Otley 24 Coventry 27
Coventry ended a difficult week on a superb high thanks to Tom Johnson, whose last-gasp wonder try secured their first victory in two months and carried them three places up the National League One table.
It looked like business as usual when, after taking the lead for the second time in the game through a James Moore penalty, Coventry conceded a line-out catch-and-drive try in stoppage time to trail 24-20 and faced the prospect of a sixth successive losing bonus point.
But with the clock ticking towards the 89th minute, the visitors won a scrum in their own 22 and flanker Johnson sprinted 80 metres along the right touchline, outpacing the Otley cover before kicking past the last defender and winning the race to the touchdown.
Moore converted as referee Bruce Robertson signalled time to bring a spectacular end to a game which saw Coventry restore their damaged pride. Their miserable run had been compounded by the deduction of two points earlier in the week for a registration error.
Two-try Johnson's determination reflected Coventry's whole approach as, with former hooker Dave Addleton now in charge of the forwards and conditioning guru Darren Grewcock also on board to help head coach Mike Umaga, they looked a different side.
Tighthead prop Peter Bucknall was in inspired form as Otley's vaunted pack was nullified.
"It was a good team performance, that was the key," said Umaga. "We've talked long and hard about being together as a group and working hard for each other when the chips are down.
"It could so easily have gone the other way, but the boys showed what they can do when they concentrate for the full 80 minutes. The attitude today was great.
"Darren and Dave have freshened things up and helped me to focus more on other things and it has given the boys a little bit of impetus.
"Tom Johnson's a special player and he proved that he's a game-winner for us. He's in his first season at this level and he's had to take a back seat at times, but he's got a big heart and great spirit."
For the second time in three games, Coventry led after the opening minute through a Moore try and then saw the momentum slip away.
Otley centre Rob Whatmuff exploited some weak midfield tackling to set up a try for supporting flanker Matt Stockdale on 17 minutes and Ian Shuttleworth, an able deputy for injured Simon Binns, converted before Coventry's discipline slipped again and gave him the chance to kick three penalties for a 16-5 advantage.
Coventry grabbed a lifeline before half-time when Dave Harvey's crossfield kick picked out unmarked winger Steve Booth, who pounced for his first try for the club. But Shuttleworth's fourth penalty, seven minutes after the restart, left Coventry with plenty to do at 19-10 down.
Johnson went over from close range for his first try in support of skipper Hendry Rheeders and Moore converted before drilling over a head-on penalty from 35 metres to edge the visitors back in front on 70 minutes.
But prop Mark Luffman's unconverted score appeared to have won it for Otley before replacement fly-half Jon Higgins unleashed Johnson on the blind side.