Peterborough Panthers seek to build on superb result under stand-in boss

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​After guiding Panthers to within four laps of their first away win in 15 months, stand-in team boss Laurence Rogers admitted: “That was another heart-stopping moment for me!”

​Rogers took charge of a Premiership team for the first time with regular team boss Rob Lyon on a pre-planned family holiday in Greece.

And he almost pulled off what would have been the biggest shock victory of the season as Panthers wrecked title-chasing Wolverhampton’s 100% home record.

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The two teams finished the 15 heats level, but Wolves went on to win the ‘Super Heat’ decider to pick up two points while the Panthers had to settle for one, the first they have collected on the road this season.

Laurence Rogers. Photo: Taylor Lanning, Holeshot Media.Laurence Rogers. Photo: Taylor Lanning, Holeshot Media.
Laurence Rogers. Photo: Taylor Lanning, Holeshot Media.

Rogers revealed: “Nine years ago, in 2014, I collapsed while I was at the Monmore track watching their meeting against Coventry.

“I thought I’d just fallen over, but it was the first of eight episodes that night, in the bar, in the ambulance and in the hospital.

“At three o’clock in the morning I was saying goodbye to my daughter, but I had the pacemaker fitted in the morning and I’ve been as right as rain ever since.”

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Rogers kept his cool as he guided Panthers to a memorable display ahead of an eight-day spell which could see them climb off the bottom of the Premiership table for the first time this season.

Ben Cook was the star of the show for Panthers at Wolverhampton. Photo: David Lowndes.Ben Cook was the star of the show for Panthers at Wolverhampton. Photo: David Lowndes.
Ben Cook was the star of the show for Panthers at Wolverhampton. Photo: David Lowndes.

The crunch fixtures are at third-bottom Ipswich tonight (Thursday) and then home and away against King’s Lynn, who are only four points ahead, at the East of England Arena next Monday (July 24, 7.30pm) and the return the following Thursday.

Rogers, who has managed several different lower league clubs including Newport, Somerset, Mildenhall, King’s Lynn and Birmingham revealed: “That was probably my Premiership debut. I can’t remember ever having managed in the top-flight before, and it was quite an impressive debut!

“I left Wolverhampton with a big smile on my face and so did the team.

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“Had we held on to positions in heat 13 we would have ended up winning. Niels-Kristian Iversen was leading and Vadim Tarasenko was third, but they were both passed in what could have been a match-winning race.

“But there was a good spirit in the team. They were all helping each other and I was talking to them after every race.

“It was a tremendous result and I was surprised how good the team was.

"Wolverhampton is a hard place for any team to go to and when they got a 5-1 in the opening race everyone must have been thinking ‘here we go again’.

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“No-one gave us a chance and while it was disappointing to lose the ‘Super Heat,’ it was a great performance and now I want to go to Ipswich and go one better.

Rogers, who stood down as Birmingham manager last month after a run of defeats, added: “Maybe that shows I can do the job! If we go to Ipswich with the same attitude, we can go one better. They are there to be beaten.

“We are coming up against two of the best riders in the league in Emil Sayfutdinov and the 2017 world champion Jason Doyle, but it’s a case of beating all the rest of their team.”

The Witches are struggling to reach the top four to make the end of season play-offs and have lost their last three matches, including a third home defeat of the campaign.

Skipper Hans Andersen will still be missing and it is expected Connor Mountain, who stood in for him on Monday, will again take his place at reserve.