Glasgow Have To Settle For Heineken Draw

Glasgow 19, Montferrand 19Glasgow were only a bitten-fingernail's breadth away from an historic victory in an exciting, high-tension contest at Hughenden tonight. Instead of their first European win against a French club, they had to settle for a draw with Montferrand on the opening evening of the Heineken Cup tournament.With little more than 10 minutes left, Glasgow led 19-9, but the French visitors clawed back to draw level, first with Gerald Merceron's fourth penalty goal and then his conversion of Olivier Magne's last-gasp try. Even then, the boiling excitement was not stilled as a penalty from the restart at halfway gave the depleted home team a hint of salvaging victory.Tommy Hayes was in the sin-bin, as was Jon Stuart. James McLaren, Glasgow's kicker in the stand-off's absence, struck the ball well enough. The kick was long, it was straight, but it was not quite high enough. The French lifted Magne high to block the ball and deny Glasgow a match-winning score.It was a disappointing, deflating end to the match for Glasgow. Victory would have been no less than they deserved.Richie Dixon, Glasgow's head coach, was naturally disappointed, though not only by being denied victory. He criticised his team for conceding too many penalises as well as the three yellow cards shown to Jon Petrie, Stuart, and Hayes. "I think over-enthusiasm caused the referee to step in," the coach suggested, "and there was no need for it because our defence was standing firm."In the first quarter of an hour and more of the second half Glasgow had matched the visitors in fearsome conflict. It was a phase of such intensity that has not been seen in a professional match at Hughenden, even in the famous victory against Llanelli a fortnight ago.Not only in that short time but also over the match Gordon Bulloch set a highly creditable example in driving at the opposition and his appetite for tackling. His game earned him the Heineken Man of the Match award. Gordon Simpson was close by in similar willingness.Glasgow emerged from that third quarter with a 12-6 lead. Hayes had kicked two penalty goals to break the 6-all half-time deadlock. Yet it was hardly enough of a gain from the 13 minutes in which Glasgow held numerical advantage while Alessio Galasso and Alessandro Troncon were successively in the sin-bin.Hayes, however, struck what should have been the telling blow with a try after 70 minutes, and again it was wholehearted vigour that took Glasgow within range of scoring. The forwards added pressure in a close-range scrum, and Kevin Dalzell, Montferrand's American replacement scrum half, could only sclaff his attempted clearance. Hayes was round on the blind side to pounce for the try. Dalzell must have wished he had not left the replacements" bench only three minutes earlier, and Hayes added the conversion, monopolising Glasgow's scoring and extending the lead to 10 points.Yet in the first half such a position had not seemed much of a possibility for Glasgow. Both teams appeared nervous as they opened their European campaigns. The first 40 minutes were littered with misjudgement and turn-overs.Even as early as the second minute of the match Montferrand missed what could well have been a settling try. Magne blocked Andy Nicol's kick on the visitors" 10-metre line, and the French flanker hacked and chased all the way to the goal-line before being narrowly beaten by Donnie Macfadyen's sustained pace in covering back.That set the tone for one head-to-head contest. Macfadyen emerged from the duel of the open-side flankers with more credits than his more illustrious opposite number.However, two Merceron penalty goals gave Montferrand a 6-0 lead after just 11 minutes, but Hayes countered in kind. The home stand-off's first followed drives by Bulloch and Lee Harrison, and the second, close to half-time, was the penalty for the couping of Jon Petrie at the lineout tail.Petrie was sin-binned early in the second half. But Galasso and Troncon then followed, the latter seemingly for feigning injury. The later yellow card for Hayes was even more bizarre - it was apparently for a high tackle, and yet the stand-off seemed to have gone in to try to rip away the ball held chest-high by an opponent.By then, Stuart was in the sin-bin and Merceron had kicked his fourth penalty goal, cutting Glasgow back to 19-12. It meant that Glasgow had to play the last three minutes with only 13 men, and Magne exploited Montferrand's numerical advantage when he ran over on the right and rounded towards the posts to ease Merceron's equalising conversion.However, instead of celebrating his try and his team's escape, Magne threw the ball at an opponent. The referee awarded a restart penalty, turning up the voltage in the mild evening's already highly charged atmosphere. McLaren, newly returned from a blood injury, stepped up for the kick, and the French massed under the posts to lift two jumpers, knowing it was the last act of the match.An inch or two more would have been enough for McLaren's kick. Instead, a Magne hand knocked the ball down as it crossed the bar. A deliberate knock-on? No! The final whistle, and victory denied!Glasgow - Glenn Metcalfe; Jonathan Steel, James McLaren, Andy Henderson, Roland Reid; Tommy Hayes, Andy Nicol (captain); Cameron Blades, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Nathan Ross, Jason White, Gordon Simpson, Donnie Macfadyen, Jon Petrie. Replacements - David Hilton for Harrison (71), Jon Stuart for McLaren (73).Scorer: Try, Hayes; conversion, Hayes; penalty goals, Hayes (4).Montferrand - Jimmy Marlu; Aurelien Rougerie, Johnny N"gaumo, Tony Marsh, David Bory; Gerald Merceron, Alessandro Troncon; Brendan Reidy, Marco Caputo, Alessio Galasso, David Barrier, Eric Lecomte (captain), Alexandre Audebert, Olivier Magne, Elvis Vermeulen. Replacements - Laurent Gomez for Reidy (20), Jan Machacek for Audebert (22), Yves Pedrosa for Lecomte (44-54), Kevin Dalzell for Troncon (66), Pedrosa for Caputo (73), Troy Jaques for Vermeulen (76).Scorers - Try, Magne; conversion, Merceron; penalty goals, Merceron (4).Referee - Alan