Newcastle Falcons secured a crucial 22-19 Aviva Premiership victory over Sale Sharks at Kingston Park on Friday as they try to avoid Premiership relegation.
The Sharks scored three first-half tries through Tom Brady, James Gaskell and Rob Miller. However, they were ill-disciplined throughout the first period and the accurate Jimmy Gopperth took advantage kicking four penalties.
Newcastle dominated the second period and levelled when Tim Swinson went over before Gopperth struck the decisive three-pointer with two minutes to go.
It was the hosts who took the lead when Gopperth kicked a penalty, but it was Sale who looked more threatening with ball in hand and, after a sweeping move, Brady went over in the corner.
Nick Macleod missed the conversion, but they added to their lead when good work from Macleod and Sam Tuitupou sent Gaskell clear.
This time the fly-half claimed the extra two points for his team, but Gopperth struck back for the Falcons with successive penalties.
However, Newcastle's defence continued to let Sale through far too easily and, when Tuitupou broke the gainline, he linked with Brady who then fed the ball inside for Miller to go over.
Gopperth reduced the arrears with another three-pointer, but the visitors led 19-12 at the break and Newcastle were on the verge of plunging further into the relegation trapdoor.
But they came out with renewed vigour in the second half and, after immense pressure, Swinson touched down after a driving maul.
The Falcons' Kiwi fly-half added the conversion to level matters and then kicked the penalty to win the game and bring them to within four points of Wasps in 11th place.
Final Score Newcastle 22 (12) Sale 19 (19)
Pens: Gopperth 5
Tries: Brady, Gaskell, Miller
Cons: Macleod 2
Referee: David Rose (100th Premiership game)
15 Jeremy Manning, 14 Corne Uys, 13 Jamie Helleur, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Bedford, 10 Jimmy Gopperth (c), 9 Peter Stringer, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Euan Murray, 4 Tim Swinson, 5 James Goode, 6 Taiasina Tu'ifua, 7 Will Welch, 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 James Hall, 19 James Hudson, 20 Adam Balding, 21 Mark Wilson, 22 Will Chudley, 23 Greg Goosen
Sale Sharks :
15.Rob Miller, 14.Tom Brady, 13.Johnny Leota, 12.Sam Tuitupou (capt.), 11.Mark Cueto, 10.Nick Macleod, 9.Dwayne Peel, 1.Andrew Sheridan, 2.Marc Jones, 3.Tony Buckley, 4.Kearnan Myall, 5.James Gaskell, 6.Richie Vernon, 7.David Seymour, 8.Andy Powell.
Replacements 16.Joe Ward, 17.Alasdair Dickinson, 18.Vadim Cobilas, 19.Tom Holmes, 20.Mark Easter, 21.Cillian Willis, 22.Luther Burrell, 23.Will Addison