KEIGHLEY handed Goole only their second defeat of the season in a top-of-the-table Counties One Yorkshire clash at Rose Cottage.

However, the try that the visitors scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time to make it 15-10 earned them the losing bonus point that maintained their spot at the summit, now just a point ahead of the hosts.

Both sides will be glad of the break next Saturday such was the bruising nature of this encounter, once more watched by a decent crowd.

Keighley’s defence was again excellent, and that, combined with a scrum, led by prop Sam Booker, that pushed Goole off their own ball four times, laid the platform for victory.

Dan McGee, Keighley’s head coach, said: “Our scrum has been great all season but you always wonder how it will go against a tough side.

“However, I think that we won four of their scrums and all of ours, but defence also won us that, although we defended for far too long if I am going to be critical.

“We should have done more with the ball ourselves, but man to man we stepped up and put in a very good defensive performance.”

McGee added: “It was a great Counties One Yorkshire game. Goole have put a lot of points on other teams and we knew it was going to be tough, so to hold them out and win a physical, attritional game like that was what we needed.

“We have only lost one game and are disappointed not to be top.”

Keighley’s tries both came in the first half - from right winger Sam Blakeley in the 11th minute and centre and skipper Adam Horsfall 18 minutes later.

“They were well-worked tries,” said McGee. “We created the space for our first try, which was a team try, and the second was an individual effort from ‘Giddy’, who has been fantastic for us all season.

“Their try near the end was very disappointing. We held on and held on and decisions were taken out of our hands - I will say no more than that.”

That was a reference to referee Simon Franks, who had plenty on his plate, handing out five yellow cards, but who many felt was out of his depth at times.

McGee added: “We got the win but some boys feel like it is a bit of a loss as denying them a bonus point would have put us top on points difference.

“It was a good team performance, and we knew that it had to be, led by our man of the match Ed Keighley in the second row.

“We will be glad of our week off, because Alan Ebbrell left the field with bad cramp, Sean Kelly came off with a knee injury and Max Wild has a shoulder injury that he has been carrying for a few weeks now.

“Also we hope not to have Alfie Seeley out for the whole season after his operation on a scaphoid injury, as they are difficult to heal.

“We need a week off to recover physically and mentally and will have a team bonding night out over a curry on Thursday.”

On a glorious November afternoon, Keighley soon showed their scrum prowess but twice let themselves down with backchat to concede penalties.

Ebbrell was involved in centre field in Blakeley’s try but the the hosts then had to survive concerted Goole pressure, a superb Alex Brown tackle denying them before the fly-half cleared his lines.

Ed Keighley’s capture of a bouncing ball led to him charging upfield, and three minutes later Horsfall showed strength and balance to go over from 40 metres out before being mobbed by his team-mates.

Brown’s conversion made it 12-0 but both teams had players sin-binned after a Goole winger was tackled into a pitch-side flag, with Goole centre Matty Lill and Keighley flanker Ollie Snowden being given ten-minute rests.

In first-half injury time, Brown tackled lock Eddie Newsum late but Kelly was inexplicably shown the yellow card instead.

The visitors cashed in with a try six minutes into first-half stoppage time by prop James Walton.

Leading 12-5 at half-time, Keighley then had to survive more battering-ram attempts to break through by Goole, who were unable to use their wingers as a source of tries as they so often have this season.

A vital turnover came the home team’s way after 57 minutes, and Kristian Bealey-Kay then pinched possession at the breakdown to end another spell of Goole pressure.

A knock-on gave Keighley additional relief against the incessant pressure, and Brown’s 70th-minute drop goal took the hosts more than a score ahead.

Goole were again driven off their own ball at a scrum and yellow cards went to Keighley No.8 Tom Whyte and Goole replacement Patrick Graf Grote after another dust-up four minutes into injury time.

Two minutes later came centre Jack Smith’s try that kept Goole on top.

Keighley remain the only side in their division to have conceded less than 100 points (95) and of the teams who have also played 10 matches in the division, only Halifax in Counties Four Yorkshire have a better defensive record in the Northern divisions.

Before Christmas, Keighley have four matches, three of which are away - Huddersfield Laund Hill (November 26), Wetherby (December 3) and Old Rishworthian (December 17).

Their only home clash is against Leodiensian on December 10.