Despite leading at half-time on the back of a brilliant Jimmy Martin try and a determined defensive effort Coventry eventually succumbed to a 31-13 defeat at Ealing.
The visitors caused their unbeaten hosts plenty of problems at the breakdown and in the lineout during an opening 40 minutes which finished 7-8 in the blue-and-whites’ favour.
But Ealing’s scrum was a powerful weapon throughout and when their front row turned the screw in the second period the home side’s resulting domination of territory and possession eventually wore down injury-hit Cov’s resistance.
The visitors had the last word through a Will Rigg interception score, but by then with an on-loan trio making up their front row Cov were up against it having already conceded 24 second-half points.
The opening quarter between two of the Championship’s top sides operating under the watchful eye of World Cup final touch judge Matthew Carley proved to be a cagey affair.
But after plenty of tactical kicking and some bruising defence it was Ealing who eventually broke the deadlock through former Northampton winger Tom Collins’ sliding finish.
Experienced fly half Craig Willis added the first of his five successful kicks with a fine strike from the touchline – but this only paved the way for Cov to immediately hit back with a brilliant score of their own.
Pat Pellegrini began the move with a neat chip and it was also the Tongan international no.10 who set up a precise Martin finish – only millimetres from the dead-ball line – with his perfectly-weighted kick pass.
Cov skipper Jordon Poole then broke the line and showed a good turn of foot from 40 metres only for home full back Cian Kelleher’s last-ditch tap tackle to keep Ealing’s line intact.
But Cov got some reward for their enterprise shortly before the break when Pellegrini split the uprights from 35 metres to send his team into the break with the narrowest advantage.
Having pulled away from Ealing during the second half of their last visit to Trailfinders Park hopes were high that Cov could repeat the dose ten months later.
However, the visitors were instead soon hit with both barrels as first prop Will Goodrick-Clarke then impressive centre Reuben Bird-Tulloch crossed for Ealing during the third quarter.
The front-rower was shunted over by his pack from close range following a disputed lineout before the former Northampton midfielder got on the end of a flowing move in which former England star Billy Twelvetrees featured prominently.
When Willis then added a penalty to his brace of conversions Cov needed three scores to get back in the contest, only for a fourth Ealing try to soon extinguish their flickering hopes.
Namibian World Cup flanker Richard Hardwck delivered a fine display for the hosts and fittingly it was the pacy no.7 that crossed for the try which clinched a bonus point for the table toppers.
After the metronomic Willis took his personal tally from the tee to 11 points, enough time remained for Rigg to pluck off a loose pass inside his own half, pin back his ears and gallop 60 metres to the line to register a late consolation score for Cov.
Tries: Collins (19), Goodrick-Clark (44), Bird-Tulloch (51), Hardwick (73)
Cons: Willis (19) (44) (51) (73)
Pens: Willis (65)
Tries: Martin (20), Rigg (78)
Pens: Pellegrini (39)
Ealing Trailfinders: Kelleher; Holmes, Bird-Tulloch, Twelvetrees (Bodilly,75), Collins; Willis, Hampson (Burns ,78); Goodrick-Clarke (Whyte,65), Willemse (Cornish,56), Alo (Kane,60); de Wee, Davidson (Maddison, 58); Montgomery (Newman ,46), Hardwick (Uzokwe,75), Smid.
Coventry: Wilson (Mitchell ,67); Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley (Lane ,67); Cordwell (Southworth ,62), Poole (Stewart ,62), Salt (Ford ,52); Tyas, Nkwocha (Smith ,52); Ball (Ryan ,56), Kvesic, Nayalo (Bartlett ,62).
Referee: Matthew Carley
Tickets for Coventry’s next Championship home game against Hartpury on Saturday December 2nd are available from: https://www.coventryrugby.co.uk/tickets/matchday-tickets/