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Aviva Premiership: Gloucester beat Northampton in race for play-off spot
Gloucester moved above Northampton in the chase for a play-off place with a 27-11 victory in their Aviva Premiership clash at Franklin's Gardens.
Two tries from Jonny May and 17 points from the boot of Robert Cook gave Gloucester a vital win against their close rivals in the table, while some hard-hitting defence ensured that Saints got exactly nothing from what was a crucial home game.
The Cherry-and-Whites moved into fourth place in the table, even if only temporarily, with a first win in four away from home.
Northampton remain in sixth place in the table after drawing a blank from their fifth defeat at home this season, despite Phil Dowson's try and two penalties from Stephen Myler.
For so long a fortress, it was Northampton's third defeat at Franklin's Gardens in the league, and it was down to some magnificent Gloucester defence as Saints were twice stopped on the line and held up over it once.
May conjured a piece of magic in the first half and then pounced on a dropped ball for a 70-metre try for his second. After that it was dogged defence from Gloucester who took revenge for losing at home to Northampton at the start of the season.
Cook made it 6-3 after some aerial ping-pong ended with Northampton making the mistake and being caught offside and Myler had a chance to draw Northampton level, but pulled his kick from 10 metres in from the left touchline wide.
On 20 minutes May, playing on the wing, popped up in midfield from a lineout move to turn George Pisi inside out and sprint clear of Lee Dickson for the first try of the game. It gave Gloucester an 11-3 lead as Cook missed the conversion.
Myler cut the visitors' lead to five with a 28th minute penalty, but a scrum penalty for Gloucester against tighthead Tom Mercey saw Cook make it 14-6 and when Mike Tindall got over the ball, the full-back added three more.
GJ van Velze was then caught lying on the ball two metres from his line and was yellow-carded four minutes before half-time.
Two minutes into the second half James Wilson dropped a pass and May raced home from 70 metres for his second try. Cook made it 24-6 for the visitors.
Two minutes later May was sin-binned as Gloucester tried to stop a five metre lineout drive and the home side thought they had scored a try when they went again but the TMO saw Samu Manoa drop the ball as he went to put it down.
Northampton kicked to the corner again on 54 minutes and this time Phil Dowson jinked and powered his way over. But Northampton celebrations were cut short as Manoa was yellow-carded for a punch after the try to reduce the game to 14 against 14.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com