Although early Glasgow pressure came to an abrupt end with an errant drop-goal attempt, the Scots continued to have the better of the skirmishes in midfield and were rewarded on ten minutes when centre Troy Nathan touched down behind Ulster lines amid a sea of bodies. Duncan Weir's conversion was off-target, however, and an alert steal by Nevin Spence right from the restart gave Ulster every chance to strike straight back. An unfortunate knock-on by Paddy McAllister as the ball was recycled, however, put paid to the attack, and the score remained Ulster 0 Glasgow 5.
An Ian Humphreys penalty opened the hosts' account on 17 minutes, and when Chris Henry pilfered the ball at a Glasgow line-out moments later, the Ulstermen pushed forward in numbers. Possession was relinquished momentarily, but the quick-thinking Darren Cave latched on to a blind backward pass by the retreating Colin Gregor on the 22 to run the simplest of tries beneath the posts. Humphreys' boot topped up the score to Ulster 10 Glasgow 5 on 22 minutes.
A combination of stout Glaswegian defending and ball-handling errors from Ulster kept the scoreline static as the half progressed, until three minutes before the interval when Weir got his name on the scoresheet courtesy of a well-struck penalty from the Ulster 10-metre line.
Directly from the restart, the powerful Spence again caused trouble within the Glasgow defence, his mere presence proving enough of a distraction to win the ball back as it came down towards the visitors' catchers. Dan Tuohy then showed great ball-carrying ability down the right flank before going to ground five metres from the line under a tandem of tackles. Paul Marshall picked up from Tuohy's quick release, feigned a move to the left and then darted to the right, exploiting a gap to the corner flag for try number two.
Humphreys' kick from the touchline spun wide of the posts, and Weir even had the time to add a second penalty to his tally before the break.
Half-Time Score Ulster 15 Glasgow 11
The Warriors started the second period on the offensive, and reduced the deficit to a solitary point in the 47th minute thanks to a close-range Weir penalty. Humphreys matched his opposite number with a penalty of his own three minutes later, and soon after the restart Pedrie Wannenburg raised the biggest Ravenhill cheer of the night thus far with a great steal-and surge from midfield. Perhaps realising that he was not the speediest man on the pitch, the huge Springbok judiciously fed Spence on the left wing, but assiduous defending from the Scots crowded the youngster out.
With Glasgow penalised on the hour mark for not releasing in the tackle, Humphreys added a further three points from the half-way line to put his side ahead by a full converted try at Ulster 21 Glasgow 14. The lead should have been increased further on 73 minutes with another Humphreys penalty from just outside the 22, but for once the out-half's aim eluded him, and his kick from the left failed to curl between the posts.
The killer blow came with two minutes remaining, Henry using all his power to force his way over for the try after picking up from a strong Ulster scrum. Humphreys converted, and there was still time for a further close shave for the Glasgow defence, when Whitten narrowly failed to hold onto the final pass as Ulster again surged down the left flank. With a good first day win now under their belts, Ulster travel to Italy next weekend for a Saturday afternoon clash with the tough-tackling Aironi.
Full-Time Score Ulster 28 Glasgow 14
(15 - 9) A D'Arcy; C Gilroy, D Cave, N Spence, I Whitten; I Humphreys, P Marshall
(1 - 8) P McAllister, A Kyriacou, J Cronin; L Stevenson, D Tuohy; P Wannenburg, W Faloon, C Henry (c)
Replacements (16 - 23) N Brady, C Carey, A Macklin, N McComb, R Diack, I Porter, P Jackson, P Nelson
(15 - 9) S Hogg; T Seymour, R Dewey, T Nathan, C Shaw; D Weir, C Gregor
(1 - 8) J Welsh, P MacArthur, M Cusack; T Ryder, R Harley (c); J Eddie, C Fusaro, R Wilson
Replacements (16 -23) F Gillies, R Grant, E Kalman, N Campbell, R Pitman, H Pyrgos, P Horne, F Aramburu
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