Sheffield Eagles woeful season at Owlerton Stadium goes on as they crashed 29-16 to Keighley Cougars.
The Eagles have won only two home league games and it’s blighted their hopes of challenging for a place in the top three in the Championship.
It started so well with a try after only 29 seconds but that momentum was lost as Keighley were allowed to take control.
Back row forward Michael Knowles and centre Menzie Yere battled away but for coach Mark Aston it was an afternoon to forget. He lost top try scorer Scott Turner injured in the first half which forced a reorganisation but wasn’t looking for excuses.
“Embarrassing and I have been straight and told the lads what I thought of them – too many people in that team are kidding themselves,” he said. “Keighley wanted this more than us.”
Prop Theo Gonzales-Trique, on loan from French champions Toulouse Olympique, made his debut for the Eagles replacing the injured Ben Jones.
Eagles were off to a flyer Yere off-loading inside to fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae who went 60 metres to score in the opening minute. Patch Walker added the goal.
On the back of a penalty and a fumble by Turner the Cougars drew level with James Haley weaving his way over and Dave Jones adding the goal.
Keighley edged ahead with a penalty in front of the posts kicked by Jones who with half-back partner Paul Handford had taken control of the game. The pair combined to send Josh Lynam crashing over to increase the lead.
Eagles reduced the margin with Duane Straugheir twisting out of a tackle to touch down from a pass byAndrew Henderson but Keighley took a 14-10 lead in at half-time.
Eagles failed to raise their game after the restart with Cougars going further ahead through James Craven after they lost the ball at a scrum 20 metres out.
Keighley had their tails up with a 40-20 by Handforth setting up possession for Sean Hesketh to blast over.
Eagles put the restart kick dead and Jones took advantage of the short Owlerton pitch to kick the penalty.
Dominic Brambani caught Keighley napping with a chip kick and Knowles went in for the try with Walker adding the goal but Jones ended hopes of even a losing bonus point with a field goal four minutes from time to add to his six successful place kicks.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Garside, Taulapapa; Aston, Brambani; Lillycrop, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Straugheir, Walker. Subs: Owen, Battye, Green, Gonzales-Trique
Tries: Laulu-Togagae 1, Straugheir 22, Knowles 73.
Goals: Walker 2/3.
Cougars: Craven; Barnett, Haley, Lawton, Williams; Jones, Handforth; Hesketh, Feather, Rawlins, Lynam, Pursgrove, Lindsay. Subs: Jode Sheriffe, Sagar, Cherryholme, Haigh.
Tries: Haley 12, Lynam 19, Craven 54, Hesketh 64.
Goals: Jones 6/6. Field goal 1.
Referee: Joe Cobb.