Peterborough Panthers team boss Carl Johnson urged his riders not to feel sorry for themselves after their latest SGB Premiership setback last night (August 12).
The rock-bottom city men were brushed aside 56-34 by Wolverhampton in a televised clash at Monmore Green.
It was a seventh consecutive defeat for Panthers and three of those losses have now been inflicted by the Midlands men.
Panthers produced a worrying diet of nowhere near enough heat victories and far too many last places. There were only four of the former, but 11 of the latter.
Newly-crowned British champion Charles Wright and former national king Scott Nicholls battled hard for Panthers while Aaron Summers delivered another typically solid showing at reserve.
Former Wolverhampton man Ty Proctor also chipped in with a win, but number one Rohan Tungate and captain Hans Andersen could only muster three points apiece.
And guest reserve Nicklas Porsing contributed only one point (which was gifted to him in a second heat re-run) and looked ill at ease on the tight Monmore Green turns.
Johnson said: “We only had three of our seven riders perform to the levels we expect – and that is nowhere near enough to be competitive in a top-flight speedway meeting.
“It’s been the story of our season in many ways as I can’t remember the full team firing on all cylinders on any given night.
“Confidence is low, riders are struggling for form, and results are not going our way. We’re having a difficult time but there is no switch we can flick to put everything right.
“We have to keep riding through the storm and hope to get to the other side. What we cannot afford to do is start feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Panthers endured a miserable start as Luke Becker and paid maximum man Jacob Thorssell slammed in a 5-1 over the slow-starting Tungate with Proctor retiring.
Back-to-back 4-2s – inspired by Summers and Wright – pulled the city men level but that was as good as it got for them.
Wolverhampton reeled off four consecutive gains before the previously pointless Proctor and Summers bagged a 5-1 in heat eight to reduce the Panthers arrears to six points.
But that merely prompted another surge from the hosts as they slammed in a hat-trick of advantages with Wright and Tungate both hitting the deck during that time.
Panthers’ fate was sealed when tactical substitute Nicholls and Wright could only fill the minor places behind home captain Rory Schlein in heat 12.
But there was no hint of Wolverhampton easing up as they claimed two more 5-1s before Wright triumphed in a shared finale.
Panthers had looked to be on course for a 5-1 of their own in the closing contest until Nicholls suffered a puncture when sitting in second place on the third.
Unfortunately his tyre is not the only thing that has gone flat in a season which continues with a derby date at King’s Lynn on Monday (August 19) when Panthers will attempt to avenge a 20-point drubbing at the same venue last month.
A run of seven consecutive away fixtures then features trips to Ipswich (August 22) and Swindon (August 29) ahead of a long-awaited return to home shale in September.
Panthers are likely to have been cast adrift by then with the play-offs already a distant dream in a return to the top-flight that has fast become a nightmare.
WOLVERHAMPTON: Jacob Thorssell 10+2, Sam Masters 10+2, Luke Becker 10, Nick Morris 9+2, Kyle Howarth 9, Rory Schlein 7, Ryan Douglas 1.
PANTHERS: Charles Wright 9+1, Scott Nicholls 8, Aaron Summers 6+1, Ty Proctor 4, Rohan Tungate 3, Hans Andersen 3, Nicklas Porsing (guest) 1.