Glasgow Warriors 22-23 Dragons

Glasgow Warriors suffered an agonising defeat at Scotstoun this evening, as a last-gasp conversion attempt came back off the upright to deny Danny Wilson’s men.

Johnny Matthews’ 83rd minute try had given the home side the chance to sneak victory, following first-half scores from Fotu Lokotui and Sean Kennedy having been cancelled out by the Dragons.

It would be the visitors who would strike first under the Scotstoun floodlights, as the Welsh side made their first attacking platform count. From a lineout on halfway, Sam Davies’ inside ball sent Jared Rosser racing through a gap, the winger doing enough to touch down under pressure from the covering Glasgow defence. Davies added the extras, and the visitors led 7-0 with five minutes played.

Glasgow’s response was to keep the ball in hand, and it almost paid dividends just five minutes later. Good footwork from Grant Stewart allowed the hooker to free Kiran McDonald, the big second-rower linking up with Glenn Bryce to take play to within five metres. Only an illegal intervention from Harrison Keddie prevented a Glasgow score, with referee Chris Busby duly dispatching the Dragons man to the sin-bin.

Try as they might, though, the Warriors were unable to break down the Dragons defensive line initially; a charge from Ryan Wilson looked destined for the line until Jamie Roberts cut the Warriors captain down, before a penalty allowed the Dragons to clear.

Instead it would be the visitors that would be next to add to their tally, as Davies punished the Warriors for not rolling away at the ruck with a penalty on 27 minutes.

Yet the home side were undeterred, and were finally rewarded with their first try on the half-hour mark. A dangerous tackle from Jack Dixon on Nick Grigg saw the Dragons midfielder shown a yellow card, and the Warriors kick the resulting penalty to the corner. An unstoppable driving maul eventually saw Lokotui cross for a score on his first start, the Tongan’s grin still visible as Pete Horne added the extras.

Not content with the one try, the home side then struck once more just five minutes later. Grigg was the man to do the initial damage, as the centre’s line saw him cut through the Dragons defence and into the 22. Whilst his burst was eventually stopped, his offload was collected by the supporting Sean Kennedy to send the scrum-half diving over under the posts, Horne converting to give his side a 14-10 half-time lead.

It was a lead that was wiped out four minutes after the restart, as the Dragons crossed for their second try. Brok Harris was eventually the man to touch down after repeated phases of possession in the Glasgow 22, the prop riding the tackle of Horne to touch down for a try that - along with Davies’ conversion – gave the visitors a 17-14 lead.

Horne was on hand to level the scores on 47 minutes, making no mistake from in front of the posts to punish the Dragons for going offside in midfield. There was almost more for the Warriors just moments later, Niko Matawalu just inches away from an interception that would have seen the Fijian run 60 metres for the try.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 53 minutes, as Davies handed the visitors a three point lead from the tee. The fly-half then doubled the lead on 58 minutes, slotting into the pocket to drop a goal from 35 metres for a 23-17 lead.

It was the visitors who were in the ascendency as the game entered its final quarter, and the Warriors were dealt another blow on 62 minutes as Lee Jones was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on. Yet despite their numerical advantage the Dragons couldn’t take advantage, with defences on top in an increasingly cagey affair.

As Jones returned to the field, the Warriors ramped up their search of the crucial score. Slowly but surely, the home side worked their way downfield; replacements Jamie Dobie and Brandon Thomson directing play, TJ Ioane and Grigg providing the hard yards in the middle of the park.

With the clock well past 80 minutes, the Warriors found their breakthrough. After over 20 phases in the Dragons 22, a penalty five metres from the try-line provided the platform for Matthews to tap and go. The hooker’s pace and power saw him reach out to touch down, to the delight of the Warriors replacements.

Following ecstasy was agony, however; a conversion that would have seen Glasgow snatch victory cannoned off the upright, and sent the visitors home with the win.

live commentary 7:15 PM Saturday 5 Dec 2020

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Kick-off 7:15 PM

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