Pro14: Ulster 16-8 Connacht

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Pro14: Stockdale try sparks Ulster's win over Connacht
Guinness Pro14: Ulster v Connacht
Ulster: (3) 16
Try: Stockdale Con: Cooney Pen: Cooney 3
Connacht: (5) 8
Try: McCartney Pen: Carty

Ulster recovered from their first defeat of the season by Zebre to see off Connacht in a tightly contested match at the Kingspan Stadium.

Connacht, without a win in Belfast for 57 years, held a two-point interval advantage thanks to a try from Kiwi hooker Tom McCartney.

But Ulster fought back for the win and are top of the Pro14's Conference B.

Winger Jacob Stockdale scored a brilliant 56th-minute try after superb work by Charles Piutau.

Former Connacht player John Cooney landed three penalties and converted Stockdale's try to deny the struggling western province a losing bonus point.

Ulster had spurned a number of promising positions before finally getting the opening points through a penalty in the 28th minute.

Connacht hooker Tom McCartney scored the only try of the first half in Belfast
Connacht hooker Tom McCartney scored the only try of the first half in Belfast

But Connacht, with only one win from their opening five games, hit back to take the lead with five minutes of the first half left when McCartney drove over from close range after Jarrad Butler had been held up just short of the line.

Jack Carty missed the conversion which meant Cooney's 44th-minute penalty was enough to put Ulster back into the lead at 6-5.

Carty had better luck with a penalty five minutes later, seconds after the home fans felt Ulster should have had a penalty when Piutau was taken out by replacement Steve Crosbie.

Ulster responded with Cooney's third penalty, giving them a 9-8 lead after 53 minutes.

The game then burst into life when Piutau launched a counter-attack and linked twice with Stockdale before putting the young winger clear to dive under the posts.

Ulster ended the game with 14 men after Jean Deysel was shown a yellow card for killing the ball but the home side held on for the four points.

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Les Kiss happy with 'messy' Ulster win over Connacht

Ulster: C Piutau; T Bowe, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; C Leali'ifano, J Cooney; K McCall, R Herring, W Herbst; A O'Connor, K Treadwell; I Henderson, C Henry, J Deysel.

Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, R Ah You, R Diack, S Reidy, P Marshall, P Nelson, L Ludik.

Connacht: T O'Halloran; C Kelleher, B Aki, T Farell, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham; U Dillane, Q Roux; E McKeon, J Butler, J Muldoon.

Replacements: D Heffernan, D Coulson, C Carey, J Cannon, E Masterson, C Blade, S Crosbie, E Griffin.