London Welsh assistant coach Gordon Ross admitted his side missed out on their first real opportunity to record a win this season, as they went down 18-9 at home to Gloucester Rugby in the LV= Cup.
Aled Thomas’ six penalties were enough for a young Gloucester team to edge the encounter and condemn the Exiles to their tenth straight defeat in all competitions.
Nothing separated the sides at half-time with three kicks apiece from fly-halves Will Robinson and Thomas, but the latter’s second-half penalties were enough to seal the victory.
Welsh were once again improved and will take positives from not conceding any tries for the first time this season, but failed to convert long periods of pressure on the Cherry & Whites try line into scores.
And Ross conceded the Exiles were not good enough going forward to really threaten Gloucester.
“I think it was a game we could, maybe should, have won,” he said.
“We had some good possession and good territory at times but unfortunately we couldn't cross the white line and we coughed up possession a little bit too easily.
“As a squad we're a little bit disappointed we didn't get more out of the game.
“There are obviously some positives there, our defensive shape was pretty good as they didn't really look like scoring too often.
“But on the flip side our attack maybe wasn't as good as it could have been. It's not the level it needs to be so we weren't as threatening as we have been.
“It's not often we've said it this season but that was one that got away.
“A lot of times we've struggled but it was there for the taking today and we just didn't quite have that level of execution at crucial moments.”
Meanwhile Gloucester’s backs coach Nick Walshe was ecstatic with the attitude shown by his youthful side, whose average age was just 23.
The Cherry & Whites young guns weathered a London Welsh storm in the second-half, defending magnificently on their own try line before Thomas kicked them to safety.
Walshe said: “Welsh put out quite an experienced side, and I'm delighted because we had four guys out there making their first-team debuts today.
“There were a lot of academy boys, especially in the pack, and I thought they fronted up brilliantly.
“Our defence was absolutely magnificent in the last ten minutes, and generally it was just a fantastic attitude from the lads.
“Some of them were cramping in the last twenty, especially some of the younger boys who haven't played at this level before. But to force them off our line and keep forcing them back then turn them over was outstanding.
“Aled Thomas was fantastic today, he kicked all the goals he should have done.
“He controlled things well and it's the first time he's captained the club which is not easy. He led the guys well and had a very, very good game himself.”
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London Welsh: Awcock (Crane, 66); Stegmann, Renolds, May, Scott; Robinson, Rowley (Lewis, 58); Cahill (Cooper, 57), Britton (Morris, 57), Gilding (Vea, 43), Schofield, Down, Browne (Liston, 49), Vella (Vea, 20-30), Pienaar (Corker, 66).
Not used: Ross
Gloucester Rugby: McColl; Monahan, Isaacs, Meakes, Norman (Burns, 47); A Thomas, Braley; Gibbons, Cole, Knight (Y Thomas, 66), Stooke, Hicks, Ludlow (Y Thomas, 20-30), D Thomas, Evans.
Not used: Goodrick-Clarke, Spencer, Fuller, Safe, Bassett, Evans
Penalties: Robinson 3
Penalties: A Thomas 6
Referee: Rhys Thomas