Pro12: Edinburgh 17-20 Ulster
|Edinburgh (14) 17|
|Try: Burleigh Pens: Heathcote 4|
|Ulster (10) 20|
|Tries: Pienaar, D. Cave. Cons: Pienaar 2 Pens: Pienaar 2.|
Ulster did just enough to see off Edinburgh in a turgid Pro12 match marred by infringements and errors.
Centre Phil Burleigh opened the scoring for the hosts but his touchdown was cancelled out by Ruan Pienaar's try.
The South African scrum-half landed 15 points, while Tom Heathcote's six missed attempts at goal cost Edinburgh.
Darren Cave crossed for Ulster in the second half, but Stuart McCloskey's red card and Franco van der Merwe's yellow almost sparked a late home rally.
After sustaining an early barrage of Ulster offence, a thunderous 30m burst from hooker Neil Cochrane set up field position for the hosts, with Mike Coman exploiting the blind side smartly to send Burleigh in at the corner flag. Heathcote pushed the conversion.
Ulster hit back almost immediately through Pienaar, who plunged over from point-blank range after a powerful Iain Henderson carry, and added the simple conversion.
Heathcote snatched at a penalty that would have edged Edinburgh ahead again, but made no mistake with his third attempt from almost the same patch of turf barely a minute later.
Winger Dougie Fife spurned an opportunity to hack a loose ball downfield towards the unguarded in-goal area in slapstick fashion as he stumbled and fell face-first to ground, and Heathcote hit the post with another long-range penalty.
The fly-half then traded strikes with Pienaar, before the industrious Cochrane's graft at the breakdown yielded three more points for Edinburgh.
Heathcote missed for the fourth time as his kick from halfway fell short just after the break, and Jack Cuthbert inexplicably fumbled a ball into touch metres from his own line, heaping pressure upon the hosts, who survived at the expense of another Pienaar penalty.
More slack play from Cuthbert handed Ulster possession in Edinburgh's half again - Nick Williams flattened WP Nel and sent Cave over.
Pienaar converted, and Heathcote was wide yet again with another penalty, but Ulster were to face the last quarter minus McCloskey, who saw red for a dangerous clear-out on Hamish Watson that upended the flanker.
Heathcote cut the gap to three with another penalty, but failed once again when presented with a chance to level the scores.
Edinburgh laid siege to the depleted Ulster ranks. Van der Merwe was sin-binned for taking Ollie Atkins in the air as the visiting penalty count soared.
But Alan Solomons' side could not engineer a route past the 13 men. Hugh Blake's scramble for the line, the ball squirting from his grasp a metre short, was as close as they came.
Edinburgh: Jack Cuthbert, Dougie Fife, Sam Beard, Phil Burleigh, Tim Visser, Tom Heathcote, Grayson Hart; Rory Sutherland, Neil Cochrane, WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Ben Toolis, Roddy Grant, Hamish Watson, Mike Coman (capt).
Replacements: Replacements: Strauss for Burleigh (67), Shiells for Sutherland (71), Andress for W. Nel (59), Atkins for B. Toolis (41), Blake for Grant (41). Not Used: Hilterbrand, Fowles, Te Rure.
Ulster: Louis Ludik, Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Michael Allen, Ian Humphreys, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Rob Herring, Wiehahn Herbst, Iain Henderson, Franco van der Merwe, Roger Wilson (capt), Mike McComish, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Nelson for Allen (66), P. Marshall for Humphreys (67), B. Ross for Herbst (67), Stevenson for Henderson (54), C. Ross for McComish (68). Not Used: J. Andrew, Warwick, L. Marshall.