TEAM boss Carl Johnson admitted ‘it’s just not happening for us’ after seeing Peterborough come up short against SGB Championship rivals Sheffield for the second time in five days.
The ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers were beaten 51-42 at Owlerton Stadium last night (Thursday) after also being pipped by the same opponents on home shale last Sunday.
Peterborough were again spearheaded by high-scoring performances from number one Chris Harris and man-of-the-moment Jack Holder in South Yorkshire.
Harris collected a 13+1 point haul boosted by a successful tactical ride while Holder continued his hot streak with a hat-trick of heat wins in a 12+1 return.
But that duo were short of scoring support on a night when Peterborough could only provide five heat wins – Bradley Wilson-Dean was the other man to take the flag – and claim two heat advantages.
The first of those arrived when Harris grabbed double-points to inspire a 7-2 in heat 11 and he also featured in the other when following home Holder for a 5-1 in the finale.
“It goes down as another night in which we could well have got a result,” said Johnson. “Everyone is working so hard to get things right, but it’s just not happening for us at the minute.
“Just as on Sunday at our place, we saw that fine margins decide meetings in such a tough and competitive league.
“Sheffield only had five heat advantages themselves, but we could only manage two and that’s not enough.
“We’re in a situation where we’re not quite winning the amount of races that we should be – and at the same time we are picking up a few too many last places.
“They’re both things we need to correct to get ourselves moving up the table, but I’m confident we can do that. I have every faith in the guys.”
Peterborough found themselves trailing to two early 5-1s from the Sheffield combination of Lasse Bjerre and Josh Bates in the space of three races.
Those results in heat three and heat five left Panthers eight points adrift and the deficit grew into double-figures courtesy of another maximum gain from Tigers pair Josh Grajczonek and Todd Kurtz in the 10th contest.
Harris’ tactical triumph pulled Peterborough back into contention, but a Bjerre-led 4-2 for Sheffield in heat 12 eased them further clear again.
The hosts’ victory was secured in a shared 13th instalment and Peterborough saw their hopes of pinching a point disappear in the penultimate heat.
Skipper Ulrich Ostergaard crashed out of the initial staging as a snapped chain brought a tough night to a painful end. Reserve Tom Bacon was then powerless to prevent a fourth Sheffield 5-1 in the re-run.
Peterborough did have the satisfaction of signing off on a high when Holder led home Harris in a thrilling last race, but it was too little, too late on a blank night.
SHEFFIELD: Josh Bates 10+2, Lasse Bjerre 10+1, Todd Kurtz 8+2, Kyle Howarth 8, Josh Grajczonek 8, Rob Branford 7+2, Andy Mellish (guest) 0.
PETERBOROUGH: Chris Harris 13+1, Jack Holder 12+1, Bradley Wilson-Dean 5+1, Paul Starke 5+1, Tom Bacon 3+2, Ulrich Ostergaard 2, Richard Hall 2.
* PETERBOROUGH make a quick return to action tonight (Friday) – when bidding to boune back to winning ways against Berwick.
They entertain the bottom-of-the-table Bandits in an SGB Championship clash at the East of England Arena (7.30pm).
Club chiefs have turned to British Final podium finisher Rory Schlein to guest at number one against the Bandits with Chris Harris on SGB Premiership duty.
“We picked up a pleasing win against Berwick less than a fortnight ago,” said team boss Carl Johnson. “And we’ll be hoping for the same again tonight.
“Rory is riding very well at the minute. He’s scoring plenty of points in both leads and was terrific when third in the British Final earlier in the week.
“He is a capable guest and we need to ensure he receives plenty of good scoring support from the other guys.
“We simply have to start winning meetings, putting points on the board, and see where it takes us.”
Berwick hand a debut to former Peterborough man Joe Jacobs, who is a temporary replacement for the injured Lewis Bridger.
They also utilise a guest at reserve with Alfie Bowtell stepping in for the sidelined Lee Payne.
PETERBOROUGH: Tom Bacon, Richard Hall, Jack Holder, Ulrich Ostergaard, Rory Schlein (guest), Paul Starke, Bradley Wilson-Dean.
BERWICK: Alfie Bowtell (guest), Kevin Doolan, Jye Etheridge, Dany Gappmaier, David Howe, Joe Jacobs, Nick Morris.