Monday, 8 August 2016

Punch the Clock

Hornets 18 - Keighley 4

When Keighley forward Charlie Martin said last week that the Cougars were prepared to fight for Paul March’s job, no-one assumed he meant it literally.

But when Paul White’s brian-fart king-hit on Corey Lee on the quarter mark sparked a 26 man brawl that spilled  into the Keighley dug-out, you could sense that tensions in the visitors' camp were fairly tightly wound.

At the time, Keighley were 0-4 up after Brooke had got a hand to a pinball kick into the in-goal after 11 minutes,  but White’s red-card was the signal for Keighley to effectively park both of their mini-buses and draw Hornets into an unsightly arm wrestle.

And for an hour, it worked: aided and abetted by tyro ref Mr Straw, whose sometimes surrealist interpretation of the laws shoved the penalty count ever closer to the 20 mark.

Hornets’ urgency to exploit the extra man was repeatedly thwarted by a series of hurried last passes that saw chances go begging: and when Wayne English was nudged off the ball on the half hour as he stretched to reel in a Danny Yates kick to the corner, Hornets’ best chance of the half was gone.

For the remainder of the half, Keighley continued to frustrate: completing sets in their own half and driving Hornets back with a succession of long kicks.

It clearly needed a bit of a chat: Hornets down 0-4 at the break.

The second half was a different story: Hornets much more direct, with more palpable puropse. A Samir Tahraoui break on 48 minutes sent defenders scrambling - only for Wayno and Ryan Maneely to clash heads in the dash to support.

Three minutes later, a tight, concise approach set fed Jordan Case into space to score: rounding sizeable Keighley forward Oakes who has the turning cirlce of a bin wagon. Yatesey the two: 6-4.

Sixty seconds later Richie Hawkyard suffered an anal squeaking issue under a towering Danny Yates Bomb, the spilled ball regathered by a retreating defender in an offside position. From the resulting play, Ben Moores held-up in-goal.

On 58 minutes, further Hornets pressure forced a drop-out and the return set saw Woz Thompson blasting through a blowing defence to score. Yatesey the extras: 12-4.

Just past the hour, Jo Taira hit Gabriel with a monster collision as he followed up a kick. The impact so great that he wiped out fellow tackler Jack Holmes too. Destructive.

To their credit, Keighley did put in a late rally; Paul Handforth emerging from his slumbers to produce a pinpoint kick and chase and a huge 40/20 to give the home fans some late jitters.

But Hornets responded well: first a scooting Danny Yates break (his inside ball slipping teasingly from Ben Moores’ fingers); and a Josh Crowley break that laid the platform for Samir Tahraoui to haul himself through a pack of tacklers to score on the hooter. Yatesey 100% - final score 18-4.

Having been hauled into a war of attrition by a well-organised, hard-working Keighley, it’s important to note that Hornets kept the visitors scoreless for 69 minutes of this contest. And, having regrouped at the break, scored 18 unanswered second half points. Indeed, this was one of those games where you had to find a way to win and, from Hornets, this was an object lesson in patience and trusting that if you do the basics better than the opposition you should prevail.

As Alan Kilshaw would say: plenty to work on. But for Paul March, you suspect that his work at Keighley is pretty much done.