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Roughyeds suffer reality check Keighley defeat

Sean Long admitted his side were outplayed in every area of the game as Oldham suffered their first defeat of the Betfred League 1 season, losing 28-18 at promotion rivals Keighley.

The Cougars led throughout after forging an 18-0 half-time advantage, and never looked like allowing Long’s men back in the contest despite second-half scores from captain Jordan Turner, Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e and top try scorer Cian Tyrer.

The result moves Keighley two points clear at the top, having played a game more than Oldham.

“I thought we got beat in every department,” said Long.

“We started slow, Keighley came out of the blocks and completed really high. I just don’t think we built any pressure when we got down the other end of the field. It’s a good learning day for us, but we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

Long was without former Keighley winger Mo Agoro who failed a fitness test on Friday, so McKenzie Turner was on the wing, while Craig Kopczak and Jamie Ellis replaced Bailey Aldridge and Logan Astley.

But backed by a huge travelling Oldham fan base, the Roughyeds were on the back foot from the first whistle as slick hands saw Keighley put new boy Isaac Farrell through, Jack Miller converting for a 6-0 lead.

The Cougars were denied a second try by a forward pass and Oldham almost responded with a leveller, but Brad Gallagher knocked on at close range.

Then came a key moment in the match, with Oldham attacking down the left edge, a PLT flick pass cannoned off Jordan Turner and Charlie Graham went the length of the field, outpacing Tyrer to give the home side a 12-0 lead.

Worse was to come for the visitors when substitute hooker George Flanagan, who antagonised his opponents throughout, burrowed over from dummy half for an 18-0 interval lead. Adam Lawton’s enormous hit on Jordan Schofield the only real first-half Oldham highlight.

Head coach Long knows his side are a second-half team in terms of amassing points, so there was no panic despite the deficit, and Oldham started the second half with a head of steam. Adam Lawton tried to spin and stretch over from close range but lost control of the ball and McKenzie Turner was denied a clean break by a desperate ankle tap. Captain Turner got the breakthrough when he finished off Danny Craven’s pass and Oldham were back within 12.

Craven himself looked to have added another as he dummied over for a fine individual effort but lost the ball in the act of touching down, and Keighley took full advantage of their near-miss. Powerful centre Junior Sa’u proved the game-breaker as he pounced on Miller’s kick for his first and added a second in the left corner to seal the win at 28-6.

An unsavoury incident followed when Keighley’s bad boy Flanagan stopped to direct verbals at the Oldham bench after he had been substituted, and the game threatened to boil over as the Roughyeds added late consolations through PLT and Tyrer.

“It’s a reality check,” Long added.

“You have got to play for 80 minutes and we haven’t done it for the last few games. The fans were behind us all the time and going forward we will pay them back, later on in the season. My message would be that we will keep working hard, not get complacent and come back stronger.”

Keighley: Pickersgill, Graham, Sa’u, Robson, Walkley, Farrell, Miller, Maher, Kesik, Ioane, Parker, Lanskey, Brown. Subs: Flanagan, Schofield, Hatton, Revell.

Oldham: Laulu-Togaga’e, Tyrer, Turner, Johnson, Turner, Craven, Ellis, J Chapelhow, Wildie, Farnworth, Gallagher, Lawton, Taylor. Subs: T Chapelhow, Hirst, Johnson, Kopczak

Scorers:

Keighley: Tries: Farrell, Graham, Flanagan, Sa’u 2. Goals: Miller 4.

Oldham: Tries: Turner, Laulu-Togaga’e, Tyrer. Goals: Ellis 3

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