Lewis (Ireland).Attendance: 5764.Glasgow 19, Montferrand 19Glasgow were only a bitten-fingernail's breadth away from an historic victory in an exciting, high-tension contest at Hughenden tonight. Instead of their first European win against a French club, they had to settle for a draw with Montferrand on the opening evening of the Heineken Cup tournament.With little more than 10 minutes left, Glasgow led 19-9, but the French visitors clawed back to draw level, first with Gerald Merceron's fourth penalty goal and then his conversion of Olivier Magne's last-gasp try. Even then, the boiling excitement was not stilled as a penalty from the restart at halfway gave the depleted home team a hint of salvaging victory.Tommy Hayes was in the sin-bin, as was Jon Stuart. James McLaren, Glasgow's kicker in the stand-off's absence, struck the ball well enough. The kick was long, it was straight, but it was not quite high enough. The French lifted Magne high to block the ball and deny Glasgow a match-winning score.It was a disappointing, deflating end to the match for Glasgow. Victory would have been no less than they deserved.Richie Dixon, Glasgow's head coach, was naturally disappointed, though not only by being denied victory. He criticised his team for conceding too many penalises as well as the three yellow cards shown to Jon Petrie, Stuart, and Hayes. "I think over-enthusiasm caused the referee to step in," the coach suggested, "and there was no need for it because our defence was standing firm."In the first quarter of an hour and more of the second half Glasgow had matched the visitors in fearsome conflict. It was a phase of such intensity that has not been seen in a professional match at Hughenden, even in the famous victory against Llanelli a fortnight ago.Not only in that short time but also over the match Gordon Bulloch set a highly creditable example in driving at the opposition and his appetite for tackling. His game earned him the Heineken Man of the Match award. Gordon Simpson was close by in similar willingness.Glasgow emerged from that third quarter with a 12-6 lead. Hayes had kicked two penalty goals to break the 6-all half-time deadlock. Yet it was hardly enough of a gain from the 13 minutes in which Glasgow held numerical advantage while Alessio Galasso and Alessandro Troncon were successively in the sin-bin.Hayes, however, struck what should have been the telling blow with a try after 70 minutes, and again it was wholehearted vigour that took Glasgow within range of scoring. The forwards added pressure in a close-range scrum, and Kevin Dalzell, Montferrand's American replacement scrum half, could only sclaff his attempted clearance. Hayes was round on the blind side to pounce for the try. Dalzell must have wished he had not left the replacements" bench only three minutes earlier, and Hayes added the conversion, monopolising Glasgow's scoring and extending the lead to 10 points.Yet in the first half such a position had not seemed much of a possibility for Glasgow. Both teams appeared nervous as they opened their European campaigns. The first 40 minutes were littered with misjudgement and turn-overs.Even as early as the second minute of the match Montferrand missed what could well have been a settling try. Magne blocked Andy Nicol's kick on the visitors" 10-metre line, and the French flanker hacked and chased all the way to the goal-line before being narrowly beaten by Donnie Macfadyen's sustained pace in covering back.That set the tone for one head-to-head contest. Macfadyen emerged from the duel of the open-side flankers with more credits than his more illustrious opposite number.However, two Merceron penalty goals gave Montferrand a 6-0 lead after just 11 minutes, but Hayes countered in kind. The home stand-off's first followed drives by Bulloch and Lee Harrison, and the second, close to half-time, was the penalty for the couping of Jon Petrie at the lineout tail.Petrie was sin-binned early in the second half. But Galasso and Troncon then followed, the latter seemingly for feigning injury. The later yellow card for Hayes was even more bizarre - it was apparently for a high tackle, and yet the stand-off seemed to have gone in to try to rip away the ball held chest-high by an opponent.By then, Stuart was in the sin-bin and Merceron had kicked his fourth penalty goal, cutting Glasgow back to 19-12. It meant that Glasgow had to play the last three minutes with only 13 men, and Magne exploited Montferrand's numerical advantage when he ran over on the right and rounded towards the posts to ease Merceron's equalising conversion.However, instead of celebrating his try and his team's escape, Magne threw the ball at an opponent. The referee awarded a restart penalty, turning up the voltage in the mild evening's already highly charged atmosphere. McLaren, newly returned from a blood injury, stepped up for the kick, and the French massed under the posts to lift two jumpers, knowing it was the last act of the match.An inch or two more would have been enough for McLaren's kick. Instead, a Magne hand knocked the ball down as it crossed the bar. A deliberate knock-on? No! The final whistle, and victory denied!Glasgow - Glenn Metcalfe; Jonathan Steel, James McLaren, Andy Henderson, Roland Reid; Tommy Hayes, Andy Nicol (captain); Cameron Blades, Gordon Bulloch, Lee Harrison, Nathan Ross, Jason White, Gordon Simpson, Donnie Macfadyen, Jon Petrie. Replacements - David Hilton for Harrison (71), Jon Stuart for McLaren (73).Scorer: Try, Hayes; conversion, Hayes; penalty goals, Hayes (4).Montferrand - Jimmy Marlu; Aurelien Rougerie, Johnny N"gaumo, Tony Marsh, David Bory; Gerald Merceron, Alessandro Troncon; Brendan Reidy, Marco Caputo, Alessio Galasso, David Barrier, Eric Lecomte (captain), Alexandre Audebert, Olivier Magne, Elvis Vermeulen. Replacements - Laurent Gomez for Reidy (20), Jan Machacek for Audebert (22), Yves Pedrosa for Lecomte (44-54), Kevin Dalzell for Troncon (66), Pedrosa for Caputo (73), Troy Jaques for Vermeulen (76).Scorers - Try, Magne; conversion, Merceron; penalty goals, Merceron (4).Referee - Alan Lewis (Ireland).Attendance: 5764.