Glasgow make it five in a row to leave Ulster with uphill task
Closing games home to Leinster and away to Munster lie ahead
Ulster’s Nick Williams finds his path is blocked during the RaboDirect pro 12 game against Glasgow at Scotstoun Stadium. Photograph: Rob Hardie/Inpho/Presseye
Glasgow 27 Ulster 9: An outstanding performance from Glasgow Warriors took their unbeaten run to five matches as they beat Ulster at Scotstoun while also moving them to within a point of their second-placed opponents in the RaboDirect Pro12.
Ulster appeared to have taken hold of the game with three penalties by Paddy Jackson in the middle of the first half but he had an important miss in the 31st minute and Glasgow closed the half with a fine try from Sean Maitland.
The conversion by Finn Russell added to his earlier penalty allowing Glasgow to go in leading 10-9 and they dominated the second half, scoring tries through Tommy Seymour and man of the match Mark Bennett, with Russell converting both and adding a penalty.
Glasgow can now look forward to an exciting end to the regular season as they seek a top-two finish, with a previously-postponed home game against Edinburgh next Saturday followed by Treviso away and Zebre back at Scotstoun.
The pressure is now on Ulster to retain a top-two place to ensure they get a home tie in the play-offs. They have the difficult all-Irish run-in of Leinster at home and Munster away to wrap up the regular season.
On a beautiful Glasgow spring evening the first scoring chance fell to Ulster number 10 Jackson but he sliced his effort from a central position on the home 10-metre line.
Glasgow looked the more likely at this stage with good work from Maitland and Seymour.
In the ninth minute fullback Peter Murchie broke to the Ulster 22, won a penalty which was tapped and when interfered with, the advanced penalty was hit home by Russell.
Ulster were sloppy but as the first quarter ended they got their act together.
The renowned Glasgow defence was put under pressure and three close-in penalties were conceded, struck home by Jackson in the 21st, 25th and 28th minutes.
Jackson missed a tricky penalty in the 31st minute and Glasgow hit back in the closing minutes of the half to go in ahead.
But Glasgow kept the pressure on and a wonderful pass from youngster Russell put in Maitland for a 40th-minute try converted by Russell.
Within 10 minutes of the restart Glasgow led 20-9.
First Russell kicked a penalty, with Ulster flanker Sean Doyle sin-binned.
Then a Glasgow lineout drive, with backs attached, ended with one-time Ulster winger Seymour getting the touchdown and Russell converting from the touchline.
Ulster came back and Andrew Trimble was cut down under the Glasgow bar before a lineout drive was referred to the television adjudicator, only to be disallowed.
Glasgow, boosted by their defensive effort, got upfield and following a lineout drive, centre Bennett came back against the grain to reach the line. Again the TV official was given work to do and this time he awarded the try, which Russell converted.
Glasgow closed out the game in the Ulster half, with only a fine tackle from Trimble preventing them from getting the try bonus point.
GLASGOW: P Murchie; S Maitland, M Bennett, P Horne, T Seymour; F Russell, C Cusiter; G Reid, D Hall, J Welsh; T Swinson, J Gray; J Strauss, C Fusaro, R Wilson. Replacements: R Grant for Reid (50 mins), P MacArthur for Hall (59 mins), G Cross for Welsh, L Nakarawa for Gray (both 60 mins), R Harley for Fusaro (65 mins), N Matawalu for Seymour (74 mins), R Vernon for Horne (76 mins),R Jackson for Maitland (77 mins).
ULSTER: R Andrew; T Bowe, D Cave, L Marshall, A Trimble; P Jackson, P Marshall; T Court, R Herring, R Lutton; J Muller, I Henderson; C Henry, S Doyle, N Williams. Replacements: D Fitzpatrick for Lutton (46 mins), L Stevenson for Henderson ( both 46 mins), A Warwick for Court (50 mins), N Annett for Herring (68 mins), M McComish for Muller (69 mins), M Heaney for P Marshall (70 mins), C Gilroy for Bowe (both 70 mins).
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland).