Panthers keep hopes alive
Peterborough eventually trump league leaders after ding-dong battle
Last Updated: 19/08/09 4:41pm
Peterborough's Kenneth Bjerre (www.fotospeedway.pl)
Peterborough Panthers have kept their hopes of reaching the Elite League play-offs alive after scoring a 47-43 victory against Swindon Robins on Monday.
Starting the evening one place outside the all-important top four, the Panthers were looking to win by more than seven points at the East of England Showground in order to get the maximum three points on offer.
In the event, they took two while table-toppers Swindon claimed a point on an evening which also saw nearest rivals Wolverhampton close the gap thanks to a 37-57 victory at Belle Vue.
The match itself swung in favour of both sides, with the Robins appearing poised for victory after nine of the evening's 15 heats.
However, three successive heat wins - including two 5-1s - subsequently saw the Panthers claw their way back in front.
The tone was set in the opening two heats as, first of all, Leigh Adams (13+1) led home Travis McGowan in a Swindon 5-1 before Ales Dryml and Henning Bager immediately levelled.
Another maximum for guest rider Troy Batchelor and Bager allowed the Panthers a four-point advantage by heat four.
However, Swindon fought back thanks to the efforts of Simon Stead and Jurica Pavlic in heat seven before McGowan and Mark Lemon opened a four-point lead next time out.
The advantage remained static as Matej Zagar led home Panthers Kenneth Hansen and Kenneth Bjerre (11+1) in heat nine.
But the home side were ahead three heats later after Hansen backed up both Niels-Kristian Iversen and Bager for two 5-1s.
There could have been another as Batchelor won heat 11 for the home side - but Adams squeezed past Dryml on the line.
It was of little surprise that Peterborough's lead was reduced to just two points in heat 13 - Zagar this time leading home Adams.
Bjerre then won for Peterborough ahead of Stead and Dryml, the 3-3 result meaning the Panthers needed a 5-1 in the final heat to secure three points.
The Robins needed the same result in their favour to tie. In the event, however, Adams led Bjerre, Iversen and Zagar for another 3-3.