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DIRECTOR of rugby Rowland Winter praised Coventry’s resilience and strength of character after they survived a torrid finish to claim a 20-16 victory at Old Elthamians.

It was the team’s 11th win in an unbeaten start to the season, leaving them with a nine-point lead at the top of National League One, but they were pushed all the way by a determined home side who led twice and forced Cov to mount a magnificent rearguard action in the final minutes.

“There are definitely areas of the game that we will need to look at closely, but the character and battling qualities that this team have really stood out today,” said Winter.

“OEs challenged and pressured us in every area of the game, they were determined and they gave us our hardest test of the season.

“But the character the boys have shown to get the win will stand us in good stead as the season goes on.

“Not many other teams in this league have got that much strength to put up with lots of things that didn’t necessarily go our way, and to defend our line with that much pride and passion is important and a good quality for us to have in the team.

“OEs put everything into that final passage of play and it needed a team with bags of character and energy, and some of that Cov Dog as well, to stand up to them and dig it out as we did. That’s four points won rather than one point lost.

“The line-out was a little bit hit and miss, that’s something we’ll look at, and in the first half we had lots of visits to their 22 and didn’t come away with any points, probably through our own doing as opposed to OEs’ defence. We kicked the ball away a couple of time and spilled ball up a bit more than usual as well on a tricky, greasy day, and the standards we set ourselves are higher than that.

“To get through the game, to stick it out and to get the win away from home which makes it 19 on the trot, that’s the most important part, and now they have a week off to mentally freshen up and relax which is well deserved before going into the Plymouth game, which is a big one.”