REDCAR 42 PANTHERS 48

Thursday June 21, 2018
PETERBOROUGH marched to their fifth win in six Championship fixtures with a 48-42 triumph at Redcar on Thursday.

It was also the T.Balfe Construction Panthers’ fifth triumph in their last six visits to the Media Prima Arena, and the result further enhances their league position at the halfway stage of the campaign.

With points gained from all five of their away matches so far, Panthers are seven points clear of the chasing pack – and twelve ahead of the clubs outside the top four.

Dynamic Dane Michael Palm Toft continued his own blistering run of form with a 17-point haul from six rides, dropping his only point to Dimitri Berge in Heat 15.

And there were also scores of nine (paid eleven) for recent signing Bradley Wilson-Dean and fast-improving Tom Bacon, who took more impressive scalps to follow on from his performance at Scunthorpe last week.

It all meant the Panthers amply covered for Ulrich Ostergaard with rider-replacement netting eight points, and the only tinge of regret was a 4-2 concession in the last race which prevented them from taking all four points from the meeting.

Palm Toft and Wilson-Dean set the ball rolling with a 5-1 in Heat 3 as they got the better of Jonas B Andersen in the early stages.

The Bears hit back with consecutive 4-2s in Heats 5 and 6 to level the scores, but Panthers quickly went back ahead through the same combination in Heat 7 – although they were split on this occasion as Josh Auty passed Wilson-Dean at the end of the first lap.

Both visitors made overtaking moves for a 4-2 in Heat 8 with Bacon going past Mikkel B Andersen for the win whilst Ellis Perks salvaged third from Jordan Stewart, and Redcar’s bid to respond in Heat 9 faltered when Jonas B Andersen contrived to bring down his team-mate Berge on the second lap.

The Palm Toft/Wilson-Dean combination was at it again in Heat 10 with a big 5-1 over Aaron Summers and Mikkel B Andersen, and Panthers were ten up shortly after as Bacon superbly defeated Auty, who was initially held up by Scott Nicholls – and tactical substitute Berge trailed in at the back.

Despite that setback, the Bears still threatened a grandstand finale with a 4-2 in Heat 12 which looked set to be a maximum before Wilson-Dean overcame Nathan Greaves on the last lap.

Redcar did, though, fashion a 5-1 in Heat 13 with Auty charging from fourth to second past Nicholls and Perks, and that gave Panthers a match to win once again with their lead down to four points.

Cue Palm Toft and Bacon in Heat 14 with a match-clinching maximum over Jonas B Andersen and Greaves to put the visitors 46-38 to the good.

Palm Toft had reeled off five straight wins but he was denied the full house in Heat 15 by Berge, whilst a third place for Summers over Wilson-Dean ensured it would be three league points for Panthers rather than four – but still a hugely positive overall result.

Boss Carl Johnson said: “The track was slick so you had to have your gating gloves on, but there was some fantastic racing and some really good passing.

“Michael was sensational, dropping just one point in Heat 15, and Tom stepped up once again, and what a difference a couple of meetings makes.

“He’s riding out of his skin at the minute, and again he’s taken some big names. The good thing is that on the away tracks that Simon (Lambert) struggles at, Tom is kicking on, and sometimes it could be vice-versa at home. Tom has shown great character and I’m really pleased with his attitude.

“Rider-replacement got us eight points so it was only really Heat 13 that was a problem, and possibly if Ulrich had been there he might have picked up a second or third place. But overall it was better than I thought it would be, I thought we might get five or six from that position.

“I suppose when you’re that close to it you’re disappointed that it wasn’t four league points – we probably should have had four, but we take three, we learn from it and we’re very happy overall.

“It’s good to have that buffer in the league. I keep saying we’re going to be run close at home, so the points we gain on the road are going to help us if we do slip up at home.

“Hopefully that won’t happen but you never know, and the points on the board are much better than meetings in hand. People will see that gap opening up and know it’s going to be hard to pull back.”

Panthers return to action at the East of England Arena next Friday (June 29) with what is shaping up as a must-see top-of-the-table battle with Lakeside.

CHAMPIONSHIP
REDCAR 42: Dimitri Berge 12, Aaron Summers 10, Josh Auty 7+2, Mikkel B Andersen 4+1, Nathan Greaves 4, Jonas B Andersen 3, Jordan Stewart 2
PETERBOROUGH 48: Michael Palm Toft 17, Tom Bacon 9+2, Bradley Wilson-Dean 9+2, Scott Nicholls 8, Simon Lambert 3+1, Ellis Perks 2, Ulrich Ostergaard r/r
Championship points: Redcar 0 Peterborough 3

Picture: COLIN POOLE

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