KEIGHLEY Cougars fell to a second League One defeat of the season as they suffered a 26-12 loss at York City Knights.

The Cougars fell behind in the seventh minute when, from a dropout, Tim Spears took advantage of a missed tackle to race through from 20 metres despite the best efforts of Ritchie Hawkyard to prevent the try.

Keighley brought themselves level on the back of a penalty when Benn Hardcastle delayed his short pass to Perry Whiteley, who in turn squeezed himself over to score on his debut.

York took the lead for the second time in the game in the 24th minute as ex-Cougar Jake Normington managed to see off the interests of Adam Ryder to crash over from close range.

The opening to the second half showed how quick a game of rugby league can change as Connor Robinson's kick-off went out on the full. From what could have been a levelling try, the Cougars found themselves two scores down.

Lewis Fairhurst tried a grubber on the last and the ball hit the leg of Joe Batchelor. The back-rower made it count as he picked the loose ball off the ground and raced 95 metres to score in the corner.

There were two tries disallowed in the space of a minute with Judah Mazive’s effort for the Knights being ruled out for failing to ground the ball correctly. Hamish Barnes then saw his attempt for the visitors ruled out for a foot in touch.

The hosts then put the game to bed when, after a Robinson penalty was dragged wide of the posts, the resulting drop-out saw Will Jubb burrow his way over from dummy half.

Despite the scoreline, Keighley were vastly improved from the side that limped to defeat against Bradford a fortnight previous. Barnes reduced the deficit in grabbing a try when he raced 50 metres after being quickest to a wild pass from Spears.

York extended their lead though as Robinson took the two on offer after Mike Emmett was penalised for interference for the afternoon’s final points.