DANNY Ford admits Poole Pirates were "left wondering what it might have been" after Friday's dramatic 45-44 loss at Scunthorpe Scorpions.

Poole got off to a nightmare start, finding themselves 10-2 down after the opening two heats.

Scunthorpe then extended that lead to 20-10 after heat five, but the visitors began to battle back.

Led by Steve Worrall (12+1) and Drew Kemp (7+2), Poole wrestled back the momentum and even briefly led, 37-35, after that pair clinched a maximum in heat 12.

But Gary Havelock's men saw their hopes hampered when Ben Cook suffered bike issues in heat 14, meaning just two riders competed after Scorpions' Connor Coles had already fallen.

Leading by one point going into heat 15, all four riders produced thrilling entertainment, before Jake Allen eventually emerged victorious, ahead of Danny King and Worrall as the spoils were shared, with Ryan Douglas going from first to last.

Scorpions claimed the three league points for the overall victory, with Pirates settling for a solitary losing bonus point.

The defeat sees them slip down to third in the Championship table, behind Glasgow Tigers, who saw off Oxford Cheetahs on the same night.

"Speedway meetings can be won by small margins and we came so very close to pulling something out of the bag after a dreadful start," said Pirates' promoter Ford.

"We were left wondering what it might have been had poor Ben not suffered that shed chain in heat 14.

"Had he been under power, then he would have been in the re-run and things would have looked a bit different going into that final heat.

"But the team battled hard and all the riders had their moments.

"It didn’t fall our way but it was a great meeting and it will be interesting to see if that result has any influence on our final league position once all meetings are raced."

Scunthorpe sit sixth, in the final play-off spot, having lost just one of their seven home meetings this term.

“I’m over the moon with that victory," said team manager Dave Peet.

"Against many sides at home, we’re out to score 49, to stop the away team going home with a point, but we’re not battling Poole in the table, so any margin of victory would do.

"A one-point win was more than enough because we know they are such a good side.

“We got off to a great start, but I fully expected Poole to come back at us and they did. There were one or two unexpected heat results, and it was getting very tight.

“We’ll not face a tougher test around the Eddie Wright Raceway than Poole and we passed that test.”

Poole now sit 14 points behind leaders Leicester Lions, with three meetings in hand.

They return to action at Wimborne Road on Wednesday evening, welcoming fifth-placed Plymouth Gladiators (7.30pm).

Pirates 44: Danny King 6, Zach Cook 6+1, Steve Worrall 12+1, Ben Cook 4+2, Richard Lawson 7, Drew Kemp 7+2, Nathan Ablitt 2.

Scunthorpe 45: Ryan Douglas 13, Simon Lambert 3+1, Zaine Kennedy 4+1, Jake Allen 11, Tero Aarnio 8, Connor Coles 2+1, Jordan Palin 4+1.