TODD Blackadder was happy that Bath avoided a "banana skin" as they won 22-18 against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium in the Aviva Premiership.

The visitors almost tripped up in the closing moments as the Exiles came from 22-11 down to within a metre of a winning try, only for Bath's exceptional defence to keep them out.

It looked like the 17 points from fly-half Freddie Burns, with four penalties, a drop goal and his conversion of centre Matt Banahan's first-half try, was about to be undone at the end.

Irish full-back James Marshall scored a try, and fly-half Tommy Bell kicked two penalties before replacement Scott Steele went over with five minutes to go and substitute Greig Tonks landed the conversion to put the Exiles within sight of victory.

Irish pounded the Bath line, getting to the brink of the try-line through an amazing forward effort, but conceded a penalty to leave Bath's management jumping for joy in the stand.

Bath director of rugby Blackadder had mixed feelings afterwards, saying: "I am really pleased with the outcome. The win was what we are looking for and these games have often been banana skins for us in the past.

"I am really proud of the courageous defence at the end but I am really disappointed we put ourselves in that position. We shouldn't have done that. It is just simple basics."

Blackadder said Bath did not stick to the game plan, adding: "It is frustrating when you go off script. When you get stripped carrying the ball five times in 10 minutes at a crucial time of the game, frustration sends you sky-rocketing through the roof.

"At the moment, these games are about doing the basics well home and away. In the first half, we probably kicked a couple of possessions away and didn't build pressure. We talked about doing that in the second half."

Despite their losing bonus point, Irish remain bottom of the Premiership and their director of rugby Nick Kennedy said: "We are disappointed to lose a close game but, at the same time, I am really proud of the boys, the effort they put in and the way they played.

"We were unlucky at times, we didn't get the bounce of the ball or the referee's decision and once again we finished well and showed our heart in the way we came back at the end and nearly won the game.

"It is very fine margins. Our defence was much improved, other than the one missed tackle for their try early on. And credit to Bath, they played field position well and Burns is on fire and kicked extremely well."