Bourgoin 16 Glasgow 3
Depleted Glasgow’s bid to become the first Scottish side to claim a Heineken Cup triumph in France were dashed by Bourgoin – despite a gutsy and committed display at the Stade Pierre Rajon.
They were unlucky to be trailing by three points at the interval and were unable to respond when the streetwise locals surged in the second half.
Possession and territory were even in the nervy opening sparring session with Bourgoin failing to make any immediate impact with their maul-and-drive ploys.
Glasgow were more keen to keep the ball moving through hands and they exerted some pressure with a superb touch-finder from Dan Parks.
They stole the lineout, only to surrender the ball seconds later.
Young number eight John Beattie, one of the makeshift breakaway unit, was showing up prominently in the first quarter but tended to become isolated from his support runners.
The Warriors maintained their strong work and deservedly edged in front with a well-executed penalty by Parks.
Graeme Morrison, making his first full appearance of the season at centre, powered across halfway before finding Hefin O’Hare with a clever flip pass.
O’Hare was hauled to the deck, but his tackler prevented release of the ball and Parks was straight and true from more than 40 metres.
The Frenchmen were on level terms four minutes later as Benjamin Boyet replied with an identical score for a rucking offence just a pace or two inside the Glasgow half.
But it was the visitors who continued to look the hungrier outfit and the determination and direct running of Beattie was again underlined when he made promising ground from the back of a lineout.
He was brought down by flanker Aurelien Diotallevi, who was winded by the impact and had to go off for treatment from his medics.
Glasgow doctor Gerry Haggerty was also in action to attend to Parks following a head-knock, but the captain recovered quickly.
The drama hotted up in the approach to the interval with Warriors being denied a try by the TV referee – and Bourgoin snatching the lead against the run of play with the last kick of the half.
Colin Shaw had stretced the home defence with a tantalising chip to the right-hand corner. Morrison emerged from the pile of bodies with the ball, claiming the touchdown – but the replay was inconclusive and the score was refused.
Glasgow stepped up the momentum even further with John Barclay having a tilt at the line, only to be penalised for a late tackle shortly afterwards.
Bourgoin failed to clear their lines, giving Shaw a chance to break into the danger zone.
But this time the ball was turned over, allowing the home defenders to boot the ball to the other end of the ground. Prop Kevin Tkachuk was spotted impeding a rival chaser and to the frustration of the visitors Boyet landed the kick.
The strike acted as a spur to the locals and they stepped up the tempo after the restart. Boyet launched a long-range drop-goal attempt which crashed back from the junction of post and crossbar.
Then Glasgow suffered a significant double setback. First, Beattie limped off with a damaged leg after a collision and was replaced by Gregor Hayter.
And six minutes later Bourgoin manufactured a try which stemmed from a lethal break by Boyet. He fired out a long and looping pass to winger David Janin, who had time and space to cruise to the target. Boyet added the conversion.
There was another alarm for the Warriors when the pacy Janin latched on to a pass from O’Hare and appeared to win the race to the corner. This time Glasgow received the benefit of the doubt on the screen rerun.
The Scots were still earning plenty of possession in the midfield areas, but never looked like putting any real pressure on the Bourgoin defence.
And their prospects of mounting a late fightback were effectively snuffed out when substitute Nic Carmona confidently thumped over a penalty just two minutes after entering the fray.