KO Cup joy for Panthers as they beat Scunny by the narrowest of margins in a thriller in Lincolnshire
SCUNTHORPE 46, PANTHERS 44 (Panthers win 90-89 on aggregate)
Peterborough battled to Premier League KO Cup success as an engrossing first round clash against Scunthorpe went down to the wire.
The outcome of the tie hinged on the result of the final race of a nail-biting second leg at the Eddie Wright Raceway today (Spring Bank Holiday Monday, May 26).
The ‘TC Harrison’ Panthers arrived in North Lincolnshire in possession of a slender three-point advantage following last Tuesday’s first leg and they overcame the absence of injured number one Ryan Fisher to finish the job and set-up a quarter-final showdown against Plymouth.
Danish duo Ulrich Ostergaard and Lasse Bjerre were the star performers, piling up double-figures scores and packing the minor places in the finale to ensure progress was made.
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Co-boss Blayne Scroggins said: “I asked the guys to dig deep and they certainly did.
“Not many people will have given us a chance of going through after arriving with such a narrow lead and without our number one, but the boys gave it everything to pick up a really satisfying result.
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“Making progress in the cups is important to us and we’re relishing the task of taking on Plymouth in the next round.”
The four programmed rides of Fisher, who has aggravated a back problem, actually produced 11 points as Bjerre, Ostergaard and Ales Dryml all took victory before Lewis Blackbird, who had earlier hit the deck in heat five, had to settle for second spot in heat 13.
Panthers’ passage was not without hitches though as skipper Ostergaard impeded partner Dryml when they were on a 5-1 in heat seven. The Czech race retired in that contest and also suffered a fall in his next outing in heat 10 as Panthers slipped a point behind on aggregate.
But Dryml was soon seen to much better effect as he followed home Blackbird for a key 5-1 in heat 11 before taking the flag for a share of the spoils in heat 12 to restore a three-point cushion overall.
The aggregate margin was reduced to a single point when Blackbird had to surrender the lead to Ryan Douglas in heat 13 after partner Bjerre had retired and it wasn’t looking promising when reserve Oliver Greenwood was then excluded for tumbling out of the penultimate contest after inadvertently being pushed wide by Ostergaard.
But the Panthers captain brilliantly triumphed in the re-run to ensure that a stalemate in the finale would be enough to send Panthers through.
And that is exactly what Bjerre and Ostergaard provided as they followed in their countryman Nicolai Klindt, who again impressed for Scunthorpe, and kept the hard-charging Douglas at the rear.
A shortage of points from reserve was again a cause for concern for the Panthers management, but the exploits of their top four ensured progress was made.
Panthers’ last-eight tie against Plymouth will take place early next month. They will have home advantage in the first leg at the East of England Showground on Tuesday, June 3 ahead of a return clash in the South-West three days later on Friday, June 6.
Panthers return to action tomorrow (Tuesday) when entertaining Glasgow in a Premier League fixture at the East of England Showground.
Fisher has again been ruled out by injury and club bosses are tonight mulling over their options for a guest.
SCUNTHORPE 46: Nicolai Klindt 12, Thomas Jorgensen 8+2, Ashley Birks 7+2, Ryan Douglas 7+1, David Howe 6, Josh Auty 5, Matt Williamson 1+1.
PETERBOROUGH 44: Ulrich Ostergaard 14+1, Lasse Bjerre 13, Lewis Blackbird 8, Ales Dryml 6+2, Joe Jacobs 2, Oliver Greenwood 1+1, Ryan Fisher R/R.
Peterborough win 90-89 on aggregate.