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Dragons Move Up To Sixth After Gutsy Away Win

jmcconnell 4 Jan 2008

Newport Gwent Dragons kept up their winning start to the new year as they toppled Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on Friday to shunt themselves up to sixth in the Magners League table.

The victory continued the Dragons’ dominance over Glasgow in the league – the Scots have only won once in their nine meetings – but Paul Turner’s men travelled north boasting only one win in their last five away games.

Still, particularly encouraged by their New Year’s Day dismissal of the Scarlets, the Dragons grabbed tries in each half from flanker Joe Bearman and seconds row Peter Sidoli to take the spoils on on offer at Firhill.

Glasgow made ‘too many basic errors’ according to coach Sean Lineen and while the effort was there, the home side’s accuracy and finishing let them down as they slipped to their third successive league defeat.

Glasgow hit the front in the second-minute thanks to a Dan Parks penalty but they almost conceded an early try when winger Richard Mustoe, the Dragons’ last-gasp try scorer against the Scarlets, was just foiled by tackler Hefin O’Hare.

Adam Jones was pinged for a 13th-minute offside which saw Parks pick off his second successful penalty. However, the Dragons took the lead for the first time, six minutes later, when Bearman barged past Fergus Thomson to make the whitewash.

The try came from some quick-thinking. Parks failed to find touch with an overhit penalty and a chip over the hosts’ defence and tap penalty from the Welshmen sent Bearman in close to the posts.

Ceri Sweeney converted for 7-6 and missed penalties followed from each kicker as the teams failed to spark and a scrappy encounter ensued.

On the half-hour mark, Sweeney extended the Dragons’ lead to 10-6 after a ruck offence from Dan Turner and that is how it stayed until half-time.

The visitors lost tighthead prop Rhys Thomas to injury just before the break and Glasgow’s front eight upped the ante on the restart with a powerful scrum.

The Dragons were being pinned back and Sam Pinder’s delayed pass to John Barclay threatened to slice the Welsh defence open but again Glasgow’s finishing let them down.

Sweeney then landed one of two penalty opportunities to put seven points between the sides, and Glasgow boss Lineen reacted by bringing captain Alastair Kellock, the fit-again Kevin Tkachuk, who has been out for four months, and Johnnie Beattie into the fray.

Five minutes later, the home fans were toasting their side’s one and only try. After a series of big drives, Pinder peeled off to speed over the line.

But Glasgow were rocked back on their heels when Sidoli touched down after a 70th-minute lineout drive. Sweeney failed to add the extras and the Dragons were left to defend a five-point advantage.

Their chances were hit when centre Paul Emerick saw yellow for holding back Parks during a Glasgow attack.

Parks flung over a late penalty but despite Glasgow throwing the kitchen sink at the visitors, with Parks missing a drop goal and Beattie failing to make the most of an overlap on the right flank, the Dragons held firm to move from eighth to sixth in the standings.

Following their first home defeat in fifteen months, Glasgow have slipped down to seventh place.

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