Ulster make it two from two in Guinness PRO14 with laboured win vver Ospreys

Jacob Stockdale comes up short from the try line against Ospreys
Jacob Stockdale comes up short from the try line against Ospreys

ULSTER 8 OSPREYS 0

A last minute try from Irish international winger Jacob Stockdale secured another valuable win for Ulster in their quest to make the Guinness PRO14 final series.

Ulster had dominated the game throughout but were unable to add anything to a seventh minute penalty from John Cooney inspite of spending the entire second half in the Opsreys half.

The Welsh side had defending manly, but it was from their attack in the final minute that a pass went lose and expert poacher Stockdale pounched on the bouncing ball and raced in for an unconverted try.

The win puts Ulster four points behind Edinburgh with the same number of games played. However, Ulster have a game in hand against Glasgow on April 21 at Kingspan Stadium, they will now look to Scarlets to win at Murrayfield on Saturday and keep that play-off door open.

Ulster had started positively, keeping the momentum they had finished with last week's win on Edinburgh, and after seven minutes were rewarded with a penalty chance which scrumhalf John Cooney slotted over for a 3-0 lead.

Jacob Stockdale almost went over in the corner but that was as good as it got for Ulster after a blistering start.

Poor positional kicking from outhalf Johnny McPhillips and a litany of handling errors gave Ospreys plenty of possession, but they were unable to make any good use of it. Dan Bigger waas well off target with a kickable penalty on 22 minutes.

McPhillips' last act was to watch a drop goal attempt on 28 minutes go wide, he came off for an HIA, Cooney moved to outhalf with Dave Shanahan the replacement to come on at outhalf.

Ospreys looked to have scored a try through Kiernan Fonotia, but a video review was called and it was chalked off and Ulster were awarded a penalty after Alum-Wyn Jones had neck rolled Ian Henderson at a ruck which led to the move for the try.

Ulster went on the offensive and looked to making inroads for a try under the posts, only to give away a foolish penalty three minutes from the end. They were back in the corner with a series of penalties, but contrived to lose the lineout.

Ulster totally dominated the third quarter, but failed to get by an Ospreys defence which scrambled for everything.

Had Ulster perhaps opted to kick their penalty awayrd, they could have been 15-0 ahead.

Instead and even having a man extra from the 58th minute when Ospreys winger was sin-binned for an offence at a ruck, Ulster spurned chance after chance and inevitably a mistake gave the Welsh side the respite they needed.

Having spent 68 minutes in the Ospreys 'half, Ulster looked to have found the breakthrough. Stockdale chipped the ball down the line and replacement backrow Nick Timoney skinned Ospreys centre Owen Watkin, dived on the loose ball and looked to have crossed in control of the ball. A lengthy TMO( review ensured, the score chalked off and at the same time the Welsh side were restored to full strength again.

More pressure from Ulster again went unrewarded the Ospreys defence job made easier by unforced Ulster errors.

And with a minute left on the clock, the Ospreys finally managed to cross the half way line. It was the turn of the Ulster defence to show their worth.

Instead, Stockdale pounced on a loose bouncing ball from a poor pass and raced away to seal the victory for Ulster - Cooney unable to add the extras. but that mattered little.