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 Friday, 17 January, 2003, 21:13 GMT
Ulster win keeps slim hopes alive
Ben Cohen was Northampton's try-scorer against Ulster
Northampton's Ben Cohen on the attack against Ulster
Heineken Cup: Pool Six
Ulster 16-13 Northampton



David Humphreys snatched victory for Ulster on Friday - but it was not enough to stop Northampton winning the group and qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Ulster, though, still have a chance of going through with them - albeit an outside one.

If Cardiff avoid defeat against Biarritz on Saturday and other results go Ulster's way they could still sneak through as one of the two best runners-up.

If Biarritz win, they will hope to get one of those slots.

Match details:
Ulster 16 (7)
Try: McMillan
Pen: Doak
Con: Humphreys
DG: Humphreys 2
Northampton 13 (3)
Try: Cohen
Pens: Grayson 2
Cons: Grayson

Ulster secured their win in the dying seconds of the match after the teams went into stoppage time level at 13-13.

Humphreys, who had earlier missed four penalties, landed his second drop goal of the night to give Ulster a hat-trick of home wins in this season's Heineken Cup.

England winger Ben Cohen had looked like being the Saints hero with a stunning try early in the second half.

Ulster had been on top up to that point but Cohen's jinking run to the line stunned the Ravenhill crowd.

Humphreys may have been off form with penalties, but he did land two drop goals and converted Neil McMillan's try which opened the scoring on 20 minutes.

McMillan forced his way over after a sustained period of pressure from the Ulster pack.

Ravenhill is one of the most difficult places in Europe to come - but we still could have won the game

Wayne Smith
Northampton coach

Paul Grayson clawed three points back with a 27th-minute penalty to leave the half-time score 7-3 to the Irish province.

Grayson then converted Cohen's try to put Northampton 10-7 ahead and his second penalty on 67 minutes cancelled out Humphreys' drop goal

Scrum-half Neil Doak made it 13-13 with a penalty before Humphreys struck the decisive drop goal.

Ulster coach Alan Solomons heaped lavish praise on his pack afterwards.

"Of all the sides I have been around, including the Springboks, the first half was the best performance by a pack I have ever seen," said Solomons.

"It was disciplined, determined and highly-skilled.

"If we had managed to convert our territorial possession into points, just maybe the dream could have come true."


Ulster: B Cunningham, J Topping, Constable, Stewart, Coulter, Humphreys, Doak, Kempson, Sexton, Best, Longwell, Davidson, Ward, McMillen, McWhirter.

Replacements: Fitzpatrick, Shields, Blair, Nelson, Campbell, J Cunningham, Young.

Northampton: Beal, Brooks, Jorgensen, Leslie, Cohen, Grayson, Dawson, Smith, Thompson, Morris, Williams, Hunter, Seely, Soden, Connors.

Replacements: Richmond, Budgen, Todd, Phillips, Vass, Tucker, Sleightholme.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Ulster's Jeremy Davidson
"There was a great atmosphere tonight"
 Ulster coach Alan Solomons
"This is the best win we have had"
 Ulster's David Humphreys
"There is a real resolve in the side"

Heineken Cup

Parker Pen Cup

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