LONDON Irish slipped to the foot of the Aviva Premiership table following a narrow 22-18 home defeat to Bath.

Exiles secured a losing bonus point on Sunday but were overtaken by Worcester Warriors, who climbed off the bottom thanks to a 30-15 home win over Northampton Saints.

Irish have now lost seven Premiership fixtures in a row as concerns over relegation increase for director of rugby, Nick Kennedy.

There were plenty of positives for Kennedy to take from his team’s performance on Sunday, but they ultimately came up short against a disciplined Bath.

Exiles were first on the scoreboard at Madejski Stadium after Tommy Bell’s third-minute penalty after Bath had been pinged for failing to roll away at the breakdown.

But Todd Blackadder’s visitors hit back from the restart, Aled Brew scything down the wing before off-loading to Matt Banahan to score under the posts. Freddie Burns kicked the extras for a 7-3 lead.

Burns increased Bath’s lead to 10-3 with another penalty in the 13th minute, but Exiles responded with their first try of the day.

Scrum-half Ben Meehan took a quick free-kick and fed James Marshall, who raced over for an unconverted score.

Bath, with former Exile Matt Garvey and Zach Mercer prominent, continued to look dangerous, stretching their lead further with a Burns drop-goal and penalty.

Reading Chronicle:

Scott Steele snipes over for a London Irish try against Bath. Pictures: David M.Moore.

But Bell notched another three-pointer for the home side, who trailed 16-11 at the break.

However, the pinpoint boot of Burns continued to keep Bath in control as the fly-half landed two more penalties to stretch their advantage to 22-11 just before the hour mark.

Yet Irish refused to lie down as Joe Cokanasiga led the fightback with a series of barnstorming runs that had Bath back-tracking.

And the hosts were soon back within sight of victory when Cokanasiga crashed through a wall of defenders to get within a metre of the line before replacement scrum-half Scott Steele nipped over for a try which Grieg Tonks converted to leave Exiles just four points behind.

It then appeared Exiles might snatch a win from the jaws of defeat when they spent the last couple of minutes camped on the Bath line.

But the visitors stood firm under intense pressure and kept their discipline to hold out for the final whistle and condemn Irish to a seventh straight league defeat.

Exiles are back at Madejski Stadium this Sunday when they host Wasps (3pm ko).

London Irish: Marshall, Cokanasiga, Mulchrone, McLean, Lewington (Fowlie 73), Bell (Tonks 55), Meehan (Steele 47), Franks, Paice (c) (Porecki 68), Du Plessis (Hoskins 55), Van der Merwe, De Chaves (Lloyd 68), Northcote-Green, Gilsenan (Coman 55), Cowan (Elrington 70).

Bath: Homer (Atkins 16), Jack Wilson, James Wilson, Banahan, Brew, Burns, Fotuali’I (Allinson 73), Obano (Auterac 60), Dunn, Perenise (Lahiff 60), Charteris, Stooke (Douglas 66), Garvey (c), Mercer (Bayliss 66), Grant.

Referee: Thomas Foley.