'One step forward and four steps back' was Anthony Murray's blunt assessment of North Wales Crusaders' latest home defeat.

The Cru coach saw his side beaten 46-28 by Keighley Cougars at the Queensway Stadium, with the Wrexham club trailing by 18 points at the interval.

A bright start from the hosts augured well as Kenny Baker crossed for an early try, but the visitors replied with five unanswered scores to go 28-6 up.

An improved second half showing saw the Cru hit back with some incisive attacking play with four well-worked tries.

And he hosts could even have overhauled the winning margin but tries from Ryan Smith, Dan Norman and Dale Bloomfield were all ruled out.

Murray said: " It's the same old story really and it's pretty frustrating after how well we've done in recent weeks.

"After that first half we just gave ourselves far too much to do and we put ourselves on the back foot and chasing the game.

"We've started the game really well and looked really up for it in the early stages, but after we scored and another chance went begging we got a bit more sloppy.

"But then we started to see some of the familiar errors creep back into our play, which allowed them to get on tp.

"Obviously the heat played a part and it was a bit more of an open, attacking game than it might have been.

"Our completion rate was something like 40 per cent, way below what it has been and that was disappointing.

"You can't turn over possession like that against a quality side like Keighley who are up there among the top six in the division.

"That was why went in trailing by 22 points and what ultimately has cost us the game.

"We looked much better second half, except for some silly forward passes, which have hurt us at time in the game where we were looking like scoring.

"We'd been sharper than that in previous matches so it's felt like one step forward and four steps back' after this result."

The Cru's sixth defeat in 10 League One outings this term has left them 10th in the standings and three points adrift of the super 8s places.

Murray maintains that consistency will dictate the Cru's chances of success this term and says he is committed to affecting positive changes at the club quickly

"I've talked a lot about consistency and how we need to build on the things we're doing well at this club" he added.

"I can't fault the effort, character and commitment of the players at all - they're giving it everything for the cause.

"But our game management needs to be sharper and players need to be more accountable when they're in key areas.

"We structure our game plan according to the opponent and we need to ensure we're more clinical in executing that plan."