LONDON Welsh’s search for a first win of the season goes on despite a much-improved showing in their European Rugby Challenge Cup clash in France.

Trailing 21-3 in the first half the Exiles seemed on course for another heavy defeat.

But Welsh chose the sun-drenched Matmut Stadium to answer any questions about the spirit within the camp after a tough start to the Aviva Premiership.

Two tries in as many minutes from Chis Elder and James Lewis before half-time left the home crowd stunned, and when Tristan Roberts’ penalty closed the gap further upon the restart, with Bogdan Balan in the sin bin, the game seemed there for the taking.

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However, Welsh could make no further inroads and a yellow card for Seb Stegmann shifted the momentum in the home side’s favour.

Despite some spirited Welsh defence, Lyon pressure finally told when Seru Sukanaveita broke through for the game’s decisive score.

Roberts missed an early penalty for Welsh, and it was the hosts who went ahead when former South African scrum half Ricky Januarie crossed for a try, Jerome Porical adding the first of his four conversions.

Lyon then doubled their lead when Estebanez gathered Franck Romanet’s kick ahead to touch down, with referee Claudio Blessano going back to brandish a yellow card in Rhys Crane’s direction for his tackle on Romanet in the build up.

Roberts got Welsh on the board with a penalty, but with the away side down to 14-men, Lyon exposed the Exiles out wide as Romanet slipped between two before rounding the last man for a fine solo score.

Porical’s conversion left Welsh trailing 21-3 after 29 minutes.

But Welsh then stunned the home support with a double strike just before half-time.

From inside the 22, the Welsh forwards worked their way to within striking distance before Roberts’s flat pass sent Elder over in the corner.

Moments later Welsh were in again; James Lewis picking off a pass as Lyon looked to spread play wide from a lineout on half way. Roberts added the conversion and the Exiles went into the break trailing 21-15.

They were then given all the encouragement they needed upon the restart as another destructive Welsh scrum brought a yellow card for Balan.

Roberts slotted the three points for good measure to close the gap to three.

Crucially, though, the Exiles were unable to take further advantage and eventually the home side’s pressure would tell, but only after Stegmann had been yellow carded, as Sukanaveita squeezed through a couple of Welsh tackles to claim the home side’s fourth try.

Welsh might have set up a grandstand finish when Gordon Ross, Roberts and Crane carved through the Lyon defence, only for the final pass to find a Lyon set of hands when a Welsh try seemed a certainty.

But it was not to be and Welsh will now look to build on an encouraging display when they host Bordeaux Begles, third in the Top 14, at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on Thursday (7.45).

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