King’s Lynn 55, Peterborough 41
Lynn claimed the local bragging rights with a pulsating Elite League derby display tonight at the Norfolk Arena.
Rob Lyon's men moved into second spot in their battle for a play-off place with a dominant outing in front of a partisan home crowd. Lyon was delighted with the collective strength of purpose from his septet.
'We'd have taken that before the meeting, that's for sure,' he said. 'All seven rode really hard and contributed to the win. I sort of thought at the back of my mind if their Poles didn't show we had half a decent chance of getting a good result. That proved to be the case. They didn't cause too many problems to us. Kozza (Smith) could've been a danger the way he went round here for Belle Vue but that didn't turn out to be a major issue.
'To be fair to our boys, they all gave 100% and you can't ask any more than that. There was some bad luck on either side and we probably had a little less. It was swings and roundabouts. You never felt totally comfortable, but we pulled away nicely at the end.'
Panthers' asset Kenneth Bjerre trapped smartly ahead of Danish World Team Cup ally Nicki Pedersen in the opener to rattle off a season's best 58.22 second tour of the Norfolk Arena. Brother Lasse headed Panthers' guest Smith in the early exchanges, but looked understandably tentative after his recent layoff following a heavy spill at Leicester.
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Tomas Topinka immediately cashed in on his switch to reserve in the next with compatriot Filip Sitera calmly repelling Smith's forays up the inside for an opening home maximum. Lynn old boy Troy Batchelor out-muscled Olly Allen into turn one for Peterborough's first flag, but Allen and Mads Korneliussen comfortably dived into the Aussie's slipstream.
Topinka's race was run in heat four within five yards of the start line when his sickly bike seized up at the tapes - Niels-Kristian Iversen cruising to the win to keep Lynn four points clear. Norbert Koscuich mugged Allen exiting the final turn behind Pedersen for a Peterborough heat advantage in the next.
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Lynn's Bjerre family double act produced in style with elder sibling Kenneth a paternal presence at Lasse's side after the youngster led into turn one. Sitera's attempted cut back around the top bend drew a blank, but the ever reliable Iversen subdued Batchelor. Peterborough's World Cup star re-emerged on a swift rider replacement only to bail on the penultimate lap with bike problems – the Aussie's early exit triggering a predictable response from the home terraces as Lasse Bjerre and Topinka swept past to strike a decisive derby blow.
Captain Allen typified Lynn's mid-meeting superiority with his first flag of the night on the cusp of the interval to move the Stars' 12 clear. Kenneth Bjerre trapped serenely on the resumption but Lasse did his level best to cover ever inch of Saddlebow with a cheeky dip inside Batchelor before a thrilling last bend assault robbed Koscuich of a point.
Pedersen donned the black and white tactical helmet for the Panthers in the next but needed all his trackcraft to fly around Iversen, but Sitera gamely pinched a share of the spoils.
Topinka's final bend dash to head ex-team mate Smith raised the decibel levels behind Allen with Lynn now firmly in control. Kenneth Bjerre and compatriot Iversen threw up a home roadblock to frustrate Pedersen whose back wheel slammed the fence, but the Dane clung on to watch his World Cup colleagues celebrate victory.
Batchelor launched a forlorn tactical raid in the penultimate heat but Korneliussen and Sitera settled for the minor spoils before the irrepressible Iversen capped a superb meeting in the finale.
• Stars: K Bjerre 11+1, L Bjerre 7, Allen 8, Korneliussen 6+1, Iversen 13+1, Sitera 4+3, Topinka 6+1.
• Panthers: Pedersen 13+1, Koscuich 4+1, Batchelor 15, Buczkowski 2+1, Smith 4+1, Lawson 3.