Glasgow Warriors V Ospreys
Glasgow Warriors ground out an important 9-3 victory over the Ospreys at Scotstoun this evening, in a match where clear-cut chances were at a premium.
Brandon Thomson kicked all of the points for the home side in an affair dictated by poor handling conditions, guiding the Warriors back to the top of Guinness PRO14 Conference A for 24 hours at least.
With handling conditions less than ideal due to the pre-match drizzle, the opening quarter belonged to the respective defences. It was the visitors that created the first real chance of the match on 15 minutes, with only a magnificent covering tackle from Nick Frisby denying his opposite number Tom Habberfield from sliding over for the game’s opening try.
Indeed, both sides were struggling to string phases together, with every promising attack fizzling out under the Scotstoun floodlights. The first points of the night eventually arrived on 32 minutes, Ospreys captain Sam Davies converting a penalty to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Unfortunately for those watching on in the stands, that was to be the sole score of the opening stanza. With the error count continuing to be the most prominent factor in proceedings, a missed penalty from Davies and a brief scuffle preceded referee John Lacey’s half-time whistle and the end of an uninspiring 40 minutes.
To the relief of the Warrior Nation, Glasgow’s first points arrived three minutes into the second period, as Brandon Thomson took full advantage of an Ospreys indiscretion to level the scores at 3-3.
Playing with the wind at their backs, the hosts established themselves in their opponents’ territory as they sought a much-needed breakthrough. Stafford McDowall came the closest to breaching the Ospreys defence on 48 minutes, the big centre just losing control of the ball after a thundering charge for the try-line.
Yet conditions were still proving difficult to master, as the swirling rain played havoc with any pre-conceived notions of structure. Thomson nudged the Warriors in front for the first time in the match on the stroke of the hour, before earning the biggest ovation of the night by booming over a penalty from 55 metres just two minutes later.
The six-point cushion seemed to relax the home side, with Thomson breaking from his own 22 upfield, his chip ahead forcing an Ospreys 22 as Glasgow continued to exert pressure on their visitors.
A tricky game became a memorable one for one Warrior on 70 minutes, as Thomas Gordon became the latest to pull on the Glasgow jersey in competitive action by coming off the substitutes bench.
Robbie Smith soon followed in his team-mate’s footsteps, replacing Kevin Bryce with four minutes remaining for his first appearance in a Warriors shirt.
The two debutants were soon thrown into a rearguard action, with the visitors pressing for a vital score. Yet the Warriors defence – shorn of Niko Matawalu after a yellow card – held firm, as the eyes of the Scotstoun faithful turned towards the clock.
They needed to fear not, as a final resolute defensive shift from their side secured an important win over their Guinness PRO14 Conference A rivals. Whilst the Guinness Six Nations will be taking precedence on the pitch for the next fortnight, Glasgow will be making the most of the break to fine-tune their game ahead of the trip to Cardiff in three weeks’ time.