Ford struck with the game’s final kick in front of watching England head coach Eddie Jones, adding the extras to full-back Anthony Watson’s try and giving Bath a dramatic 25-23 Pool Five victory at the Ricoh Arena.
Watson’s score followed earlier touchdowns from centre Jonathan Joseph and wing Matt Banahan, with Ford kicking the rest of Bath’s points, as Wasps were sunk after starting their European campaign last month by posting emphatic victories over Leinster and Toulon.
Full-back Rob Miller’s 58th-minute try edged Wasps ahead, while Ruaridh Jackson kicked four penalties and Elliot Daly and Jimmy Gopperth landed one apiece – but they ended the game with 13 men after flanker George Smith and substitute prop Lorenzo Cittadini were sin-binned in quick succession.
“It was one of those kicks,” Bath head coach Mike Ford said. “It’s on the touchline, and if he gets it, he gets it and we win. I think I said ’well done’ to him afterwards. He gets his tea tonight!
“We didn’t take our chances at Leicester, and they took theirs and we lost, and then it was the same again last week against Northampton, and we lost.
“We talked all week that if we get into the red zone, as we call it, we are not going to come out until we score.”
Ford revealed that Friday’s training session at Bath’s Farleigh Hungerford base had been a full-on affair, adding: “It was a bit edgy, showing that players care about the position we are in.
“I revved up the non-(starting) XV to be offside in training and to cheat, and make it as difficult as possible (for the starting XV), and we were getting our hair off because we were not scoring.
“There weren’t fisticuffs or anything, but there were a few handbags thrown.
“You want to play fantastic rugby – the beautiful game – but sometimes it just takes guts and heart, and we showed that in bucketfuls today.
“Results had not gone our way. We took a lot of criticism for not being where people think we should be. Every game is small margins but we have confidence and belief.”
Wasps must now recover quickly for next Saturday’s Bath return fixture in the west country, and Wasps boss Dai Young admitted his team need to improve on their latest showing.
“I don’t want to focus on the last five minutes, we need to look at ourselves for the whole performance,” he said. “Bath didn’t play any rugby whatsoever, and we played far too much rugby.
“We were keeping the ball, but weren’t getting much penetration, so we probably should have been a little bit smarter and played the game in the right areas a little bit more than we did.
“If you look at the first half, all their penalties came from our mistakes. We failed to deal with any of their aerial threat, the first three points came from two handling errors, then their try came from a handling error.
“It is disapppointing when you are five points up with two-and-a-half minutes to go, and you can’t close the game out.
“We knew this was going to be a tough group, and we know that anyone in the group can beat each other. Next week is a big game for both teams, obviously. I think we can play a lot better than we did today.
“We are making it hard for ourselves. If you are getting cut to ribbons by the opposition, then you start to worry, but if you look at the points we conceded today, they were from our errors.”
Tries: Miller. Pens: Jackson 4, Daly, Gopperth.
Miller, Tagicakibau, Daly, Jacobs, Piutau, Jackson, Simpson, Mullan, Johnson, Cooper-Woolley, Launchbury, Davies, Haskell, G. Smith, N. Hughes.
Leiua for Jacobs (68), Gopperth for Jackson (59), Robson for Simpson (71), McIntyre for Mullan (67), Cittadini for Cooper-Woolley (48), Gaskell for Davies (64), Jones for N. Hughes (71).
Tries: Joseph, Banahan, Watson. Cons: Ford 2. Pens: Ford 2.
Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, K. Eastmond, Banahan, Ford, Matawalu, Lahiff, Batty, Wilson, Ellis, Attwood, Garvey, Louw, Denton.
Priestland for K. Eastmond (71), Homer for Banahan (65), Catt for Lahiff (55), Webber for Batty (55), Thomas for Wilson (41), Houston for Ellis (13), Ewels for Denton (59).
Jerome Garces (France).