 16) when they travel to Rye House for their opening Premier League fixture of the new season (7pm).

SCORES

IPSWICH: Danny King 14, Lewis Kerr 11, Nico Covatti 8, Morten Risager 7+2, James Sarjeant 6, Paco Castagna 1, Darryl Ritchings 1.

PANTHERS: Ulrich Ostergaard 12, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 9, Nicklas Porsing 7, Tom Perry 5+2, Emil Grondal 3+2, Michael Palm Toft 3, Simon Lambert 3.