Whitehaven 28, Cougars 18
Shaun Ainscough's late try handed Whitehaven victory and dealt the Cougars a setback in their quest to safeguard their Championship status.
The former Bulls winger scored three minutes from time courtesy of Brett Seymour's wonderful pass but Paul March's side at least claimed a bonus point.
Paul White, one of 11 players brought back into the side following last Thursday's Challenge Cup quarter-final exit at Widnes, finished clinically with 14 minutes remaining.
That was converted by Danny Jones to edge Cougars 18-16 in front but late scores from Carl Foster and Ainscough handed the Cumbrian hosts victory.
Cougars player-coach March continued to serve a two-month stadium ban for abusing a match official.
But he made his priorities clear after recalling key men such as White, Jones, Richie Barnett, James Haley, Paul Handforth, Andrew Shickell, James Feather, Sean Hesketh, Brendan Rawlins and Ashley Lindsay.
Club captain Feather opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a well-taken effort which Jones converted.
But the lead lasted only nine minutes as Whitehaven steadied themselves and hit back when centre Chris Taylor crossed the line despite suspicions of crossing in the build-up.
Whitehaven, bolstered by the inclusion of former Bulls pair Cain Southernwood and Ainscough as well as ex-Hull FC playmaker Seymour, scored again when Jessie Joe Parker went over in the 29th minute.
But four minutes later the Cougars struck again when Danny Lawton scampered clear in the right corner and Jones' second conversion gave the visitors a 12-10 interval lead.
Although Scott McAvoy restored Whitehaven's lead in the 55th minute, Keighley edged back in front through White's tidy finish but the hosts soon restored control to win the match.
First Foster went over from a scrum and then Ainscough finished well from Seymour's superb pass to seal the win.