Scarlets 12-9 Ospreys: Josh Macleod clinches it for 14-man Scarlets
Last Updated: 27/12/17 6:53am
An 82nd-minute try by Josh Macleod saw 14-man Scarlets edge Ospreys in a dramatic Guinness PRO14 derby at a rain-drenched Parc y Scarlets.
The victory - secured despite the first-half dismissal of wing Steff Evans following a dangerous challenge on opposite winger Ben John - took the hosts back to the top of Conference B.
Conversely, Ospreys remain at the bottom of Conference A and must now travel away to Rodney Parade in Round 12 on New Year's Eve.
Sam Davies had kicked Ospreys into a 9-5 lead going into the final minutes, but Macleod collected Scott Williams' cross-field kick to go over in the left corner and settle the derby fixture in Scarlets' favour.
Wayne Pivac's side spent the majority of the first quarter in Ospreys' territory but it didn't deliver points after Halfpenny missed two early penalties.
Ospreys were forced into an change after just ten minutes when Dan Evans limped off and was replaced by Dan Biggar, the extent of the injury to their full-back is not yet known.
Uncharacteristically, Halfpenny missed his third penalty on 14 minutes but points arrived shortly after.
A knock-on from Ashley Beck provided the Scarlets with a five-metre scrum and from that Steff Evans stepped and went over the line down the blindside. Once again Halfpenny's radar was off for the conversion attempt.
The hosts had the chance of a second try six minutes later when Gareth Davies hacked upfield after charging down a Davies kick. Johnny McNicholl picked up close to the line but Hadleigh Parkes could not gather the offload in the wet conditions.
The sending-off for Evans came three minutes from half-time when the winger clattered into John as he attempted to collect Davies' cross-field kick. Referee Ian Davies showed Evans red after reviewing the footage and John left the field for a head injury assessment.
Davies kicked the resulting penalty which meant that the match was poised 5-3 at the break.
The second-half remained a truncated affair due to the wind and rain but Davies' boot kept the Ospreys' scoreboard ticking and eventually pushed them 9-5 ahead with just less than a quarter remaining.
Steve Tandy's team hadn't won away from home in the league since early March and look set to change that as the clock ticked into the 80th minute. However, the game wasn't finished quite yet.
A scrum on Ospreys' put in was won against the head by the Scarlets and that gave the hosts the field position required to mount their final attack.
The match-winning try arrived on 82 minutes when Williams' cross-field kick landed neatly into the hands of Macleod and the Parc y Scarlets erupted.
After a difficult day off the tee, Halfpenny struck the final conversion sweetly which sealed the deal.