Earth Titans 44 Coventry 29
Bonus-point kings Coventry kept up their point-a-game average over five successive National One defeats as bad habits from the first half of the season continued into the New Year.
The difference this time was that the point came from scoring four tries, but the overall picture was another curate's egg of a display with the bad still outweighing the good.
Coventry simply were not at the races in the first half as the Titans, sharper all round and dominant up front, stormed down the Clifton Lane slope to establish a winning 32-10 lead by half-time and secured their own four-try bonus point.
Three of those tries and 19 points came while Craig McGrath was in the sin bin - referee Ashley Rowden, who had issued a final warning moments earlier, reached for his yellow card when the scrum-half entered a ruck from the side and conceded the seventh penalty against Coventry in the first 28 minutes.
It was another 40 minutes before Coventry were next penalised as they improved their discipline. They had to, in order to avoid total embarrassment. Although there was much to admire in their second-half performance, it was another frustrating afternoon for head coach Mike Umaga.
"The same old things killed us again," the former Rotherham man said. "We are still not playing for 80 minutes and we gave ourselves too much to do. We've changed our warm-up with the intention of having bodies and heads tuned in from the first minute, but again it wasn't there.
"We had to play better in the second half, anything else than that and there would have been no sense turning up on Monday.
"We just have to work on what we did in the second half. We are still scoring tries and I know we can do it."
Centre W P Strauss kicked two penalties for Titans in the first seven minutes before James Moore replied from 40 metres and then added a touchline conversion when a Titans attack broke down in the Coventry 22. With no-one in the home half, flanker Mike Buckingham fired a 60-metre kick into open space for Apoua Stewart to chase down and grab a try from nothing.
The Titans were back in front by the end of the first quarter as Coventry continued to give the ball away, flanker Neil Cochrane going over from close range with Strauss converting. When McGrath departed, tries from Hendre Fourie, Errie Claassens and Scott Donald, two converted, left Coventry staring down the barrel.
Centre Dave Tiueti's maiden try for Coventry was wiped out by one from Titans lock Jannie Bornman, Strauss converting, but the visitors stuck at it and converted tries for Tom Johnson and Dave Harvey closed the gap to 39-29 by 65 minutes.
Moore almost pulled off an interception in his own 22 which, with clear ground in front of him, might have given his side a second bonus point. But his juggling skills let him down and No 8 Donald crashed over in injury time to seal it for Titans. ..SUPL: