IT’S not often the failure of a landline telephone can be blamed for dropping valuable SGB Premiership points.

But Swindon Robins team manager Alun Rossiter had that very excuse as Peterborough Panthers recorded a 50-40 win at the East of England Showground tonight.

Rossiter was in the position to use a tactical substitute in the meeting’s penultimate heat after a Panthers 5-1 in heat 13 placed the visitors six points behind.

But a broken pits telephone and poor radio signal meant Rossiter’s wish to replace Paul Stake by using his tactical substitute in heat 14 wasn’t granted – and the hosts soon afterwards claimed a comfortable 4-2 following Charles Wright’s pass on Adam Ellis.

Excuses can be made, but Peterborough simply adapted to the later conditions better.

The Robins surrendered a healthy eight-point lead – which they held after heat six – in the second half of the meeting, and lost the concluding seven heats 29-13.

Combined, it made for sorry reading – and the Robins as a result remain outside of the Premiership play-off frame having secured 11 points from their opening eight meetings.

A track water during the interval clearly had its advantage for the home team, who excelled in the later stages of the meeting – which produced a series of edge-of-your-seat races.

Admitting he must take some of the blame for tonight's defeat, Robins boss Alun Rossiter said his riders failed to adapt to the later conditions.

He added: “One minute the radio is working, the next minute it isn’t.

“I’m not making excuses, we made too many mistakes at the end.

“We raced on the wrong lines at the wrong times. I’ve got to take a lot of the blame for heat 14, where we could’ve potentially got a point.

“After they sprayed the track with water, the inside went greasy – the only line you could ride was the outside.

“I’ve got to take some criticism, but the boys made a lot of mistakes out there.

“Adam (Ellis) was riding the fence, when he clearly should’ve been riding on the inside in heat 14.”

The meeting saw David Bellego make his seasonal Robins debut after being snapped up by Rossiter earlier this week following news of Tobiasz Musielak’s injury in Poland.

Bellego recorded paid wins in two of his four rides, scoring 6+2. Rossiter was pleased with the Frenchman’s first performance, but it didn’t hide his disappointment in losing the meeting.

“It was a good start for David (Bellego). But I’m a bit frustrated,” said Rossiter.

“We made too many mistakes. It’s a case of points dropped, we should’ve got something out of it.”