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Penalty count proves costly for the Dragons; Glasgow thwart Welsh region's Euro ambitions.

THE Dragons hopes of salvaging anything from their Heineken campaign were finally shattered at Firhill after an appalling start to a match and in the end an inability to capitalise on their second-half superiority.

In an exciting game played on a firm surface, Dragons matched Glasgow in the try count, but their propensity to give away penalties at the breakdown proved expensive.

The Dragons were rocked by a try after only two minutes from Glasgow's powerful centre Rob Dewey.

It came from a Dragons' lineout with an overthrow collected by Glasgow scrum-half Colin Gregor, who fed the ball out to Dewey via Bernardo Stortoni to give the centre a charge at the line.

Fly-half Ruaridh Jackson added the conversion. The visitors had barely had time to settle before they were under pressure again, this time from poor up and under from Shaun Connor.

The Dragons survived this scare, but straightaway conceded another score as Jason Tovey's kick was charged down by Johnnie Beattie. The Glasgow No8 had the skill to control the ball and the pace to sprint to the line for an unconverted try.

Charge-downs became infectious, but this time they worked in favour of the Dragons as Gregor's blocked kick gave Robert Sidoli a simple score from a lineout close to the Glasgow line, the game's third try in the space of seven minutes.

Connor missed the conversion and then a drop goal attempt, but at the other end Jackson was on target with a penalty kick.

So too was Gregor after the Dragons had committed an unnecessary offence at the breakdown.

At 18-5 it looked bad for the Dragons, but a try by James Harris after what seemed a knock-on from both sides and the conversion by Connor raised the visitors' spirits.

Dragons, however, were soon back on the defensive as Stortoni opened up their defence with support from Beattie, but at the breakdown centre Tom Riley illegally prevented fair release to earn a yellow card resulting in another penalty from Jackson.

It did not prevent Dragons from revealing their dogged determination that generated a try for Rhodri Gomer-Davies, the centre dodging through the defence to give Tovey a simple conversion, but just on half-time Jackson struck again with a penalty for a 24-19 interval lead.

Dragons looked sharp at the start of the second half and all but levelled the score when Gomer-Davies again showed his skills, only to be held up over the line.

But Dragons' effort found its reward in a Connor penalty and then, after a defence-splitting run from replacement Martyn Thomas, a similar effort by fellow sub James Arlidge put the visitors ahead for the first time in the match.

The lead, however, changed again after Glasgow hooker Fergus Thomson powered his way over for an unconverted try. The game was interrupted by an injury to Glasgow flanker Callum Forrester, sportingly brought to the referee's attention by James Harris. When it resumed Dragons tried desperately to grab the crucial score, but Glasgow's defence held firm.


Glasgow''s Thom Evans tackles Aled Brew during last night's Heineken Cup encounter at Firhill
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 16, 2010
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