Doncaster RLFC reach play-off final after incredible 28-26 win over Keighley Cougars

Doncaster RLFC snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at Keighley Cougars to reach the Betfred League One play-off final in extraordinary fashion.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 5:23 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 5:51 pm
Liam Johnson celebrates his try in the dying moments of the game level the scores. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

Liam Johnson scored with the final play of the game to level the scores at 26-26 and cap an incredible fightback from Richard Horne’s men.

Jake Sweeting then held his nerve to convert from the touchline and set up a play-off final showdown at Workington Town next Sunday.

Doncaster had not led for the entire game until Sweeting’s final kick which sparked jubilant scenes among the players, staff and travelling fans.

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The Dons found themselves under pressure for the majority of the first half but showed plenty of resolve to only trail 14-12 at half time.

They were much more of a threat after the break but individual errors threatened to cost them dearly as Keighley extended their lead to 26-12.

But the blue and golds simply refused to give up and completed an incredible late comeback thanks to two tries from Johnson and another from stalwart Jason Tali.

The Dons made a poor start and some basic errors had them on the back foot for the majority of the first half.

Jake Sweeting converts to put Dons into the final at Workington. Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

It was one-way traffic early on and converted tries from Jack Miller and Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e put the hosts 12-0 ahead.

However, some dogged Dons defending prevented Keighley from making further inroads and the visitors clawed their way back into the game when Alex Holdstock went under the posts midway through the first half.

Five minutes later, against the run of play, Matty Beharrell then levelled the scores after he was allowed to cross from close range.

Miller’s penalty put the Cougars back ahead at the break but the home side were left wondering how the margin was only two points.

Doncaster had more control following the restart but another individual error allowed Scott Murrell to dive over and Miller’s conversion extended Keighley’s lead to 20-12.

The visitors were knocking on the door but a loose pass was seized upon by Charlie Graham who ran from deep inside his own territory to score.

Keighley, now leading 26-12, appeared to have one foot in the final but Doncaster were not about to throw in the towel and Johnson went in under the posts to help reduce the deficit to eight points.

Tom Halliday then thought he had finished off a contender for try of the season but the officials ruled it out.

With time running out Ben Johnston went agonisingly close but was pulled up for a double movement over the try line.

Doncaster’s pressure eventually told when Tali went over to make it 26-22 and set up a grandstand finish, despite Sweeting sending the conversion wide.

Johnson thought he had levelled the scores right at the death but the officials ruled he had been held up.

But incredibly there was still time for the Dons to launch one final attack and the ball was shifted wide for that man Johnson to score in the corner.

Sweeting’s kick was anything but routine but he held his nerve to seal a memorable 28-26 victory.