Premiership: London Irish 24-9 London Welsh
|London Irish (10) 24|
|Tries: Lewington, Cross, Court Cons: Homer 3 Pens: Homer|
|London Welsh (6) 9|
|Pens: Robinson 3|
London Irish earned their first win in the Premiership since September as they beat fellow strugglers London Welsh.
Tries from Alex Lewington, Geoff Cross and Tom Court sealed the victory, with Welsh's Tom May and Irish's Dan Leo sent off in the first half.
Tom Homer kicked three conversions and a penalty, with all of London Welsh's points coming through Will Robinson.
The win, their third of the season, lifts Irish to 10th, while Welsh remain bottom without a victory all season.
After two early missed penalties from Homer, it was Welsh who scored the first points of the game through Robinson. However, Irish soon found some form.
Homer sent over a penalty after Piri Weepu's high tackle and, despite wet and greasy conditions, a superb piece of handling from Fergus Mulchrone saw Lewington go over in the corner.
The conversion from Homer came before a moment of controversy in which May was sent off for elbowing Leo - who was red carded himself for retaliating only six minutes after coming on as a replacement for Kieran Low.
Robinson's penalty made it 10-6, while Irish wing Topsy Ojo saw his try chalked off for blocking earlier in the move.
Cross scored his third try in five games, bundling over from close range after the Irish forwards made good territory with a driving maul. Homer converted to make it 17-6, with Robinson's third penalty reducing the deficit to eight points.
Irish killed the game off when Court touched down after the forwards again did the damage up front. Homer's conversion made it 24-9 and despite Irish going in search of the bonus-point try, that was how the game ended.
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith: "I am relieved but I have mixed emotions as with 10 minutes I thought we could have squeezed out a bonus point.
"The win was obtained purely on the back of our forwards but, at pitch side, you could see how difficult conditions were as it was raining heavily and the pitch was very slippy."
On the red card: "It certainly shone a light so the match officials had to make a call based on that (Dylan Hartley's red card last week).
"As a result the offence became fashionable but the issue of cards needs to be proportional. Dan Leo is very upset and not a thug so we will be strongly defending our boy as we believe he may have been hard done by."
London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell: "It was a game we wanted to win, it was billed as an important game and we are bitterly disappointed for at certain stages, I thought we could win.
"We were able to keep the ball to go into half-time in contention and at 17-9 (down) midway through the second half we were well in the game."
On the red card: "We saw the incident involving (Northampton hooker) Dylan Hartley last week and there is obviously a similarity for the referee to consider.
"Tom May is distraught as it's probably the first time in his career that he's been dismissed and he feels he's lets his team-mates down."
London Irish: Homer; Ojo, Mulchrone, Geraghty, Lewington; Noakes, Steele; Court, Paice, Cross; Skivington (capt), Rouse; Low, Cowan; Sinclair.
Replacements: Allen, Halavatau, Aulika, Leo, Treviranus, O'Leary, Sheridan, Fenby.
London Welsh: Robinson; Kear, May (capt), Jewell, Scott; Weepu, Lewis; Trevett, Vella, Vea; Down, Schofield; McCaffrey, Kirwan, Fonua.
Replacements: Morris, Reeves, Cooper, Browne, Pienaar, Rowley, Tincknell, Stegmann.
Referee: Greg Garner (RFU).