<i>Plymouth Albion 34 Coventry 27</i>

Two points is two more than Coventry had achieved on either of their previous visits to Brickfields, but, as so many times before this season, they knew this was a game they allowed to slip from their grasp.

Leading 22-7 after half-an-hour and playing some decisive rugby, Coventry appeared to have the game well under control.

That all changed, however, in a 15-minute spell either side of half-time as Albion raised the stakes in the forwards and crossed the line three times to go ahead. Though Coventry quickly regained the advantage with their bonus-point try, the momentum had switched.

A Nick Defty penalty on 69 minutes, when Coventry went offside defending a forward drive in the shadow of their posts, put Albion back in front. Then, with skipper Hendry Rheeders sin-binned for failing to roll away from a tackle quickly enough moments after referee Rowan Kitt had issued a final team warning, the home side's fifth try from Regardt Van Eyk settled the game.

Coventry tried to respond over the remaining five minutes, but they made mistakes in their haste as they chased the game. All three Albion tries in that 15-minute burst came, directly or indirectly, from driving line-out mauls and while head coach Mike Umaga recognised the value of the two points to his side, he also acknowledged that Coventry have conceded too often in similar fashion over the season.

"It just shows how good other teams are with the driving maul and no matter what we do, if they do it well they will score," said Umaga. "Defending it is an area we need to look at.

"Their try just before half-time was a decisive score and if we'd been able to hold out, it may have been different. The last thing we said at half-time was that they were going to come out at us and we had to get into them straight away, but in that first ten or 15 minutes, we let it slip.

"The two points we got today could be very crucial. We have got to mention relegation, because it is so tight in the division. Now we've got two weeks to dust ourselves down and attack Newbury to make sure we take four or five points there."

Coventry centre Dave Tiueti's tenth-minute try, which James Moore converted to reach 200 league points for the season, was wiped out in four minutes by a try and conversion from Defty. But Coventry were playing with a lot of belief and scored twice in the space of four minutes through Tom Johnson, from a fortunate ricochet, and Pete Bucknall after a forward drive.

Moore added a conversion and penalty, but Alfie Tooala finished off an Albion catch-and-drive on 35 minutes and a Martin Rice repeat, a Jon Fabian try from a line-out move which led to a five-metre scrum, and a Defty conversion made it 26-22 to Albion on 50 minutes.

Apoua Stewart crossed in the left corner from a quick free-kick to nudge Coventry back on top, but after Keni Fisilau and Jon Higgins had both missed clear-cut chances at either end, it was Albion who produced the telling finish. ..SUPL: