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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Saturday, 11 September 2010 16:41 UK

Aviva Premiership: Bath 20-13 London Irish

Bath (9) 20
Try: Abendanon Pens: Barkley 5
London Irish (6) 13
Try: Johnson Con: Lamb Pens: Lamb 2

Nick Abendanon
Abendanon latched onto a Michael Classens kick to score his try

Bath secured their second win of the season against 14-man London Irish at The Rec after Exiles number eight George Stowers was sent off late on.

A close first half was dominated by the boot as Olly Barkley landed three penalties and Ryan Lamb two for Irish.

The visitors went in front with less than 10 minutes left when Jonathan Joseph went over in the corner.

But the lead was short-lived as Nick Abendanon crossed for a try before Barkley added a further penalty.

The victory put Bath top of the Premiership table following their opening-day win at Leeds.

A bruising encounter took its toll on both sides as five players were forced from the field.

Bath lost Matt Banahan, Lee Mears, David Flatman and Simon Taylor to injuries, while the Exiles' England flanker Steffon Armitage was also forced off.

Defences dominated in the first half as penalties were exchanged, with both sides struggling to find the guile to break through.

The game became more open after the break and scrum-half Michael Claassens' reverse pass sent in Abendanon but the ball was deemed to have travelled forward.

Elvis Seveali'i was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on home fly-half Sam Vesty, Barkley duly landing the resulting penalty.

Stowers was sent off in the 65th minute for a high tackle on Abendanon, which appeared to knock the full-back out.

But it was 14-man Irish who took an unlikely lead when Joseph scored his first Premiership try, which Lamb converted from the touchline.

Bath hit back immediately, after Irish knocked on at the restart, when Claassens' grubber kick into space was pounced on by Abendanon.

Barkley made certain of victory with a penalty from the last kick of the game.

Bath coach Steve Meehan:

"I felt comfortable the entire game, particularly in the second half when we looked a lot better as a team.

"It was tight, but it was always going to be. Both teams defended pretty well - there were only one or two half-chances that opened up, and your accuracy has to be excellent to take them.

"We took our try well, and our attitude and commitment was great."

(On the prospects of injured quartet Banahan, Mears, Taylor and Flatman playing against Northampton on Friday): "It's early days, and I don't think they are overly serious, but I wouldn't expect them to make a six-day turnaround."

London Irish head coach Toby Booth told BBC Berkshire:
"We fought tooth and nail and we defended for long periods of time and made somewhere in the region of 150 tackles.

"I was disappointed with our ability to be able to get the ball back but that may be down to refereeing interpretations.

"I'm at a loss, it looked impossible to get the ball back. There were no defensive penalties in the whole game.

"We've played a significant amount of rugby with 14 and 13 men."

Bath: Abendanon; Carraro, Hape, Barkley, Banahan; Vesty, Claassens; Flatman, Mears, Wilson, Hooper, Grewcock, Taylor, Moody, Watson (capt).

Replacements: Biggs for Banahan (20), Dixon for Mears (22), Beattie for Taylor (35), Catt for Flatman (42), Bell for Wilson (69), Skirving for Grewcock (69).

Not Used: McMillan, Cuthbert.

London Irish: D Armitage; Ojo, Seveali'i, Bowden, Tagicakibau; Lamb, Hodgson; Dermody (capt), Paice, Rautenbach, Roche, Casey, Danaher, S Armitage, Stowers.

Replacements: Garvey for S Armitage (22), Corbisiero for Rautenbach (50), Kennedy for Casey (58), Mapusua for Bowden (61), Allinson for Hodgson (69), Lahiff for Dermody (61).

Not Used: Herring, Homer.

Sin Bin: Seveali'i (51).

Sent Off: Stowers (65).

Att: 11,005

Ref: Dave Pearson (RFU).

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see also
Guscott's predictions
12 Sep 10 |  English
Leeds 16-32 Bath
05 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union
London Irish 33-16 Saracens
04 Sep 10 |  English

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