A LAST-MINUTE try condemned Glasgow to an undeserved defeat in this friendly, but there was still a lot for the Warriors to celebrate as fans returned to Scotstoun for the first time in 19 months.

There was a scoring second debut by Duncan Weir, for example, five years after his last appearance for his hometown club. Close-season recruit Sione Tuipulotu also showed up well in midfield, forming what looks to be a promising partnership with Stafford McDowall, whose defensive work was excellent. 

With impressive outings by the likes of Logan Trotter too, Glasgow coach Danny Wilson was relatively pleased by the performance if not the result. “The first thing is it’s brilliant to have the fans here, and brilliant to have an atmosphere in the ground,” the head
coach said. 

“I was a little bit disappointed in that last try for the result not to go our way. I thought the amount of opportunities we created, especially in the first 50 minutes - we’ve got to put some of those away. On another day we will. We were a little bit rusty in
a pre-season friendly, but there were lots of encouraging things and we got lots of contact under our belt ready for the next game.”

Newcastle’s big men dominated the opening exchanges, but the visitors were denied an early score through a combination of solid defence and their own inability to make use of an overlap on their right. By contrast, the Warriors had no such problems, and opened the scoring with their first real chance midway through the first half.

Johnny Matthews did the initial damage with a break from midfield, Stafford McDowall took it on, and Weir finished off then added the conversion. Falcons openside Will Welch was then sent to the sinbin for taking out Sean Kennedy after the scrum-half had chipped ahead, and Glasgow were immediately back on the offensive. 

But their first chance to take advantage of the extra man was snuffed out when Kiran McDonald was halted metres short of the line, and their second ended when Lewis Bean just failed to touch down. Restored to their full complement, Newcastle were able to see out the rest of the half without further loss.

Stirling County winger Trotter was the first Glasgow substitute to come off the bench - replacing Ratu Tagive who sustained a suspected broken jaw - and the Super6 player was soon involved in the action on both sides of the field. In fact, for a split second after he crossed from right to left he seemed sure to score, but Rufus McLean’s pass inside was picked off by a Falcons defender instead.

With under quarter of an hour to play we at last had another score - for Newcastle. Callum Chick intercepted on halfway, and made it all the way to the line. Will Haydon-Wood converted and the scores were level.

Glasgow could have gone for goal with a penalty as time ran out, but they went for a lineout instead and lost possession when the maul broke down. That was the home side’s last scoring opportunity, but not the Falcons’. 

With the clock inside the final minute, a sudden break sent George Wacokecoke clear, and the centre touched down in the left corner. The conversion was missed and the final whistle sounded.

Next stop for Wilson’s side is Worcester on Friday, while Newcastle play Edinburgh at Murrayfield a week today.