London Welsh 32 Coventry 13
Coventry coach Mike Umaga had expressed concern at how his players might react to the decision to scrap relegation this season - and he got exactly the answer he didn't want.
His side's performance was as grey as the skies over Old Deer Park and Umaga struggled to find even one redeeming feature as, with the pressure off, Coventry wasted an ideal opportunity to parade their undoubted talents.
Welsh banked possibly the easiest five points they will come by all season. "It was the one thing I was hoping wouldn't happen," said the bitterly disappointed Umaga. "It was so flat and some guys just weren't on the pitch today.
"The pressure was on London Welsh more than us before relegation was removed and their performance probably showed it. But if some of our guys are playing for contracts, they were a long way off it today.
"There was a lot of good talk going on in the warmup, but maybe that's just what it was, talk. It was definitely not the way we had trained and the amount of errors was unacceptable and cost us the game.
"Some players need to take a long, hard, look at themselves after this."
Coventry went behind inside three minutes. Tom Johnson was penalised for falling on the wrong side of a ruck and the Exiles spun the ball the width of the pitch for right winger Gareth Swales to force his way over with Gareth Morgan adding a good conversion.
Kieran Geraghty lost the ball over the line as Coventry responded and James Moore missed a penalty chance, albeit into a difficult wind, which should have been a formality for the division's leading scorer.
Things continued to go against the visitors on 23 minutes when the charging Tom Johnson got a hand to a dropped-goal attempt from Morgan, only for the ball to balloon towards the posts where Coventry's scrambling cover conceded a penalty for holding on.
Morgan landed the simple kick and, three minutes later, Coventry were 17-0 down when centre James Storey cut through between the posts from a penalty line-out.
Geraghty made no mistake on the half-hour with a well-taken try which Moore improved and Coventry were right back in the game when the winger added a penalty three minutes after the restart.
The revival stopped there. Matt Cannon and Moore traded penalties as the game drifted through the next 20 minutes with both sides losing players - Howard Quigley and Niall Treston - to the sin bin for separate offences, but Coventry were still a man short when Hendry Rheeders surrendered the ball in midfield and, two passes later, Swales touched down his second try.
Cov's misery was complete when Cannon charged over by the posts and converted.