Peterborough Panthers shocked by a much-improved King’s Lynn Stars side

Peterborough Panthers slipped to a 48-42 home defeat to King’s Lynn in an eventful Easter Monday clash at the East of England Arena.

By Alan Swann
Monday, 18th April 2022, 9:10 pm
Scott Nicholls in action for Peterborough Panthers against King's Lynn. Photo: David Lowndes.
Scott Nicholls in action for Peterborough Panthers against King's Lynn. Photo: David Lowndes.

Panthers never fully got their gating into gear against the rebuilt Stars, who deserved their victory even though they were made to sweat towards the end.

And the home side have a fitness concern over Michael Palm Toft, who crashed heavily in Heat 6 when he clipped the back wheel of Richard Lawson whilst in a three-way scrap also involving Richie Worrall.

Palm Toft went over the high-side at the start of the back straight and although able to walk away, he was withdrawn with concussion which will rule him out of Thursday’s return fixture at the Adrian Flux Arena.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A minute's appluase in memory of Nigel Pearson. Photo: David Lowndes.

Panthers recovered an early six-point deficit with Ulrich Ostergaard and Hans Andersen taking a 5-1 over a thrusting Josh Pickering in Heat 3, but the Stars skipper was to hit back and join Richard Lawson and Niels-Kristian Iversen in a powerful top-end trio.

Palm Toft’s crash enabled the Stars to take the first of successive 4-2s, and they made what appeared a crucial break when Lawson and Worrall took a 5-1 over Andersen and Ostergaard in Heat 9.

With Panthers eight points down, all hope appeared lost when Iversen and Thomas Jorgensen recorded a 5-1 in Heat 11 – a race which clearly should have been stopped in the early stages due to a malfunction of the tapes.

However, all four laps were completed before referee Barbara Horley ordered a re-run, and remarkably Chris Harris and Scott Nicholls raced to a 5-1 of their own as Iversen hit mechanical trouble.

Simon Lambert (red helmet) in action for Panthers against King's Lynn. Photo: David Lowndes.

Three tense races followed with a series of close finishes, Nicholls just edging Lawson out for third place in Heat 13 and Andersen doing likewise to Lewis Kerr in the next.

That meant Panthers had a chance of salvaging a 45-45 draw and taking the match into a Super Heat – but they needed a 5-1 in Heat 15 and it was never truly on as Iversen took control, although Harris’s pass of Pickering saw the visitors limited to three group points rather than four.

Stand-in boss Carl Johnson said: “At the end of the day the best team on the day won, and I’ve got no worries about saying that. We just didn’t start well enough – our gating was poor at the start of the meeting, and that’s what cost us.

“The track was slightly different with the early start and maybe that caught us out a bit, but it wasn’t that bad, and no different really to what we had in the Ben Fund meeting, so really it was just that we didn’t let the clutch go as quickly as they did.

“The crash was unfortunate for Michael. He was trying hard and just clipped the back wheel, and that was a high-side straight into the fence for him.

“Fingers crossed he’s going to be alright, but he’s signed out for nine days with concussion, so he won’t be available on Thursday which is disappointing because he likes the King’s Lynn track and we need to go there now and get some points.”

PETERBOROUGH 42: Chris Harris 12+1, Scott Nicholls 11+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 8, Hans Andersen 5+2, Simon Lambert 5+1, Jordan Palin 1+1, Michael Palm Toft 0.

KING’S LYNN 48: Niels-Kristian Iversen 11, Josh Pickering 11, Richie Worrall 9+1, Richard Lawson 9, Thomas Jorgensen 5+1, Jack Thomas 2+1, Lewis Kerr 1.

Both teams and a packed Showground delivered a minute’s applause in honour of well-known speedway and sports broadcaster Nigel Pearson who passed away last week. He submitted copy on the Peterborough Panthers to the Peterborough Telegraph.