Elite League: Peterborough Panthers 50, King’s Lynn Stars 43
Lynn blew a huge opportunity to strengthen their Elite League play-off push tonight as they came home from Peterborough with no points - even though the Panthers ended up with just five riders.
The Stars' play-off chasing rivals clinched a brave victory on a night - and their third derby victory over Lynn this term - thanks to a performance full of heart and determination.
Many predicted the meeting would be a fiery one and it certainly started with a bang. But it certainly wasn't the explosive opening that the Panthers would have wanted with former Stars ace Kenneth Bjerre and Norbert Kosciuch hitting the deck on turn two of the opening heat.
Kosciuch was excluded for causing the stoppage but in an even bigger blow for Peterborough their number one Bjerre left the track in an ambulance with a suspected broken leg. It left the depleted hosts down to just five riders after Tomas H Jonasson had withdrawn from the meeting before it had even started with a back injury.
And it got even worse as, not surprisingly, former Panthers pair Niels-Kristian Iversen and Ulrich Ostergaard led Lynn to a maximum 5-1 race win. However, Richard Lawson and Kosciuch hit back with a maximum of their own in the second to make it six all.
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The Stars would have been looking to kick-on, fired by their in-form reserve pair of Kevin Wolbert and Mateusz Szczepaniak, to make their two-man advantage count. However, it started to look like their numerical advantage wasn't going to pay off with the Stars' number six and seven looking a shadow of the men they were on Wednesday.
While Wolbert had enjoyed a 12 paid 13 against Belle Vue, he ran a couple of horrible lasts as the hosts Kosciuch and Lawson helped power their side to an eight-point lead after six.
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Iversen did offer some respite in heat five when he produce the ride of the meeting so far to come from third to first in the space of two laps with some slick passing on his old Alwalton shale.
Yet the out-of-sorts Stars struggled to keep the five-men hosts at bay as the Panthers, inspired by Kosciuch - who bagged a fine paid 17 - opened up a 12-point lead.
Ostergaard became the fourth rider of the night to hit the deck in heat eight and soon retired with a finger injury as the tension increased a notch. And when Rob Lyon called the track a 'disgrace' over the public address system the derby continued to hot up.
Captain Mads Korneliussen produced a true skipper's display in heat nine on a tactical by storming from third to first all the way around the outside to reduce the deficit to nine.
A stirring Lynn fightback after the interval continued with an improved Wolbert and Iversen securing a 5-1 as the Panthers - struggling to keep their riders' rides down - opted to go it with one team member.
But the dogged hosts clung on in the final heats to hold onto all three points and send the Stars home empty handed.
Peterborough: Kenneth Bjerre 0, Michael Jepsen Jensen 2+2, Linus Sundstrom 12, Krzystof Buczkowski 13+2, Richard Lawson 8+2, Norbert Kosciuch 15+2, Kenneth Bjerre 0
King's Lynn: Niels-Kristian Iversen 10+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 2+1, Maciej Janowski 5+2, Mads Korneliussen 13, Daniel Nermark 3+1, Kevin Wolbert 8+1, Mateusz Szczepaniak 2