Premiership: Wasps 13-7 Exeter Chiefs
|Wasps (7) 13|
|Try: Watson Con: Cipriani Pens: Gopperth 2|
|Exeter (0) 7|
|Try: Cowan-Dickie Con: Steenson|
Wasps condemned champions Exeter to a third straight Premiership defeat as they held on for a narrow victory.
Marcus Watson's converted try was the only score of a frantic first half, before Jimmy Gopperth's penalty stretched their advantage.
Luke Cowan-Dickie's try hauled Chiefs back into it as Wasps went a man down to a yellow card for Ashley Johnson.
But the hosts soaked up the pressure and Gopperth slotted a second penalty in the closing stages to seal the win.
Victory for Wasps sees them narrow the deficit on Exeter in second to four points - but it came at a cost for Dai Young's side, with injuries to Watson, Danny Cipriani, Jack Willis and Alex Rieder.
Exeter, meanwhile, have been replaced by Saracens at the top following defeats by Newcastle, Worcester and now Wasps.
Rob Baxter's men were unable to stop the rot even with a number of internationals back in their starting line-up.
A first-half yellow card to second row Jonny Hill for a dangerous tackle on Wasps full-back Willie le Roux made life difficult as they tried to respond to Watson's early try.
They could have fallen further behind had a Josh Bassett score not been ruled out on review by the television match official from Gopperth's forward pass.
Wasps' defence was finally breached in the second half moments after going a man down as Johnson was sent to the sin bin on the hour mark in a dangerous collision with Don Armand.
But Cowan-Dickie's try was all they could muster for their losing bonus point.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young:
"It was a real arm wrestle but we matched them physically and just did enough to win.
"We let ourselves down in the last 20 minutes of the European game against Harlequins, when they wanted it more - and we agreed among ourselves that wouldn't happen again.
"We were very good last week by winning with 14 men against the Quins and we knew we had to back it up. We bombed a few chances but it was a great win for us and a big tick in the box."
Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter:
"I'm a lot more OK with today than last week as our foundations were there but we weren't clinical enough.
"Dave Ewers was well over the line but couldn't get the ball down.
"So it's fine margins between winning and losing, but I believe we are back on an upward curve."
Wasps: Le Roux; Watson, Lovobalavu, Gopperth, Bassett; Cipriani, Robson; McIntyre, Cruse, Moore; Gaskell (capt), Myall; Willis, Young, Thompson.
Replacements: Johnson, Mullan, Cooper-Woolley, Rowlands, Rieder, Simpson, Macken, Wade.
Exeter: Turner; Cordero, Devoto, Hill, Woodburn; Steenson (capt), Chudley; Hepburn, Cowan-Dickie, Francis, Lees, Hill, Ewers, Salvi, Armand
Replacements: Innard, Moon, Holmes, Skinner, Waldrom, Townsend, J Simmonds, Whitten.
Sin Bin: J Hill (15).
Referee: JP Doyle (England)