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Edinburgh prevail at Murrayfield fortress

26th November 2010 22:46

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Edinburgh: Survived early scare

Edinburgh claimed their fourth straight home Magners League win by beating Connacht 24-19 on a bracing Friday night at Murrayfield.

It wasn't the most fluid of performances, but Rob Moffat's side showed impressive grit and determination to see off dogged opponents and give themselves a positive platform to take into next Saturday's trip to Swansea to face Ospreys.

Edinburgh initially struggled to get into things as they would have liked. Connacht enjoyed the lion's share of territory and possession in the opening 15 minutes, winning a morale-boosting penalty when the Edinburgh scrum was pinged and then creating an overlap on the left hand side which winger Brian Tuohy exploited to land the first score of the night.

Miah Nikora missed the conversion, but these were worrying times for Edinburgh, and things immediately went from bad to worse. As Connacht again managed to get numbers on their left, Nikora sent up a challenging cross-kick that Tuohy managed to collect and touch down one handed. Nikora's conversion hit the upright and bounced clear.

The Murrayfield crowd were stunned by this double concession, but were impressive in seeking to rally the players with encouragement from the sidelines.

This support had the desired effect in the 25th minute, when Chris Paterson stepped up to secure Edinburgh's first points of the evening with a straightforward penalty.

Tim Visser then went on a rousing, mazy run that had the Connacht defence scrambling to cover, but no further incursion on the scoreboard was forthcoming until fellow back-three man Paterson jinked through himself to finish Edinburgh's first move of any slickness with a welcome five-pointer. The full-back was successful with the conversion, bringing the scores level at 10-10.

Edinburgh went into the lead for the first time in the 44th minute when Paterson banged over a penalty awarded for Connacht holding on. David Blair extended this advantage five minutes later with another three-pointer, the fly-half assuming kicking duties as Paterson received attention from the Edinburgh physios.

The hosts were, by this stage, much improved from their shaky start and soon gave themselves a bit of breathing space when Jim Thompson combined intelligently with fellow winger Visser out left and the Dutchman sprinted the remaining metres to cross for his seventh try of the campaign.

Paterson was just out with his conversion attempt from out on the left touchline, and there was relief in the air round Murrayfield as Connacht full-back Gavin Duffy's fine attempt to get hands on the ball as it dribbled towards the corner flag marginally failed. Play was brought back for an earlier offence, and Nikora reduced the deficit to eight points with a penalty from in front of the posts.

There was further nervousness for the home support when Connacht replacement Ian Keatley slotted over another penalty. However Paterson soon cancelled it out with one of his own from 23m range.

Edinburgh were reduced to 14 men in the 69th minute, captain Roddy Grant being sent to the sin-bin for going off his feet. The penalty awarded at the same incident was smacked off the upright by Keatley, but the visitors instantly won another at a scrum and Keatley made no mistake this time.

There was plenty of defending to do for Edinburgh in the closing stages, but they held firm to seal the deal.

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