Edinburgh 15 - 22 Glasgow: Balance shifts as Glasgow win at Murrayfield

THE season of goodwill to all men was suspended for 80 tousy minutes in Edinburgh yesterday as Glasgow registered their first win at Murrayfield with a measure of control and ease not reflected in the scoreline.

After their comfortable victory in the first leg of the 1872 Cup derby, this looked for all the world like confirmation that the balance of power between Scotland's two professional teams has swung towards the west end of the M8.

With a try in each half, a gritty forward performance and a concerted defensive showing which stymied Edinburgh's best efforts, Glasgow were good value for their win and had in Dan Parks the outstanding player on the pitch. He may only have scored 12 points to Chris Paterson's 15, but the diminutive fly-half pulled the strings throughout and has ensured that Glasgow remain set fair for the end-of-season play-offs.

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It was clear from the outset that Edinburgh would be up against it and the first score wasn't long in coming. A Phil Godman pass in midfield went awry, the ever-alert Bernardo Stortoni hacked ahead but Thom Evans kicked the ball sideways with the line at his mercy. Still, the visitors didn't come away empty-handed, with debutant Ross Samson penalised for falling on the ball and Parks kicking an easy opening penalty after just three minutes.

Parks was again the assassin just three minutes later when a snap drop-goal put Glasgow six points ahead, before Chris Paterson almost immediately opened Edinburgh's account from wide on the left after Warriors hands had gone into the ruck. Yet rather than the spur for Edinburgh level things, that was merely the cue for Glasgow to extend their lead with the first try of the game.

It was a score worthy of a derby, with Glasgow moving the ball slickly and with purpose. In a move that contained five phases and saw Graeme Morrison, Richie Vernon and Chris Cusiter feature prominently, Parks once again applied the coup de grace, dinking a little grubber through the cover defence for wing DTH Van Der Merwe to pick up and flop over the line for the easiest of tries.

Although Parks' conversion just missed the left upright, Glasgow could so easily have extended their lead when they almost immediately outflanked Edinburgh's defence. Had Max Evans' pass to John Barclay, who had Van Der Merwe on his outside, not been forward then the home side could have found themselves in substantial arrears.

Instead, the momentum then swung Edinburgh's way as Van Der Merwe was yellow-carded for taking out Mark Robertson in the air as he fielded a Parks up-and-under, which was the signal for the hosts to up their tempo. With Glasgow reduced to 14 men, Paterson's side almost immediately began the process of dragging themselves back into the game, winning another penalty when Glasgow's scrum buckled in its own 22 and went down, bringing the home side back to 6-11 behind.

If Edinburgh hoped their numerical superiority would bring rewards, they were soon disabused of that notion. Although they arguably had the upper hand during Van Der Merwe's absence, it was still 14-man Glasgow who looked the more likely to score, and so it proved. Parks' penalty on the half-hour restored Glasgow's ascendancy moments before the yellow-carded South African wing left the sin-bin and rejoined the play.

In a match with more than its fair share of silly off-the-ball niggles, Glasgow again conspired to apply the sawn-off shotgun to their own feet, and this time the culprit was their own skipper when Al Kellock was rightly sin-binned for scooping the ball back at a ruck right under the nose of referee Peter Allan with just three minutes of the half remaining. That was just enough to raise the pulse-rate of Edinburgh's fans, and their team responded with a brief flurry of activity that culminated in a Paterson penalty that was the last act of a half that was largely controlled by the visitors.

If Edinburgh turned around closer than they deserved at just five points behind, then there were no obvious signs that Rob Moffat's half-time team talk had injected any urgency at the beginning of the second half. The warning signs were there as soon as the sides kicked off, with Parks registering his only missed penalty within seconds of the restart. The full extent of Glasgow's dominance was underlined after Kellock's return to the field, with Glasgow immediately registering the try which gave them the ten-point lead which turned out to be a match-winning cushion.

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Unlike their first try, which was a team effort, the moment on which the match turned was a moment of virtuosity by Parks, who received the ball on the edge of the Edinburgh 22 and, with a wave of pink shirts about to bear down on him, pivoted and hammered the ball high to the opposite touchline towards Bernardo Stortoni. As Godman desperately scampered across, the Argentine fullback waited for the ball, gathering it and flopping down just in the in-goal area.

Edinburgh briefly looked as if they might stage a comeback when Glasgow's troubled scrum was penalised yet again within moments of Kevin Tkachuk's arrival, and Paterson kicked the penalty, passing the 100-point mark in the league in the process. Yet it was at just that point that Edinburgh imploded, with Ross Ford summing up their day by crassly taking out Colin Gregor, earning himself a yellow card and giving Parks the chance to restore Glasgow's ten-point cushion. With just over ten minutes to go, that effectively killed the match. Paterson's last-ditch penalty may have earned misfiring Edinburgh a bonus point, but it was, as Moffat admitted afterwards, cold comfort on a night of few positives for the capital's finest.

Edinburgh: C Paterson (capt); M Robertson (N De Luca, 50), B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser; P Godman (A Turnbull, 56), R Samson; K Traynor (A Jacobsen, 50), R Ford, G Cross, S MacLeod (C Hamilton, 60), J Hamilton, A Macdonald, R Grant, S Newlands (D Callam, 60).

Glasgow: B Stortoni (R Jackson, 72); DTH Van Der Merwe (H O'Hare, 73), M Evans, G Morrison, T Evans; D Parks, C Cusiter (C Gregor, 57); J Welsh (K Tkachuk, 64), D Hall (F Thomson, 63), M Low, R Gray, A Kellock (capt, D Turner, 57), K Brown, J Barclay, R Vernon (J Beattie, 57.

Scorers: Edinburgh – Pens: Paterson (5). Glasgow – Tries: Van Der Merwe, Stortoni. Pens: Parks (3). DG: Parks.

Referee: Peter Allan