KEIGHLEY RUFC were left unsettled by the loss of a couple of key players before their game at West Leeds on Saturday, with their subsequent 32-20 defeat seeing them knocked off top spot in Counties One Yorkshire.

Both fly-half Alex Brown and winger Ben Parkinson were late withdrawals from this West Yorkshire derby, but even so the visitors were firm favourites.

They had only lost once all season going into this weekend, 22-16 at Leodiensian in mid-September, while West Leeds had only won three of their 13 league games so far.

But the formbook was turned on its head, as West Leeds played superbly and thoroughly deserved their victory, coming up against a Keighley side who performed well below their potential.

The visitors started hesitantly, and a charged down clearance kick put them on the back foot, leading to an early penalty that was converted by West Leeds full-back Keir Breakwell.

The pressure continued, with wave after wave of attack coming at Keighley.

They were forced to retreat, and with the defence stretched, scrum half Ben McEwan slipped in at the corner, Breakwell adding the conversion to increase the home side's advantage.

Keighley eventually managed to gain ground through the hard yards gained by their forwards, especially second row Ed Keighley and number eight Tom Whyte.

Going through the phases, they put Leeds on the back foot, and from a driven lineout, Keighley powered his way over to score, with full back Kristian Beeley-Kaye landing the conversion.

Keighley gained confidence from the score and began to exert pressure through the slick running of outside half Alan Ebbrell and the direct approach of centres Adam Horsfall and Jak Adams.

But with the visitors intent on all-out attack, a misplaced pass went to ground, and a hack through and chase gave Leeds winger Sam Marshall a score between the posts, which was improved by Breakwell.

West Leeds attempted to capitalise on their good fortune and, prompted by the skilled handling and direction of Breakwell and fly-half Sam Neave, they tested the Keighley defence to its limits.

The visitors held firm though, and when Keighley hit back with some attacking of their own, they gained a penalty that Beeley-Kaye converted.

Towards the end of the half, some incisive running from Ebbrell and hard work from the forwards gave the Keighley backs some space and a try in the corner for stand-in winger Oliver Snowden.

That meant Keighley were just 17-15 behind at the break, but in the opening minutes of the second half, a lineout was taken quickly by West Leeds without a Keighley player in sight.

One pass later and winger Sam Marshall was in for his second try, which was converted by Breakwell to increase the home side's advantage to nine points.

What followed was a scrappy period of play, with the hosts intent on finishing the game off and Keighley desperately trying to stay in the fight.

Although Keighley were performing well at set plays and in the loose, an awful lot of ball was being wasted.

That proved costly, as a further foray into Keighley territory by West Leeds gained good ground and a hack through in the corner led to a try for winger Dan Smith.

That was followed soon after by another penalty for Breakwell, as the home side moved out of sight at 32-15 in front.

With time running out, Keighley managed to put some phases together.

Substitute Will McLaughlin was making his presence felt and with centres Horsfall and Adams powering down the middle of the field, it looked like the Keighley of old.

Eventually, the sustained pressure broke the home defence and led to a well-earned try for Ebbrell to at least provide the visitors with a consolation score.

West Leeds were well worth their win though, and they moved up a place to ninth in the 12-team league.

Keighley slipped to second after the defeat and are now three points behind new leaders Goole.

It does not get any easier for Keighley either this weekend, as they are at home to third-placed Beverley, desperately hoping to put some space between themselves and their visitors.