Keighley Cougars 18-25 York City Knights Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
KEIGHLEY Cougars’ Super Eight aspirations took a knock as they fell to a 25-18 defeat to York City Knights in a bad-tempered affair at Cougar Park.
“It was an abject performance in that first half,” bemoaned Craig Lingard following the game.
“York did everything in that first half that we’d identified and worked on throughout the week, certain people’s composure had gone and we got embroiled into a game that we didn’t need to.
“We were crying out for half time and ideally it would have come before Josh Tonks was sent off but we needed to get back into the dressing room, re-group and have a word with the lads.
“Even at 22-0 down at half time we were pretty confident that we could go out into that second half and turn the game around and there was certainly not talk about damaged limitations in there.
“Our defence in the second half was spot on with 12 men so it’s up to us to now show what we can do with 13 men out there.”
Lingard’s side got off to the worst possible start – after an error from the Knights’ kick, the visitors had three consecutive sets on the Keighley line before Ed Smith dived in underneath the posts.
There was a lengthy stoppage in proceedings after 11 minutes after York centre James Haynes sustained a serious-looking leg injury in a tackle and was stretchered from the field.
Cougars captain James Feather may consider himself lucky to not receive a more severe punishment though on the quarter of the hour mark after only a penalty was awarded for an apparent use of the head on Adam Robinson.
The Knights extended their lead from the resulting penalty when Joe Batchelor dummied round a would-be tackler to race over near to the corner.
James Ford’s side were really turning the screw, and their third try came through a brilliant Harry Tyson-Wilson chip which was palmed by Ed Smith into the hands of the onrushing Chris Siddons who crashed over from close range.
Connor Robinson converted two penalty attempts either side of a Cougars dismissal after Josh Tonks saw red for a late swinging arm on the kicker minutes before the half-time hooter sounded.
The second half began with Kieran Moran being sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous challenge on Harry Aaronson and this sprung the Cougars into life.
Two tries in two minutes followed the yellow as Brad Nicholson powered over from close range before a handling error set Davey Dixon free, and the winger continued his fine recent form by racing to the line.
Connor Robinson took the sting out of the Keighley uprising with another two points, but the Knights were lucky not to find themselves back to 12 men midway through the half after Moran went unpunished for the use of an elbow on Nathan Conroy.
Dixon sealed his brace to increase the odds slightly towards a Keighley comeback as he raced into the corner from a Beharrell pass, but Tyson-Wilson poured water onto the fire with a late drop goal.
The Cougars did get a late try however when Adam Ryder got an offload away from the tackle to put Andy Gabriel over in the corner – but that proved too little, too late for the Cougars.