Heineken heartbreak for gutsy Glasgow

Matt Banahan inflicted another dose of Heineken Cup heartbreak on gutsy Glasgow with a try double at Firhill.

Glasgow Warriors 19 Bath 25

Matt Banahan inflicted another dose of Heineken Cup heartbreak on gutsy Glasgow with a try double at Firhill.

The winger broke through in each half to keep alive his side’s hopes of reaching the knock-out rounds of the competition.

The Warriors had looked capable of snatching pride-boosting revenge for the previous weekend – but Banahan emerged as the chief spoiler.

Glasgow had suffered a crushing blow in the build-up to the kick-off when chief dangerman Thom Evans was forced out of the tie with an ankle injury.

Evans had bagged a hat-trick of tries to earn the man-of-the-match prize against Bath at The Rec.

His late withdrawal resulted in a call-up for Hefin O’Hare, with new Argentinian recruit Jose Piossek filling the bench berth.

The action was disjointed in the opening sparring session with the recalled Scotland playmaker Dan Parks swapping penalties with opposite number Butch James.

And James was to remain in the spotlight for varying reasons over the following few minutes.

First, the South African World Cup hero unleashed a perfectly-weighted cross-kick for Banahan to claim the first touchdown.

James was wide with the angled conversion – then committed a fearful blunder to present Glasgow with a try at the other end.

He lost control when under no significant pressure, allowing Colin Gregor to pounce from close quarters.

The scrum-half hacked the ball over the line and followed up to get the vital touch and the home fans roared their approval as Parks banged over the conversion to put his team ahead.

Even better was to come for the Warriors when Parks confidently added a penalty.

They had to change their formation on the half-hour mark when Piossek replaced winger Lome Fa’atau, who had taken a knock.

Both teams carved out further try chances in the approach to the break, but defences were on top.

Bath looked more spirited after the restart and it was no surprise when they created a fine second score.

Following a series of patient and well-controlled phases, centre Shaun Berne was in the right place at the right time to finish in style and tie the contest.

But Parks immediately reclaimed the advantage for the Warriors with his third penalty.

As in last weekend’s tussle, play was flowing from end to end and Bath seized the initiative again midway through the half through the bulky Banahan.

But a high challenge by James on Max Evans gave sub Ruaridh Jackson the penalty.

Then came the moment the Glasgow fans were fearing as Joe Maddock skidded over for the clincher – James finding his boot form to land the goal.

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