KEIGHLEY Cougars secured a crucial win in their battle against the drop in the Betfred Championship yesterday, as they beat relegation rivals Barrow 26-20.

It was a gutsy comeback from Keighley at Cougar Park, with the hosts 20-10 behind to the Raiders at the break before roaring back with three unanswered second-half tries to snatch victory.

With all of their relegation rivals losing, Keighley are now fifth-bottom on 16 points, two points above the drop.

Rock-bottom Newcastle are all-but-down, but with three games to go, the remaining relegation spot remains a shootout between Keighley, Barrow, Whitehaven and Swinton, the latter currently in the drop zone.

An early penalty from Ryan Shaw put the Raiders ahead yesterday, before Mo Agoro and Lewis Young were caught out by a clever chip through on the last from Ryan Johnston.

Andrew Bulman took advantage to score in the corner for Barrow, with Shaw swinging the conversion over from out wide to put his side 8-0 up.

Cougars hit back after 24 minutes, following a fine break from Kieran Rush that gained them territory.

Harvey Spence then put a teasing kick up in the air, with Charlie Graham collecting, spinning and touching down.

Spence slotted home the extras to reduce the arrears to 8-6.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Harvey Spence played a key role in Keighley's opening try.Harvey Spence played a key role in Keighley's opening try. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

But Jarrod Sammut’s cut out pass found Bulman moments later, via a tip on from Brett Carter.

The winger did brilliantly to collect the ball down low and score in the corner, Shaw adding the extras.

Cougars responded with some brave play on the last tackle.

Jack Bibby’s pass was offloaded through Tom Doyle and Ellis Robson, with the ball coming to Junior Sa’u, who went over in the corner.

Spence was unable to add the extras, and Barrow had the last say before the break.

Two minutes before half-time, Ben Evans kicked a loose ball through and Josh Woods was quickest to it.

He picked the ball up, rounded the defence, and scored under the posts.

Shaw’s conversion gave the Raiders that impressive 10-point advantage at half-time.

But Cougars came out fired up after the break, and a fresh set of six near the Barrow line gave Young the chance to skip around the defence and score an unconverted try.

Barely 60 seconds later, Barrow conceded a penalty from their own kick-off.

Cougars drove forward, and Dan Parker ploughed over from close range.

Rush took over the kicking duties and slotted the conversion over to level the scores at 20-20.

Just before the hour mark, Parker found Bibby, who burst through a couple of Barrow tackles to go over by the sticks and put Keighley in front for the first time.

Rush’s conversion extended the advantage to 26-20.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The experienced Junior Sa'u played a key role in Keighley's thrilling win.The experienced Junior Sa'u played a key role in Keighley's thrilling win. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

Barrow had some half-chances in the final 20 minutes, but the Cougars defence held firm under real pressure, as the hosts sealed an enormous victory in the circumstances.

Cougars are back in action on Friday, as they travel to face play-off chasing Sheffield Eagles.