Tries from Hanno Dirksen and Kahn Fotuali'I weren't enough to see the Ospreys to victory as Glasgow held on to secure the victory despite a late Ospreys rally.
It was a disappointing evening at the Liberty Stadium, when the hosts had to settle for a losing bonus point that had seemed unlikely with five minutes to go.
The Ospreys created the first opening of the evening, Rhys Webb showing great awareness to take a quick tap penalty just inside his own half, racing through a gap in the Glasgow defence and carrying deep into enemy territory before offloading to Hanno Dirksen. The young wing went for the corner only to be hauled into touch inches short by Colin Shaw.
At the other end, Glasgow’s Federico Aramburu broke through Andrew Bishop’s midfield tackle, making good ground before being stopped close to the 22. However, an offence at the breakdown by Joe Bearman allowed Ruaridh Jackson to nudge his team ahead.
The Scots lead lasted less than 60 seconds though, the Ospreys securing the restart and then moving it quickly along the backline to Dirksen who crashed his way through a half-hearted challenge by David Lemi on the 10m line before outpacing the cover to score under the posts, Dan Biggar converting.
An entertaining opening quarter then saw Glasgow retake the lead after Eli Walker was penalised for tackling Ryan Wilson in the air as they both went for a high ball. The Scots put the ball in the corner, from where the Ospreys were unable to stop their opponents rumbling over from the resulting lineout, tighthead prop John Welsh dabbing down. Jackson’s conversion made it 10-7 in Glasgow’s favour.
An overthrown Glasgow lineout fell favourably for the visitors, centre Alex Dunbar gathering and charging forward. Although the Ospreys were able to regroup close to their line, hands in the ruck from skipper Tom Smith resulted in a penalty to Glasgow, which Jackson duly slotted over, and 10 minutes in the bin for Smith.
With the Ospreys a man short, Glasgow stretched play the width of the pitch, looking for the inevitable defensive gap. Dunbar was the first to punch a hole in the line, before offloading to Shaw, coming infield from the right wing. Biggar and James King made valiant attempts to hold him up as he went for the line but the TMO needed only a cursory glance to confirm the score, Jackson’s conversion taking the score to 20-7 in the visitors favour.
Biggar then slotted over a long-range penalty from close to halfway, before good counter attacking rugby from the hosts saw them working them moving the ball through the hands, Ross Jones and Richard Hibbard carrying well, before a knock-on in midfield brought the first half to a close.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 10 GLASGOW 20
Back up to 15, the Ospreys began the second brightly, looking to keep the ball alive whenever possible, but it was the reliable boot of Biggar that reduced the deficit to seven in the 47th minute after Glasgow were pinged at the breakdown.
Almost instantly, Glasgow were offered the chance to hit back after the Assistant Referee spotted an offence by Joe Rees at a scrum, but Jackson was unable to find the target from close to the left touchline.
However, the Ospreys immediately played themselves into trouble, Dirksen’s over enthusiasm at the restart seeing him lose possession on the 22, allowing Glasgow to flood forward. Although the Ospreys were able to hold them out, hands at the ruck saw Jackson given another chance, this time right in front of the posts, and he made no mistake.
As the hour mark approached referee Neil Paterson, from Scotland, incurred the wrath of the home fans after awarding a penalty against Sam Lewis at the scrum, Jackson missing what had seemed a straightforward kick.
What was proving a difficult evening for the Ospreys got even tougher when Ryan Bevington was show a yellow card with 16 minutes left to go for driving through and taking out Welsh at the lineout as he lifted his jumper, Jackson putting over the penalty to take his side 13 clear.
With the numerical advantage, Glasgow again looked to stretch the Ospreys, and Peter Murchie thought he had scythed his way through to score only to be pulled back for blocking. In the aftermath of that decision, Glasgow captain Alastair Kellock found himself joining Bevington on the sidelines after a tussle with Ian Gough.
With time running out the Ospreys were desperately looking for a bonus point score, and a sharp break from Beck, with Biggar, Kahn Fotuali’i and Matthew Morgan in support, took them from one end of the pitch to the other, where a tip tackle by John Beattie on Dirksen resulted in second Glasgow yellow, which meant with Bevington returning they had two extra men.
From the resulting penalty lineout, the Ospreys played it tight and rumbled over the line, Fotuali’y grounding, Biggar’s conversion bringing them back to within six points with four and a half minutes to go.
Try as they might, the Ospreys were unable to get out of their own half as the clock ticked down, and would have been relieved to hold onto their bonus point after Jackson again missed what looked a kickable penalty with time up, a kick that would have taken the visitors nine points clear.