Gabriel in repeat show as Keighley secure win

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Andy Gabriel scored a matchwinning try for the second week running as Keighley maintained their promotion challenge with a close-fought win at Rochdale.

The speedy winger touched down in the 56th minute to decide a fraught encounter which left Paul March’s side in third spot.

Gabriel, a product of the youth set-up at Bradford-based amateur outfit Odsal Sedbergh, had scored the winning try a week previously when Keighley saw off Barrow at Cougar Park.

March’s men led yesterday when on-loan Bradford Bulls prop Samir Tahraoui scored after just five minutes. The Algeria-born man-mountain went over after a marauding run which Rochdale simply could not stop.

But Rochdale drew level in the 19th minute when Wayne English produced a fine offload to find Mike Ratu, who broke through the line to score.

Both Gabriel and Ratu’s tries went unconverted and it remained 4-4 at the break.

The Hornets then bagged two penalties early in the second period through Paul Crook, putting the home side 8-4 up.

Crucially, Keighley claimed the all-important try through Gabriel.

The visitors fashioned a delightful handling sequence which saw Liam Darville find on-loan Hull KR full-back Josh Guzdek and he sent Gabriel in the corner to level things up at 8-8, with Paul Handforth missing the conversion but then landing a penalty soon after to seal the win.

Rochdale Hornets: English, Hargreaves, Ratu, Paterson, Bloomfield, Crook, Yates, Tilley, Fozard, Thompson, Bridge, Dandy, Case. Substitutes: McClurg, Jones, Hull, Hadden

Keighley Cougars: Guzdek, Gabriel, Lawton, Barnes, White, Darville, Handforth, Law, Feather, Tahraoui, Lynam, Pursglove, Dickinson. Substitutes: Rawlins, D March, Cherryholme, Bailey

Referee: T Grant (RFL).