Two moments of genius from Semesa Rokoduguni proved the difference as Bath Rugby eventually saw off a stubborn London Welsh at the Rec 40-25.
The winger scored just on the stroke of half-time as Bath looked set to run away with it but in the end it required late scores from Horacio Agulla and Michael Claassens to end the visitors’ challenge.
London Welsh came into the game five points adrift at the bottom of the table knowing that a win was essential to keep the pressure on Sale Sharks one place above them.
Back in November it was former Bath winger Nick Scott’s intercept try which proved the difference between the two sides but the Exiles have won just once in the league since then.
And despite a flying start from Bath, Welsh showed they will not go away without a fight, getting back to within two points heading into the final quarter.
From there Bath seized control with tries from Agulla and Claassens, either side of Seb Jewell scoring Welsh’s only try.
Bath had made the perfect start through Matt Banahan, the powerful centre showing all his power and pace to crash over in the first minute.
Stephen Donald was off target with the conversion but it didn’t look like it would make a difference when Carl Fearns went over from a Bath attacking lineout after eight minutes.
Donald had missed the conversion again but finally found his range on 21 minutes as he punished a Welsh offside to stretch the lead to 13-0.
Welsh hit back though, scrum-half Alex Davies slotting three penalties in the space of seven minutes to bring his side back to within four points.
That sparked Bath back into life and with half-time fast approaching Rokoduguni produced a moment of magic as he burst through the Exiles’ defensive line to sprint over from halfway.
Leading 20-9 at the break Bath looked in complete control, but the Exiles refused to lie down and just two minutes into the second half Davies added his fourth penalty of the afternoon.
He added another to edge Welsh back closer and they could have taken the lead had Gordon Ross been able to collect after Davies had made a darting break.
Still the Exiles had the momentum and after Davies’ sixth penalty of the afternoon the visitors looked the likeliest winners.
Bath responded with an easy penalty for Donald and from the restart Rokoduguni produced the decisive break.
The Fijian collected the ball and scythed through the Exiles defence before finding Agulla for the home side’s bonus point try, replacement Tom Heathcote added the conversion to make it 30-18.
Welsh kept plugging away and they were rewarded when full-back Jewell crashed over from close range with just over ten minutes to go, Davies converted.
With the visitors back within a score Bath found themselves under pressure once more but Heathcote made no mistake when given a chance five minutes later to extend the lead back to eight.
And it was scrum-half Michael Claassens who touched down with the final play of the game to seal the win, Heathcote again slotting the conversion.