KEIGHLEY Cougars fell to defeat at the hands of York City Knights to slip out of the League One play-off places.

The visitors struck first when Andy Ellis broke the line and, despite a suspect forward pass in the build-up, Tim Spears powered his way to the line from 20 metres out.

Things then broke down as Brad Nicholson retaliated to a high shot from Judah Mazive and as a result, all 26 players became involved in a mass brawl from which Nicholson and Spears were both sent to the sin-bin.

The Knights extended their lead shortly after when Will Jubb squeezed his way over from close range after a great offload from Connor Robinson.

However, the home side came roaring back into the game as Perry Whiteley intercepted and raced 90 metres to score.

This try gave Keighley renewed confidence and when Ryder threw a little shimmy to fool two Knights defenders, he sent the ball out to the wing for Andy Gabriel to slide over in the corner.

York would take the lead into half-time as Connor Robinson picked up a loose ball from a big hit on Benn Hardcastle and went the length of the field to score.

The Knights took full advantage of some lazy defending with Joe Batchelor crossing next to the uprights from an Ash Robson break.

A bizarre two minutes followed, Nicholson was sent for 10 for the second time on the afternoon for a flailing arm that ended the afternoon of Connor Robinson.

Ash Robson took the two points but the restart was delayed as the referee left the field of play to hold a pitchside discussion with the timekeepers who appeared to be contesting the call that the clock had been stopped.

The visitors scored once more through some brilliant play as Ben Cockayne sold the dummy to send Graeme Horne marauding through.

Nicholson’s eventful afternoon was far from over as he powered his way through to touch down for the home side.

York finished the game strongly with another Robson penalty and tries through Joe Porter and Mike Kelly.