MATCH REPORT: A pleasing point for patched-up Panthers

Scott Nicholls.
Scott Nicholls.
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Peterborough Panthers had to settle for a pleasing point rather than a stunning SGB Championship success last night (June 8).

The city team were pipped 47-43 at title tips Glasgow following a fine away display with a patched-up side which included only five of their own riders.

In fact the final four-point margin was the biggest gap between the two sides throughout an ultra-tight contest at the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium in which Panthers led on a couple of occasions.

The chosen riders arrived at the tapes for the finale with the teams locked together, but Tigers pairs Richie Worrall and Chris Harris claimed a 5-1 over Panthers’ two double-figures men – number one Scott Nicholls and the returning Bradley Wilson-Dean.

Nicholls beat both of those Glasgow riders on his way to a fine haul of 13 points while Kiwi ace Wilson-Dean, drafted in for the injured Nike Lunna, launched his second Panthers spell with a 10-point shift.

Team manager Carl Johnson said: “It’s not the first time this season we’ve left an away track with a good point, but also felt we could possibly have had more.

“We always aim to get something from an away meeting and we’ve managed that in all three of our trips in the league so far.

“We have to be happy overall despite being on the receiving end of the 5-1 in the last heat when Glasgow made the most of having the choice of gates.

“If we can continue picking up points on the road and win the vast majority of our home meetings, we will be there or thereabouts for a play-off place.”

Panthers’ guest Mikkel B. Andersen took victory in the opening race to inspire a 4-2, but Glasgow responded with two of their own in the next two heats to edge ahead.

Panthers captain Simon Lambert took advantage of Harris’ mechanical problems to snatch victory on the final lap of heat four as the away side claimed their second 4-2 of the contest to level.

Wilson-Dean and Palm Toft both zoomed past Harris in heat seven when claiming a 5-1 which put Panthers ahead after they had conceded a 4-2 in the previous race.

Back-to-back shared heats followed before the same visiting duo were on the receiving end of a full house from Worrall and Lewis Kerr in a re-run heat 10 which eased Glasgow a couple of points clear.

Nicholls took the flag in a 4-2 in the next race to enable Panthers to level before they fell behind again when he split Glasgow’s top pair, Harris and Worrall, in heat 13.

Palm Toft surged to success in a 4-2 in the penultimate contest as Panthers were assured of at least a league point – and the hosts’ 5-1 in the finale ensured that’s all they got.

Panthers dropped to fourth in the standings last night with Glasgow jumping above them into second place.

The top four teams in the SGB Championship – also including leaders Lakeside and third-placed Berwick – all sit on 13 points.

Panthers now entertain Glasgow in a Sunday (June 10, 5pm) return clash at the East of England Arena when latest recruit Ellis Perks makes his debut.

He has been drafted in as short-term cover for the sidelined Emil Grondal, whose initial replacement Edward Kennett was then ruled out by injury himself.

SCORES

Glasgow: Chris Harris 10+1, Richie Worrall 10, Claus Vissing 10, Lewis Kerr 8+1, Paul Starke 5+2, Jack Thomas 3, James Sarjeant 1.

Panthers: Scott Nicholls 13, Bradley Wilson Dean 10, Simon Lambert 9+1, Mikkel B Andersen (guest) 6+1, Michael Palm Toft 5+1, Tom Bacon 0, Rider replacement for Ulrich Ostergaard.