PROMOTER Danny Ford admitted captain Danny King produced his "worst performance of the season" during Pirates' Championship play-off semi-final first leg on Wednesday evening.

Having been scintillating around Wimborne Road for much of the season, King endured a rare off night against Leicester Lions, totalling just five points from his four rides.

Pirates went on to win 48-42, leaving the meeting wide open ahead of tomorrow's second leg.

"That was Danny King’s worst performance of the season so far," Ford told the Daily Echo.

"You expect a lot more from him and I know he was gutted in himself at such a vital point to put in that performance.

"It couldn’t have come at a worse time really.

"But he’ll bounce back. I know that going to Leicester he’s got a point to prove. He’ll want to make up for Wednesday night.

"So it’s not all’s lost. It’s not the ideal situation we wanted to find ourselves in, but we’ll work with it and we’ll give it our best shot."

Asked what did not quite go to plan for Pirates in the first leg, Ford added: "The main thing I think was our gating. Our gating gloves just were not on.

"I think it was as plain and simple as that. Speedway is 90 per cent gating and if you’re not making the gates, you’re not winning the races. We showed that on Wednesday night."