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Homer wins it for visitors
Exiles grab late win at Franklin's Gardens
Tom Homer kicked a penalty two minutes from time to give London Irish a controversial first Aviva Premiership win of the season.
Northampton were convinced that Jonathan Joseph knocked-on as he offunloaded to Homer just prior to the hosts being penalised.
The visitors had taken a seventh-minute lead when Homer kicked a 30-metre penalty after Tom Mercey was punished for hauling down Nick Kennedy at a line-out.
Within three minutes the Saints were level. A crunching tackle by Chris Hala'ufia on Paul Diggin was adjudged to be high by the touch judge and Ryan Lamb kicked the equalising penalty.
Irish should have restored their advantage but Homer's penalty attempt from 35 metres out rebounded back off a post.
Northampton scrum-half Martin Roberts made the first clean break of the game and his long pass found Noah Cato but the wing was easily hauled down.
Dan Bowden then split the home defence with an eye-catching run but Irish gave away a penalty just as they appeared likely to threaten the home line.
Northampton exerted pressure on the Irish eight at the set scrum but they could not make that pay in terms of points as both sides made frequent elementary errors.
Eventually two neat breaks from Roberts sparked the game into some life to enable the home side to build up some pressure in the opposition 22.
London Irish were penalised and Lamb knocked over a simple penalty, but with the last kick of the half the outside half missed with another straightforward attempt after Irish prop Leo Halavatau was sin-binned for dragging down a maul.
In Halavatau's 10-minute absence, Northampton never looked like extending their 6-3 interval advantage as Irish had the better of the opening exchanges of the second half.
The visitors then tied up the scores when Homer kicked a simple penalty after 51 minutes.
The first try went to the visitors when Hala'ufia produced a storming run to brush aside four home tacklers before offloading to Topsy Ojo. The wing was tackled just short of the line but the ball was moved along the line for Kennedy to outflank the cover and dive over in the corner.
Northampton immediately made two changes, bringing on Brian Mujati and Stephen Myler, with the latter having a quick chance to make an impact but he fired wide with a 40-metre penalty attempt.
With 10 minutes remaining the Saints twice opted not to kick penalties in favour of a kick to the corner and a forward drive, and it paid dividends when referee Martin Fox awarded a penalty try as Irish once again offended at the scrummage area.
Myler converted to put Northampton in front but there was still time for Homer's late penalty winner.
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com