London Irish 21-19 Sale
London Irish (12) 21
- Evans, Ojo
- Homer, Jarvis 2
Sale (10) 19
- MacLeod 4
A late penalty from Adrian Jarvis gave London Irish a narrow win over Sale.
Sharks full-back Rob Miller crossed for an early try which Nick MacLeod converted before the same player made it 0-10 with a penalty from distance.
Bryn Evans' try was converted by Tom Homer and Topsy Ojo went over to give Irish a half-time lead
MacLeod landed three more kicks but a further score from Homer and a Jarvis brace won it for Irish, who had David Paice sin-binned for a dump tackle.
The hosts were looking to make up for their 30-3 hiding at Bath last week but fell behind when Miller drove over after an inside pass by Johnny Leota.
This was convert by MacLeod who then landed the first of four penalties.
This brought Irish to life and Evans touched down after being released by Jonathan Spratt, Homer converting.
Ojo further underlined the home team's growing dominance when he went over after being fed by Steve Shingler.
The interval gave the Sharks much-needed respite and they improved after the break when home hooker David Paice was sin-binned for a poor challenge on Andy Powell.
MacLeod's long distance penalty put them back in front but in truth they could not fully capitalise on their man advantage.
The lead changed hands as MacLeod, Jarvis and Homer all kicked over to leave the scores poised at 18-16 to the Exiles, heading into the closing stages.
After Marland Yarde's rush of blood to the head was punished by MacLeod's fourth penalty Sale looked like they might hold out for the win but Jarvis landed his second kick to give the hosts victory.
London Irish head coach Toby Booth: "If we had been more clinical, we could have made it more comfortable.
"That's what pressure does and that is what an injury list does. By the first 10 minutes, we were a bit tentative, and you have to give Sale credit for that.
"But we could have been considerably in front by half-time, if we had been more clinical. But I'm not going to shy away from the fact that the victory was very important from what we produced last week."
Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond: "I'm concerned about the referee being absolutely right about the penalty at the scrum.
"I'm not whinging but if the referee is going to make his interpretations, let it be consistent. That's what we are after.
"It is hard to take when such a crucial decision is made like that. He has to be 100% right that we wheeled the scrum. He ought to come to a coaching session and see that the wheel went out of the game 10 years ago."
London Irish: D. Armitage; Ojo, Spratt, Shingler, Homer; Jarvis, Allinson; Dermody, Paice, Ion; Kennedy, Garvey; Evans, Gibson, Gray.
Replacements: Thompstone for Ojo (77), Yarde for Homer (62), Corbisiero for Dermody (62), Rautenbach for Ion (62), Casey for Kennedy (77), Sisi for Gibson (17).
Sin Bin: Paice (49).
Sale: Miller; Brady, Leota, Tuitupou, Tuculet; MacLeod, Peel; Dickinson, Jones, Buckley; McKenzie, Gaskell; Vernon, Auva'a, Powell.
Replacements: Willis for Peel (72), Cobilas for Buckley (54), Myall for Gaskell (47), Easter for Powell (59).
Ref: Wayne Barnes (RFU).