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League One Cup Defence Falters In Barrow

Barrow Raiders 28-6 Keighley Cougars Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)

KEIGHLEY Cougars’ defence of the League One Cup came to a halt in the quarter-finals as they fell to defeat at familiar foes Barrow Raiders this afternoon.

Head Coach Craig Lingard couldn’t hide his disappointment: “It’s an opportunity missed and I’m massively disappointed,” said Lingard.

“The first forty minutes was the dumbest Rugby League we’ve played all year and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

“We went 10-0 down early on and thought we had to start chasing the game and you can’t go wide against a defence which coming up and meeting you as quickly as Barrow’s did.

“We had to go through their defence and we didn’t we were trying to go wide even off slow rucks.

“We weren’t smart enough and we were the masters of our own downfalls today.”

In their second visit to the Cumbrians in a fortnight, the tone was set as Lingard’s men fell ten points behind after the game’s opening five minutes.

After Davey Dixon was penalised for offside, Barrow worked their way up field from a kick and Ryan Fieldhouse got the offload to Luke Cresswell on the wing for him to dive over from close range.

Another penalty cost the Cougars dearly in the fifth minute after Vinny Finigan was penalised for moving off the mark at the play-the-ball. Lewis Charnock put a grubber in underneath the posts for Jamie Dallimore to dive on to.

The Cougars defence held strong for the best part of half an hour before they were penalised once more for a dump tackle on Shane Toal, with Charnock opting to take the two points on offer from 20 metres out.

There was a lengthy delay in the closing stages of the half though as Will Milner was caught late following a kick on the last and had to be helped off the field by the match doctor after being diagnosed with a serious concussion.

The first half ended how it started with a Barrow try, as Josh Tonks attempted to intercept a Dallimore kick and, from the resulting free play, Fieldhouse raced through to touch down.

Keighley began the second half positively as they pressured the Barrow line but the home side extended their lead as Declan Hulme took an offload out of the tackle and weaved his way through to score from 30 metres.

Toal was then sin-binned for a professional foul and it seemed to spark Keighley into life as, from the resulting penalty, Adam Brook managed to find a way over after breaking a tackle.

They were the first points Barrow have conceded at home in 291 minutes of rugby league.

Following Brook’s try, the game descended into a scrappy affair with both sides missing numerous chances to score.

Andy Litherland had an effort ruled out before Cresswell knocked Finigan into touch with a superb last-ditch tackle at the other end.

The result was put beyond doubt with four minutes left on the clock when, after Joe Bullock was held up over the line, Litherland fended off Brook to crash over.

Charnock completed the scoring, adding a penalty kick on the hooter after the Cougars were penalised for a high tackle.

It means Raiders have knocked Cougars out of both cups this season, having also beaten them in the Challenge Cup.

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