Keighley’s performance at mid-table Leodiensian on Saturday after their sensational 40-12 demolition of Counties One Yorkshire leaders Wetherby last time out was distinctly lacklustre.

But they did what they had to do, closing the game out well in the final 15 minutes to record an 18-6 away win, thus ensuring they top the table by three points heading into the Christmas break.

Leos realised early on that they had to keep the ball away from the visiting forwards and they also worked hard to provide quick breakdown ball to allow them to try their luck in the wide open spaces.

With dynamic halves Will Watkinson and outside-half Ted Farmer in fine form, Keighley were trapped in their own half and under pressure.

That eventually led to a long-distance penalty for Farmer, who was successful with his kick and put the hosts 3-0 in front.

Keighley, with scrum dominance, gained penalties and took play deep into Leos’ territory, however the home team’s defensive line speed and sound tackling nullified any threats the visitors had to offer.

Leos were quick to break out of defence and were very adept at chipping the ball over defenders into open space.

Once again, the pressure told and another penalty for Farmer put his side 6-0 up.

Towards the end of the half, Keighley raised the tempo and moved the ball quickly but they were guilty of playing too much rugby in their own half and getting nowhere due to the hard work of Leos forwards and the control of their back line.

Scoreless at the break, Keighley knew they had to switch things up and at the start of the second half, they defaulted to their strengths, using the forwards and straight running centre Adam Horsfall to drive play up the middle.

Their efforts were quickly rewarded with a penalty for full-back Jack Atkinson, closing the gap to just three points.

Unfortunately for Keighley, they soon went off the boil again and their play lacked bite, giving the home team defence the upper hand.

The away side’s only reward from a great deal of possession was a further penalty for Atkinson, which he landed to level the scores.

Keighley were trying hard to break the stalemate, but once again were launching their attacks too far out, giving the Leos defence the chance to adjust.

However, that big defensive effort from the hosts eventually took its toll, and some great line breaks from centre Alfie Seeley and second row Ed Keighley, ably supported by openside Olly Snowden, began to squeeze the life out of Leos’ once dominant defence.

Keighley News: Alfie Seeley helped Keighley get back on top against Leodiensian with some punishing line breaks.Alfie Seeley helped Keighley get back on top against Leodiensian with some punishing line breaks. (Image: John Ashton.)

An advancing Keighley scrum in midfield gave the backs the rare chance to use the space on offer, leading to a well-taken try for winger Alan Ebbrell.

As the final whistle approached, with Keighley still only leading 11-6, they finally began to take control.

Some hard yards from second row Keighley led to a maul, the ball was moved quickly to centre Seeley.

He stepped through the defence before giving a try-scoring pass to his centre partner Horsfall, who splashed down under the posts, with Atkinson adding the conversion.

The victory for Keighley that enabled them to maintain their position as league leaders going into the new year, with their first game back at home to struggling Old Rishworthian on Saturday, January 6.