Ulster endured a frustrating night at Murrayfield on Friday as they lost ground on the Magners League leaders, going down 24-10 to a competitive Edinburgh side.
Much to the delight of the home fans, Edinburgh finally cut loose and ended a run of five successive league defeats. Indeed, this was their first victory over Irish opposition since last January so Henry Edwards’ men had good reason to celebrate at the home of Scottish rugby – despite missing out on a bonus point.
The damage was done in the first half as Edinburgh built up a 14-0 lead by the half-time interval. Both teams opened nervously and Ulster out-half Niall O’Connor, playing in his first away game in the league, was wide of the mark from an early penalty kick.
Edinburgh gradually took control in the loose and they worked centre John Houston over for an excellent try in the 16th-minute. After an initial surge at the try line from winger Andrew Turnbull, the Scots kept the heat on the former champions and Turnbull was again involved as he side-stepped past two tacklers to send Houston cantering over under the posts.
Godman converted and although they continued to look the more likely to score, some strong defence from Ulster kept them out until the 29th-minute when referee James Jones awarded Edinburgh a much-disputed penalty try.
Turnbull looked to have been legitimately stopped just short of the Ulster whitewash but the referee ruled that Scottish international Simon Danielli and his fellow winger Mark McCrea had deliberately killed the ball to prevent Edinburgh from nabbing their second try.
Ulster made their protests but a penalty try was awarded and Godman made it a seven-pointer.
The concession of that score seemed to spark Ulster into life and while they could not convert pressure into points shortly before half-time, the second half was only three minutes’ old when O’Connor floated over his first and only successful penalty kick of the night.
Turnbull went from creator to try scorer in the 55th-minute when a kick and chase attack led to him galloping over for a converted try.
21-3 in front, Edinburgh then leaked a seven-pointer to Ulster replacement Mark Bartholomeusz but Ulster failed to score in the final quarter as the Scots managed to beat the men in white for only the second time since September 2002.
Ill-discipline crept into the game in the closing ten minutes as Edinburgh had lock Ben Gissing yellow carded and to compound Ulster’s woes, they had lock Ryan Caldwell sent off in injury-time for an off-the-ball stamp.
Edinburgh had threatened briefly to score a fourth try but some poor finishing let them down and replacement Alistair Warnock’s late penalty proved to be the final scoring act of an entertaining game.