SCUNTHORPE 40 PANTHERS 50

Friday June 15, 2018
PETERBOROUGH stormed back to the top of the Championship with a stunning 50-40 win at Scunthorpe on Friday.

The T.Balfe Construction Panthers shattered the Scorpions’ unbeaten home record with a remarkable performance which saw them dominate the second half of the meeting.

Former Scunthorpe rider Michael Palm Toft enjoyed a dream return to the Eddie Wright Raceway, dropping his only point to Josh Auty in Heat 3.

And it was also a milestone night for reserve Tom Bacon, who racked up a hugely impressive 12+2 from five rides in his best display in Panthers colours.

With strong displays from several of the supporting cast, the Panthers had enough to not only win the meeting but also take all four league points to leave themselves in a strong position as their Championship campaign approaches its midway stage.

The early races were nip-and-tuck with Bacon signalling his intentions with a dominant Heat 2 victory whilst skipper Simon Lambert got the better of home guest Jordan Stewart for a 4-2.

Panthers, though, did find themselves four points down after a series of Scunthorpe 4-2s with Auty winning Heats 3 and 5, the latter seeing Scott Nicholls quickly pass Jake Allen to prevent any chance of a Scorpions 5-1.

The comeback began with a 4-2 in Heat 6 as Panthers enjoyed a stroke of fortune with Rory Schlein grinding to a halt on the first lap, before a thrilling tussle between Ulrich Ostergaard and Jason Garrity was resolved in the Dane’s favour off the final bend.

And from two points down, Panthers hit the front for the first time with a 5-1 in Heat 7 courtesy of Palm Toft and Bradley Wilson-Dean who did enough to fend off Garrity’s challenge.

Bacon took charge again in Heat 8 with Allen passing Ellis Perks for second on lap two, and Panthers’ 26-22 lead was then cancelled out by a 5-1 from Auty and Allen in Heat 9.

But the visitors quickly regained focus and edged back ahead with a 4-2 in Heat 10, Palm Toft leading from the front whilst Wilson-Dean moved forcefully inside Stewart for third place.

And a massive 5-1 followed in Heat 11 when, sensationally, both Bacon and Nicholls overhauled Garrity on successive laps to put Panthers six-up and force the Scorpions to deploy Schlein for a tactical substitute ride in the next race.

But that move wasn’t entirely successful as Schlein was disqualified for a start-line offence putting him back off the handicap – and although he overhauled Lambert, Wilson-Dean prevented maximum damage by holding second place.

Nicholls and Ostergaard hit the front in Heat 13 only for Schlein to move past Ostergaard midway through the race, but it was still enough to rebuild the Panthers’ lead to six points.

And victory on the night was ensured by another brilliant 5-1 in Heat 14, this time from Palm Toft and Bacon who resisted all efforts from Allen to find a way through.

The final race was all about not conceding a 5-1 to ensure maximum points, but Palm Toft did far more than that by taking his fourth win of the night, spoiling Auty’s maximum in the process.

Manager Carl Johnson said: “It was a fantastic night for us. The boys rode their hearts out, as I expected them to do, and the result was nothing more than we deserved with us getting four points.

“Michael and Tom were both superb, and for Tom to drop only one point and take some big scalps was absolutely brilliant. I’ve chopped and changed him in recent meetings and he’s been disappointed to lose some rides, but tonight he showed what he can do, and that he really wants it.

“Ellis and Simon struggled a bit, but they were backed up by everyone else, so that was brilliant.

“The gate positions certainly favoured Scunthorpe early-doors and if we’d won the toss we would have taken two and four, because four is immense here early on.

“The track was ever-so slick, a lot slicker than their riders probably would have wanted, but they were told that was what they were going to get as we were coming, which I found bizarre as we’re performing really well on the slick at the moment.

“Our aim was always to work for a point firstly, as if we can do that at every meeting we’ll put ourselves in the top four. It’s not always going to be possible but you have to take the opportunities when they come, and we really got into the set-ups in the second half of the meeting.

“We’d love to take points at every away meeting, we know it won’t happen all the time, but we’ll take the big ones when they come and this was a great performance.”

SCUNTHORPE 40: Josh Auty 14, Jake Allen 8+2, Rory Schlein 8, Jason Garrity 7, Danny Phillips 3, Jordan Stewart 0, Stefan Nielsen r/r.
PETERBOROUGH 50: Michael Palm Toft 14, Tom Bacon 12+2, Scott Nicholls 9+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 7, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+1, Simon Lambert 2, Ellis Perks 1.


CHAMPIONSHIP
SCUNTHORPE 40: Josh Auty 14, Jake Allen 8+2, Rory Schlein 8, Jason Garrity 7, Danny Phillips 3, Jordan Stewart 0, Stefan Nielsen r/r
PETERBOROUGH 50: Michael Palm Toft 14, Tom Bacon 12+2, Scott Nicholls 9+1, Ulrich Ostergaard 7, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+1, Simon Lambert 2, Ellis Perks 1
Championship points: Scunthorpe 0 Peterborough 4

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