Keighley Cougars 24
TWO controversial tries denied Doncaster a much needed win in a week when a dark cloud hung over the club.
The Dons were determined to put allegations surrounding club captain Shaun Leaf on the back burner as they chased a first win in six.
But they failed to hold onto a deserved half–time lead as Keighley surged to their sixth win from seven Championship One matches.
It was alleged in a national newspaper Leaf had placed a £200 bet on the Dons to lose last week’s Challenge Cup match with Wakefield Wildcats by more than 38 points.
The RFL is currently carrying out an investigation into the allegations, which brought a huge amount of attention on Doncaster.
Tries for the visitors from Ben Sagar and James Hutchinson were both contentious but the Dons were guilty of failing to see the game out.
Tony Miller’s side emerged first from the tunnel before the game and applauded their supporters for their continued backing in the wake of the Leaf allegations.
And they rewarded the fans further three minutes in when Stu Sanderson raced on to an Aaron Dobek punt to score.
Keighley levelled on ten minutes with Sagar’s disputed effort.
The centre latched on to a punt but his touch down appeared to be beyond the dead ball line.
The two sides exchanged possession regularly in a well balanced first half, both working hard in defence to give the other little sight of the line.
But the Dons were the ones to edge ahead on 31 minutes when Kyle Kesik collected two metres out, dummied a pass and powered over the line.
Scott Spaven added the conversion.
And they went further ahead four minutes later after a breakaway with Craig Lawton sending a kick into the corner for Dean Colton to score.
The ten point margin really should have been wider at the break with a couple of mistakes denying the Dons good scoring chances.
The otherwise impressive Matt Carbutt - now club captain - sent a rather panicked pass over as he tried to capitalise on a Keighley mistake close to the line.
Two minutes into the second half when Ryan Smith intercepted a stray pass on his own ten metre line and sprinted clear to score in the corner, Chris Baines converting.
Keighley maintained their strong pressure and went ahead on 46 minutes through another contentious effort.
Debutant Richard Tafa appeared to have dumped Hutchinson into touch before he touched down but referee Warren Turley signalled for the try.
Keighley looked more than capable of running away with the game after their electric start to the half but the Dons composed themselves and settled the contest down.
And they grabbed the next score with Jack Ely spying a gap and charging through, Spaven converting.
But they could not hold the lead for the final ten minutes.
A mistake led to a long Keighley kick downfield, sparking a foot race between Sanderson and Smith.
The Keighley stand–off was winning until Sanderson pulled him back before he could collect the ball.
The winger was sinbinned and the Cougars scored from the next phase of play with player coach Jason Demetriou touching down to take his side ahead with three minutes to go.
Keighley piled on the pressure from the kick off and won a penalty right on the buzzer with Baines kicking the points to seal the win.