IN what was a must-win game, Keighley eventually collected a five-point haul to put their Yorkshire One survival bid back in their own hands but it was hard not to feel sorry for the visitors after a crucial late ruling went against them.

Keighley were leading 36-31 ten minutes into stoppage time when Pontefract's experienced former Cleckheaton player Glen Boyd hoisted a cross-kick that was collected by fly half Liam Kaye, who strolled over for a try on the right.

Home hearts were in their mouths as Kaye would then have had a conversion to win the match but referee Graeme Hall (West Yorkshire Society) brought play back to give Pontefract a scrum on their left, potentially after a knock-on by either side (Keighley first) or for an offside against Pontefract who had been playing an advantage.

In a game where something always seemed to be happening, Keighley got off to a dream start with a third-minute try by lock Leigh Sugden, whose power is missed when he is absent.

Winger Oli Mitchell popped over the conversion, but back came Pontefract with two Kaye penalties to make it 7-6 after 14 minutes.

Prop Sam Booker, back at Keighley after a stint at Wharfedale, then had a pass intercepted as he tried to tidy up a tap back from a line-out, and Kaye sprinted 55 metres to score and convert.

But in a tit-for-tat affair, home centre Sean Kelly burst through some weak tackling to go over in the 20th minute, with Mitchell's conversion putting them back in front at 14-13.

Booker then made up for his earlier error by going over for a try from a neat reverse pass by influential fly half Grayson Tihema, with Mitchell again improving the score to give Keighley a sliver of daylight at 21-13.

Kaye then did Keighley a favour by missing a kickable penalty but the hosts ended the stanza a man short after prop John Gibson was sin-binned for not releasing in the tackle.

While he was off the pitch, Kaye landed a third penalty four minutes into the second half to make it 21-16 but then the visitors levelled up the numbers when No 8 Stephen Reynolds was yellow carded for collapsing a maul.

A Mitchell penalty put Keighley 24-16 to the good but back came Pontefract again after a strong run by replacement Tadiwa Nianjowa led to a try for right winger Richard Dedicoat on the hour, with the hosts a man down as flanker Tom Willson was writhing on the floor with a shoulder injury.

Leading by only three points now, Keighley needed a response and got it three minutes later after good drives by Sugden and Booker led to a try for No 8 Will McLaughlin.

Mitchell's conversion made it 31-21 but the game was up for grabs once more following a 69th-minute try by left winger Stuart Sanderson after a great pick-up on the half volley by Boyd.

Kaye's superb touchline conversion made it 31-28 but a beautiful pass by Tihema put replacement prop Craig Spencer over on the right for Keighley six minutes later.

A big hit by Brendon Rawlins then drew applause from the home faithful but never-say-die Pontefract answered with a Kaye penalty as the running clock reached 80 minutes.

There was still a long period of stoppage time for the hosts to endure, however, leading to that dramatic finale, with the last blast of Hall's whistle leaving Pontefract's players on the floor in despair while bringing joy to Keighley's.

Dan McGee's men still sit second-bottom despite the win but now only trail Pontefract (who got a losing bonus point) by two points (39 against 37) with a game in hand. Bridlington (43) and Dinnington (44) are now also catchable for Keighley.