Ulster got back to winning ways in the Guinness PRO12 and moved up one place to fourth but they were made to scrap every inch of the way by Connacht on Boxing Day.
Pat Lam’s visitors could have even snatched their first win in Belfast since 1960, but a tight and fairly dire affair ended 13-10 in the hosts’ favour.
The entire game on a wet and cold night saw just two tries, with Ulster winger Craig Gilroy getting over in the first half and then Connacht second row Aly Muldowney crashing over in the second 40 minutes.
Ulster had led 10-3 at the break, but the westerners came back and, although they made off with a losing bonus point, will be rightly disappointed at not getting more from this one in a game which saw both sides missing front-line Ireland players who had been rested.
The result halted Ulster’s losing run of having been beaten in three of their previous four games, and got Neil Doak’s men back on track towards their aim of making the play-offs - even though the performance was well short of where it should have been.