Ulster come up short in Edinburgh
EDINBURGH 16 ULSTER 10
Edinburgh extended their unbeaten run in the Guinness PRO12 to four matches when they saw off Ulster in a tight encounter at Murrayfield.
Neither side ever exerted complete control on the proceedings and the outcome hung in the balance right to the final whistle.
The Scottish outfit's points came from a try from Hamish Watson, converted by Greig Tonks, who also weighed in with three penalties, while Ulster's points came through a try from flanker Sean Reidy, which was converted by Peter Nelson, who had slotted a penalty earlier in the game.
Edinburgh had been forced into two late changes with prop Allan Dell stepping up from the bench to replace Rory Sutherland Andress and Murdo McAndrew taking the place of Sean Kennedy among the substitutes.
Paul Marshall was given the honour of leading out Ulster on his 150th appearance and proceeded to play a key role in the proceedings.
The Scots opened the scoring after four minutes when Tonks booted a penalty from the Ulster 10 metre line.
That proved to be catalyst for the home side to enjoy a spell in the ascendancy who doubled their tally in the 18th minute when Tonks was again on target with a penalty.
Ulster's first assault on the home line almost produced a try but the referee brought play back for an offence at a maul and Nelson steered the kick between the sticks to cut the deficit in half.
Attacks at both ends came close to breaking through, but neither side managed to add to their points tally and the hosts went in at half-time with a slender three point advantage.
Marshall sparked the game into life four minutes after the restart with a deft chip which he regathered before racing into the home 22 where Ulster used the recycled ball to edge ever closer to the home line and create the platform for Reidy to force his way over. Nelson added the extras.
Edinburgh had struggled to create try scoring opportunities but finally pieced together an incisive move with 55 minutes on the clock.
Watson started a counter attack from inside the Edinburgh half and was on hand to take a scoring pass from Nasi Manu and touch down. Tonks continued his flawless kicking to add the extra two points.
A penalty inside the home 22 presented a chance for Ulster to square matters but they opted to go for touch and subsequently squandered the scoring opportunity.
Tonks added a further three points to the Edinburgh tally with his third penalty then, with 10 minutes to play, he recorded his first miss of the night.
Ulster mounted a final effort and earned a penalty with less than a minute to play.
The home defence held out to secure the win and leave Ulster with only a narrow defeat bonus point for their efforts.