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Josh Lynam crossed for Keighley Cougars two minutes from time to inflict an agonising 24-22 defeat on North Wales Crusaders.

 Anthony Murray’s men had controlled the pace of the game for large spells and led 16-10 at half-time.

However, Keighley had a lot more ball in the second-half and, although Crusaders regained the lead in the 65thminute, the hosts took advantage of Steve Roper’s sin-bin late on to clinch victory.

Crusaders dominated the early exchanges and, when they were awarded a penalty next to the sticks, they opted to kick for goal, with Ben Stead giving them a 2-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for North Wales to build on their advantage as Danny Price drilled a lovely grubber kick into the corner and Gavin Conroy somehow managed to touch down without stepping past the dead ball line.

The hosts were quick to respond, however, as Harvey Hallas managed to force his way over next to the sticks.

But Crusaders soon restored their eight-point advantage as former Cougar Stead drilled in a grubber and recollected to dive over next to the sticks.

At this stage, the game was becoming a little topsy-turvy and Keighley crossed for their second through Lynam, who exploited space down the right flank.

North Wales continued to pile on the pressure in the final ten minutes of the half, but the Cougars stood up well in defence.

The visitors were then awarded a penalty on the half-time hooter and Stead kicked the goal to give Crusaders a 16-10 lead at the break.

Following large spells of pressure early in the second-half, Keighley drew level when Benn Hardcastle put Dan Parker through a gap down the left flank.

Hardcastle missed a penalty at goal, but he didn’t fail with the next kick as Keighley led for the first time in the match.

However, North Wales went back ahead with 15 minutes left when Karl Ashall broke the line and found Callum Hazzard in support.

But there was one last twist as, after Roper was harshly sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, Lynam grabbed his second two minutes from time, securing the two points for the home side.

21 Matt Welham
5 Davey Dixon
4 Will Cooke
23 Macauley Hallett
1 Alfie Seeley
15 Jack Miller
7 Benn Hardcastle
19 Matthew Bailey
9 James Feather
30 Harvey Hallas
11 Josh Lynam
12 Aaron Levy
29 Jimmy Beckett
8 Jack Coventry
17 Billy Gaylor
22 Dan Parker
27 Lewis Wray

Tries: Hallas (16), Lynam (29, 78), Parker (48)
Goals: Hardcastle (4/6)

1 Danny Price
2 Gavin Conroy
3 Simon Athertomn
4 Earl Hurst
5 Rob Massam
6 Steve Roper
7 Ben Stead
Callum Hazzard
Karl Ashall
10 Warren Thompson
11 Jack Houghton
12 Stephen Wild
13 Kenny Baker
15 Alex Thompson
16 Brad Brennan
17 Alex Eckley
20 Chris Worrall

Tries: Conroy (12), Stead (24), Hazzard (65)
Goals: Stead (5/5)

Referee: Andy Sweet
Penalties: 9-8
Attendance: 859
MOTM: Jack Houghton – worked hard in the forwards throughout.