Aviva Premiership: Bath grab late bonus point at London Irish
Last Updated: 22/03/14 8:07pm
Bath's Anthony Watson on the charge
Matt Garvey's late try against his former side earned Bath a bonus point as they beat London Irish 44-23 at the Madejski Stadium.
Kyle Eastmond, former London Irish flyer Anthony Watson and David Wilson had earlier touched down for the visitors while George Ford kicked 24 points from the tee.
London Irish, cheered on by the majority of the 22,000 crowd, fought all the way and Topsy Ojo and Chris Hala'ufia scored tries, with James O'Connor adding 10 points with the boot and Shane Geraghty knocking over a penalty.
But it was not enough for the win as they slipped to their third-straight Aviva Premiership defeat while Bath consolidated third place.
The home side started well and a penalty gave them the chance to open the scoring on eight minutes but O'Connor missed the target.
London Irish continued to press, despite Matt Parr's sin-binning for pulling back Semesa Rokoduguni as the winger looked to chase a loose ball, and Ojo was denied a try on 16 minutes due to a forward pass in the build-up.
Bath could not take advantage of their extra man with Ford's 20th-minute penalty their only points from the period which were cancelled out by O'Connor.
Ford added another before Ojo burrowed over on 32 minutes for the first try of the game, and his first since the final game of last season, after Geraghty was held up just short of the line.
But Bath replied immediately with a try of their own with Eastmond outsprinting the London Irish defence to finish in the corner after a Nick Abendanon's pass.
O'Connor and Ford again exchanged penalties as Bath held a 14-13 advantage at half-time.
Ford extended the lead to seven points with two penalties early in the second half and he almost played in Watson with a delicate cross-field kick but the winger was snaffled by O'Connor.
Geraghty added a penalty for the home side on 56 minutes but there was controversy seconds later when Watson scored a second try for the visitors.
Abendanon ran from deep inside his own half but appeared to cross with Ollie Devoto in midfield before off-loading Watson over.
Referee Greg Garner consulted with his TMO who ruled there had been no infringement, giving the 20-year-old his fourth try of the season. Ford converted before adding another penalty.
Wilson wrapped up the victory 11 minutes from time when he went over under the posts for his first try of the season.
Replacement Chris Hala'ufia grabbed a late consolation for the hosts before Garvey secured the bonus point in the final minute.
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 17
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill remains hopeful of holding on to winger Vereniki Goneva despite interest from France.
Leicester consolidated fourth place in the Aviva Premiership with a 45-15 thumping of Exeter at Welford Road on Sunday.
Neal Hatley was full of praise for fly-half George Ford after Bath's 44-23 away victory over London Irish.