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Exeter recorded their first away win of the Aviva Premiership season following a 27-23 victory at the Madejski Stadium.
The visitors looked like running away with it at once stage having led 21-3 18 minutes into the contest.
The Exiles hit back to lead 23-21 midway through the second half before two Gareth Steenson penalties settled the tie.
The visitors started well and opened the scoring in the third minute with an excellent try. When Irish attempted to relieve the early pressure, the Chiefs counter-attacked through Steenson and Matt Jess to create a try for Phil Dollman. Steenson missed the conversion but then kicked two penalties to give the visitors an 11-point advantage inside 10 minutes.
Irish responded through an Ian Humphreys penalty, conceded for a high tackle from Tom Hayes, but the hosts made an elementary error straight from the restart to concede a penalty which Steenson kicked.
On almost every occasion that Exeter were in possession, they seemed capable of breaching the home defence and so it came as no surprise when they extended their lead in the 18th minute. Haydn Thomas sent Jess through another gap and Luke Arscott went over for the try, with Steenson converting.
A deliberate knock on from Dean Mumm conceded a penalty to London Irish which enabled Humphreys to make it 21-6.
They scored a try of their own with Leo Halavatau driving over from a line-out, leaving Humphreys to convert superbly from the touchline.
It was 21-13 at the interval but Exeter should have been further ahead and they were made to pay when a clever crossfield kick from Humphreys allowed Topsy Ojo to race in for a try, which Humphreys converted.
Arscott was then penalised for not releasing, allowing Humphreys to hammer over a penalty from inside his own half to put Irish into the lead for the first time with 30 minutes remaining.
Exeter won another penalty for Steenson but the Chiefs received a let-off when Tom Homer missed a penalty from 30 metres, as the full-back took over kicking duties in the temporary absence of the injured Humphreys.
Exeter nearly finished with a flourish against the run of play, but Jack Nowell lost the ball in the process of touching down, before Steenson's fifth penalty of the game sealed the points with one minute remaining.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stuart Barnes with skysports.com