Lukewarm Bath scrape home
Brave Dragons edged out in low-scoring encounter at The Rec
Last Updated: 19/10/08 7:59pm
Higgins: Decisive try
Bath bounced back from last week's heartbreaking defeat to Toulouse with a hard-fought 13-9 Heineken Cup victory over Newport-Gwent Dragons at The Rec.
The defiant Dragons put in a stoic defensive display and picked up a losing bonus point for their efforts, as they head back to Wales with their heads held high despite the defeat.
A solitary try from Andrew Higgins in the 67th minute proved decisive in a match dominated in the midfield.
In front of another capacity crowd, the early exchanges belonged to the home side as Steve Meehan's men looked to put their 18-16 loss to Toulouse behind them and take a first Pool Five victory.
Bath's sustained pressure was rewarded with two Butch James penalties as an action-packed but low-scoring opening 40 minutes ended with the home side 6-0 ahead.
The second half began as the first had finished, with the Dragons putting their bodies on the line as Bath struggled to find a cutting edge to pierce the stubborn Welsh defence.
Newport continued to flood the breakdown and turn the ball over and they were on the scoreboard soon after the restart when Peter Short was guilty of holding onto the ball. James Arlidge kicked the three points.
For all the Dragons' brave defending, their resistance was eventually broken 13 minutes from the end when Higgins squeezed his way over the line following a concerted spell of Bath pressure.
James booted over his eighth point of the afternoon from a tight angle as the home side opened up a 10-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
However, Dragons responded well to the setback and hit back instantly through the boot of replacement Shaun Connor to reduce to deficit to 13-6 - just a converted score away from victory.
The momentum was now well and truly with the Welsh outfit and Connor added his second penalty with four minutes remaining to set up a tight finish.
However, despite plenty of huffing and puffing in the frantic final stages, Bath soaked up the pressure and James found touch to ensure the four points stayed in the West Country.