Pro14: Ospreys fall to 13-18 home loss against Cheetahs
|Pro14: Ospreys v Cheetahs|
|Ospreys (10) 13|
|Try: Fia Con: Price Pens: Price 2|
|Cheetahs (8) 18|
|Tries: Small-Smith, Arnoldi Con: Schoeman Pens: Pienaar, Schoeman|
Struggling Ospreys finished a turbulent week with another Pro14 defeat against Cheetahs in Neath.
After Ospreys said head coach Allen Clarke was no longer in charge of team affairs they suffered an eighth defeat in nine games this season.
It was a sixth league loss in seven games as Ospreys remain second to bottom in Conference A.
The Welsh region next face a tricky European Champions Cup double-header against Racing 92.
It has proved a turbulent week with Carl Hogg and Matt Sherratt taking charge of the side in Clarke's absence at the first league game at the Gnoll since 2005.
Ospreys welcomed back Wales trio Dan Evans, Dan Lydiate and Luke Morgan from injury, while Scott Williams, Bradley Davies and Nicky Smith were released by Wales.
Luke Price was named at outside-half with new signing Marty McKenzie still to make his debut for the region.
Ospreys conceded an early try when centre William Small-Smit powered over before Luke Price and Ruan Pienaar exchanged penalties.
A storming break and chip from hooker Scott Otten took Ospreys almost the length of the field and set up the attacking platform for Ma'afu Fia to power over.
Price converted to give the hosts a 10-8 lead but the Ospreys outside-half and Pienaar were both guilty of missing simple penalties either side of half-time.
Wales prop Smith replaced injured front-rower Rhodri Jones before Price missed another penalty chance.
Cheetahs made Ospreys pay for failing to capitalise on their territory and dominance by clinically taking the lead through hooker Wilmar Arnoldi from a driving lineout.
Tian Schoeman converted before exchanging penalties with Price.
A dramatic finale saw a series of Ospreys driving lineouts with Cheetahs second row Sintu Manjezi yellow-carded, but the visitors held out to clinch victory.
Ospreys were returning to Pro14 action after two defeats in Europe, including last weekend's 44-3 mauling at Saracens.
Ospreys forwards coach Carl Hogg:
"I'm just massively disappointed for the players.
"I thought they put in a huge amount of effort over the 80 minutes and didn't come away with a tangible reward.
"We asked for an emotional response and I thought you saw one.
"I thought we worked as a team and stuck to a plan for a long time. We defended some of their multi-phase play very well, particularly in that last 20 minutes.
"Ultimately, we had the chance to win it at the end with three five-metre drives that we weren't able to convert. I have got to have a look at the footage because I'm uncertain how they were able to defend our drive three times from five metres out."
Ospreys: D Evans; Dirksen, Thomas-Wheeler, S Williams, L Morgan; L Price, S Venter; R Jones, Otten, Fia, B Davies, Ashley, Lydiate (capt), Cracknell, M Morris.
Replacement: I Phillips, N Smith, Gajion, Volpi, Cross, Aubrey, Hook, K Williams.
Cheetahs: R Smith; Barry, Small-Smith, Janse van Rensberg, Blommetjies; Schoeman, Pienaar (capt); B Venter, Arnoldi, de Bruin, Manjezi, Steenkamp, Massyn, Pokomela, Davis.
Replacements: Van der Merwe, R Venter, de Jager, du Preez, Olivier, Meyer, Whitehead, C Smith.
Referee: Joy Neville (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Mike English (WRU), Oisin Quinn (IRFU)
TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)