Gloucester beat London Irish thanks to last-minute Santiago Carreras penalty

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Santiago Carreras’ 45-metre penalty, the last kick of the match, ensured London Irish’s miserable record at Gloucester continued with an 8-6 defeat at sold-out Kingsholm.

The Exiles have only won twice at the venue in the Premiership, their last victory coming in 2013, and despite the closeness of the final scoreline, it would have been a serious injustice if they had ended their losing run.

Without the experience of suspended internationals, Agustin Creevy, Adam Coleman and Rob Simmons in their front five, the London Irish pack fought a losing battle against a dominant Gloucester pack.

It was therefore hard to fathom how Gloucester had to rely on a last minute kick to secure victory, such was their domination of possession and territory - but the visitors scrapped hard throughout.

Lock, Matias Alemanno, scored the only try of the game to move Gloucester up to fourth in the table, with Paddy Jackson replying with two penalties for Irish.

Gloucester dominated the early exchanges, courtesy of a couple of well-judged kicks from Ben Meehan, to pin London Irish in their own half. The home side looked set to capitalise from a couple of powerful driving line-outs, only to carelessly lose possession at the third.

However, the visitors could not break the stranglehold and it came as no surprise when the hosts took an 11th minute lead when Alemanno forced his way over from close range.

That try was the only score of the first quarter in which Irish had failed to muster any semblance of an attack and they were fortunate not to be further behind.

Gloucester then suffered an injury blow when hooker Santiago Socino, was carried off on a stretcher with a leg injury to be replaced by former Newcastle star George McGuigan, for his Kingsholm debut.

Worse was to follow for the home side when barely a minute later, lock, Alex Craig, followed Argentinian Socino off the field with a wrist injury.

The two injuries in quick succession boosted Irish to produce their first attack of the game. Centre Bernhard Janse van Rensburg made a couple of surges and when Gloucester were penalised Jackson put his side on the scoreboard to leave them trailing 5-3 at the interval.

Nine minutes after the restart, Gloucester looked to have been gifted a second try. From a line-out close to their line, an under-pressure Jackson knocked on for Gloucester’s prop Harry Elrington to claim a touchdown in the ensuing melee but TMO replays saw the try ruled out.

That was the nearest either side came to scoring in a featureless third quarter which Gloucester again dominated but failed to make it count on the scoreboard.

With nine minutes remaining, the hosts were made to pay when former Irish number eight Albert Tuisue, was yellow-carded for a high tackle on van Rensburg.

Jackson knocked over the resulting penalty from 30 metres, before the last minute effort from Carreras saved Gloucester.