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    Penalty goals: Ford (2),
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Aiva Premiership: Sale hang on for 12-11 win over Bath

Last updated: 28th March 2014  

George Ford Bath Harlequins

George Ford: Two costly late misses for Bath

 Sale Aviva Prem

Sale celebrate stunning win at the Recreation Ground

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Sale's surge towards an Aviva Premiership play-off place gathered pace following a hard-fought 12-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday night.

Steve Diamond's men produced a heroic defensive effort amid unrelenting second half pressure from Bath to claim their fourth league win in a row and close the gap on fourth-placed Leicester, who play Saturday, to three points.

Danny Cipriani kicked all 12 points for Sale while opposite number George Ford was left to rue a missed conversion from Ross Batty's 76th minute try, as well as a sliced drop-goal in the dying stages.

Sale were in control for the first half of the game but were relieved that referee Dean Richards showed only one yellow card, to replacement prop Henry Thomas, as they conceded six scrum penalties on the same patch of mud on their own five-metre line.

A Paul James 'no arms' tackle allowed Cipriani to kick the opening penalty after seven minutes but Ford levelled at 3-3 from short range soon after when the Sale backs were caught offside.

Sale, moving the ball confidently, were rewarded with a second Cipriani penalty when Matt Garvey was penalised for a high tackle on hooker Marc Jones.

Pressure

The visitors were also winning the scrum battle, as Bath conceded two penalties on their own heel, the second giving Cipriani his third successful penalty, this time from nearly 50 metres.

Try-scoring chances were few and far between, however, but number eight Leroy Houston brought the crowd to their feet by running straight over the top of Dave Seymour and Ford pulled back three points when Sale infringed at a ruck.

The Bath fly-half had a chance to draw his side level just before half-time for a similar offence, but the kick drifted wide from near half-way and Sale were well worth their 9-6 lead at the break.

Bath were caught trying to play their way out of their 22 soon shortly after the restart and presented Cipriani with his fourth successful kick, with Ford again off target at the other end.

Bath built a period of pressure and when Sale collapsed a five-metre scrum - their fourth penalty in seven scrums on the same patch of ground - Thomas was shown the yellow card on 68 minutes. On it went, with two more penalties without the scrum being completed before Sale eventually scrambled the ball into touch to end a farcical 10-minute sequence.

Bath finally forced their way over from a line-out catch and drive in the 75th minute with hooker Batty emerging from the heap of bodies. This time the television match official found in Bath's favour but Ford's conversion was wide.

With less than a minute remaining, Ford had a drop goal attempt charged down by Nick Macleod and then was agonisingly wide with another attempt right on the final whistle as Bath suffered only their second league defeat at home since December 2012.

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TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 14th November
Aviva Premiership
19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
19:45Northampton vs Exeter
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
17:00Bath vs Newcastle
Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
15:00Exeter vs Wasps
Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins
Saturday 29th November
15:00Leicester vs Wasps
16:30Exeter vs Saracens
Sunday 30th November
13:00London Irish vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Northampton
15:15Newcastle vs Sale
Saturday 20th December
14:00Sale vs Exeter
15:00Gloucester vs Bath
15:00Northampton vs Leicester
15:00Saracens vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Newcastle
Sunday 21st December
14:00Wasps vs London Irish
Friday 26th December
15:00London Irish vs London Welsh

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Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

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