KEIGHLEY Cougars’ away day blues continued as they fell to a seventh consecutive loss on the road at the hands of the North Wales Crusaders.

It would turn out to be an enthralling afternoon of rugby league for the neutral, as the pendulum swung both ways throughout.

But a combination of both a poor start and finish to the game cost the Cougars in front of a healthy crowd in Colwyn Bay, as they eventually lost 34-28.

It appeared that a long afternoon was on the cards as the home side raced into a 26-0 lead within the first quarter of the game.

The scoring was opened through Brad Billsborough, the German international touching down on the back of his own grubber after the kick chased forced an error from Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e.

From the restart, Matt Reid broke the Cougars line and offloaded under pressure to the supporting Gav Rodden, who crashed his way over to score.

With the Crusaders firmly on the front foot, the referee gave six again and on the first tackle, Rodden offloaded out of the tackle to Tommy Johnson, who stepped through a gap in the defensive line to touch down.

The Cougars were rattled and after a penalty was given for laying on, the Crusaders made the most of the field advantage given to them.

Reid offloaded across the top to Rob Massam, with the winger diving over in the corner.

Rhys Lovegrove’s then unluckily fell even further behind, as a grubber kick from Johnson bounced off a Keighley man back into his hands and he scored his second try of the contest.

As the weather changed, so did the momentum, and the Cougars staged a sensational comeback either side of half-time.

After coming close through Taylor Prell, the visitors got on to the scoreboard through Charlie Graham, as he dived over after some clever work from Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e.

Aaron Levy then scored on the brink of the interval, as he was the quickest to react to a grubber kick from Prell.

After the break, a moment of genius from Scott Murrell presented Levy with his second four pointer of the game.

Murrell, on his 400th career appearance, put a chip over the top on the last and was fastest to his own kick, before offloading the ball out wide for his back rower to go over.

The half back then turned from provider to scorer as he again used his rugby league brain to perfection.

He shot out from dummy half and ducked through a tackle to force his way over from 10 metres out.

And Keighley then sensationally took the lead in the 55th minute.

The ball was kept alive and Ryan Wright offloaded to Brenden Santi, who powered over for his tenth try of the campaign.

With the game completely turned on its head, both sides looked to get on the front foot.

However, North Wales again took the lead on the back of two penalty conversions from Johnson, after the referee penalised the Cougars twice in quick succession.

After a penalty for offside levelled the scores, a further penalty for obstruction from the resulting restart gave the Crusaders a narrow lead heading into the game’s final five minutes.

Tiring Keighley bodies were punished at the last, as with two minutes left on the clock, the home side created a numbers advantage on the overlap.

From that, Patrick Ah Van touched down to make sure the victory went to North Wales.