London Welsh 39 Coventry 30
Coventry's hopes of a moneyspinning Powergen Trophy run disappeared in the London gloom yesterday.
This was the fifth occasion these one-time cup giants have met in the national knockout competition and Coventry have still to register a win.
They can only look to themselves for the reasons the sorry sequence continued as they lost to a Welsh side which has only one league win to their name this season and is obviously low on confidence.
Continuing their habit of conceding early points, Coventry shipped three converted tries inside the opening 19 minutes to trail 21-3.
They recovered to trim the gap to four points, only to let in the home side again for a fourth score before the halftime break.
Although they then clawed their way back to 32-30 with referee Richard Draper indicating that they were 15 minutes still to play, they spent the rest of the tie pinned in their own half, conceded a string of penalties and were finally floored by a converted try in the seventh minute of added time.
It was a sorry display to end a run of four successive wins and coach Mike Umaga was bitterly disappointed with the capitulation. "When you give a team 21 points like that, it's asking a lot of you and when players don't front up, it's even more upsetting," he said.
"If it was complacency, we have nothing to be complacent about. We'd won four games, but other than that, we have done nothing.
"Defensively, we were rubbish and there is no excuse for that. We've missed a great opportunity for us as players and for the club.
"Outside the league, this is the silverware on offer and we have let ourselves down."
Coventry went behind inside two minutes when Jon Higgins missed an opportunity to find touch from a penalty and London Welsh ran the ball back down the field for centre Duncan Hayward to cross by the posts, Lee Cholewa converting.
James Moore kicked a penalty in reply, but Welsh continued to move the ball crisply and found further gaps in the cover for Cholewa and winger John Swords to add converted tries.
Kurt Johnson's angled run split apart the home defence for Coventry's first try and Gareth Gravell broke off a maul to claim a second score, Moore converting both to bring the margin back to 21-17.
However, Welsh regained their momentum and Gareth Swales completed a move which began in his own 22 for the fourth home try and Cholewa added a penalty to push the gap back up to 12 points at the change.
Cholewa kicked a penalty within two minutes of the restart and although Coventry dominated for the next half-hour, all they had to show for their efforts were two Moore penalties before skipper Ben Gulliver finished off a sweeping move, Moore converting.
There was plenty of time left for Coventry to makwe inroads into the lead, but it was the last occasion they threatened and Jim Brownrigg's late try, converted by Cov old boy Mark Meenan, finished them off.