Peterborough 46, King’s Lynn 44
Lynn launched an incredible late fight back tonight to move within touching distance of the Elite League play-offs.
Rob Lyon's men effectively ended Peterborough's own hopes of a top four qualifying spot with a brave display at the East of England Showground. Lynn can now clinch a play-off berth with a maximum victory over Birmingham next week in their regular season home finale after moving back into second place with a losing league point at their deadly rivals.
The Stars were 18 points adrift after heat nine before Mads Korneliussen and skipper Olly Allen triggered a sustained onslaught from the visitors. Korneliussen's flag in the penultimate tour dragged Lynn back within six points – leaving Peterborough asset Kenneth Bjerre and former Panther Niels-Kristian Iversen to foil Nicki Pedersen in the finale.
An angry Panthers' team boss Trevor Swales refused to concede his side's play-off dream is over - but issued a warning to his under-performing riders after Lynn's late salvo.
'I've always said that no riders job is safe, it doesn't matter if you are number one or number eight and it's no different now,' he said. 'We now have a very, very outside chance of the play-offs but it looks very unlikely. We are five points behind with only seven points on offer and the play-offs now look out of reach and we are less than happy. We've not just thrown away one point tonight but I
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think we threw away three last night too and we certainly aren't going to qualify for the play-offs if we keep doing that.
'You only need to look at the scorecard to see where the problems were but we are not going to go into that now. We will sleep on it overnight and look at it clearer in the morning. It was certainly not one of our best performances, in fact we are pretty gutted.'
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Bjerre senior led from the front with solid contributions all the way down the Stars' septet – David Howe justifying his selection at number two with a paid seven return.
Howe flew from the traps in the opener with Bjerre in his slipstream but Pedersen bullied his way to the front – Lynn digging in for the minor spoils aided by Kacper Gomolski's retirement. Richard Lawson and Gomolski then capitalised after Sam Masters was excluded in the reserves before Allen was forced onto the defensive to subdue Krzysztof Buczkowski after the highly-rated Linus Sundstrom prevailed into turn one.
Lyon deployed Masters on a tactical switch for Filip Sitera with limited success as the Aussie watched team mate Iversen seal the first away win of the night with the busy Gomolski and Troy Batchelor squaring off the race.
Sundstrom showed impressive speed to repel the all action Bjerre to keep Peterborough eight points up after five heats – Buczkowski edging his duel in behind with the experienced Howe.
Iversen briefly headed compatriot Pedersen but the home favourite delighted the Panthers' fans in another large derby crowd with a smooth top bend pass with Lawson too cute for Sitera.
Allen emerged on a tactical foray in an attempt to check the home surge but Lawson trapped sharply with Batchelor diving inside Allen prior to overhauling his team mate for a home maximum.
Buczkowski scorched to consecutive mid-meeting flags to underline the hosts' superiority at this stage – leading home Sundstrom in heat nine with Iversen eventually excluded after temporarily leaving the track.
Pedersen's heat ten retirement allowed Lynn duo Korneliussen and Allen to earn some welcome respite but the Stars still trailed by a distant 14 points approaching the closing stages. Bjerre served further notice Lyon's men continued to believe with the consistent Howe wearing down Batchelor for another visiting maximum.
Buczkowski slammed into the air fence in the next to gift Masters an unlikely point with Allen playing a captain's knock at the head of affairs. Pedersen responded in a heavyweight heat 13 after an initial unsatisfactory start but Batchelor's woes continued when he trundled to a halt on the first bend allowing Bjerre and Iversen an unopposed run.
Masters profited yet again when Lawson hit the shale with Korneliussen claiming a fourth consecutive away flag before Bjerre and Iversen returned one last time to haunt their former employers in the finale.
• Panthers: Pedersen 10, Jensen r/r, Buczkowski 8, Sundstrom 10+1, Batchelor 5+1, Lawson 7+1, Gomolski 6+1.
• Stars: K Bjerre 11+1, Howe 6+1, Allen 8+1, Korneliussen 6, Iversen 8+2, Masters 3+1, Sitera 2.