Leeds' Premiership survival hopes are hanging by a thread after a last-gasp try from Nathan Thomas gave them a second bonus point at London Irish.
London Irish (15) 28
Tries: Danaher, Mordt, Armitage
Cons: Flutey 2
Pens: Flutey 3
Leeds (5) 24
Tries: Marshall, Bell, Biggs, Thomas
Cons: De Marigny 2
Defeat at the Madejski Stadium still leaves them eight points adrift with two games left and relying on results elsewhere this weekend.
Irish dominated but could not shake off a battling Leeds side who had skipper Stuart Hooper dismissed on 62 minutes.
Leeds never gave up and Thomas' late try has given them a glimmer of hope.
Irish really should have sealed the points earlier than they did but were unable to convert numerous chances as Leeds defended for their lives.
But win they did and Brian Smith's side are now up to second in the table and looking good for a place in the play-offs.
As for Leeds, they are still almost certain for the drop after suffering their 15th league defeat of the season.
It looked as if the Tykes were heading for a drubbing when Irish piled forward early on but chances for Olivier Magne and Sailosi Tagicakibau were spurned.
Riki Flutey did put Irish ahead with a penalty on nine minutes and when Declan Danaher caught a cross-field kick to touch down 11 minutes later, it looked as if they would cut loose.
But Leeds scrum-half Justin Marshall replied with a score straight from the re-start.
Marshall scored a first-half try but Leeds still crashed to another defeat
Normal service was resumed when centre Nils Mordt, who later came off with a season-ending knee injury, scored a well-worked try on 26 minutes and although Chris Bell claimed a pushover try just after the break, two more Flutey kicks put Irish 21-12 ahead.
Leeds' cause suffered a major blow when Hooper received his second yellow card of the afternoon for punching but wing Tom Biggs reduced the deficit soon after thanks to a breakaway try.
The game seemed over as a contest when Delon Armitage went over only for Thomas to reply with around 40 seconds left on the clock.
London Irish rugby director Brian Smith:
"We went out with the ambition to score four tries, and we came up short.
"We had plenty of opportunities, but Leeds hung in there in our boys said it was the fastest game they've played all season.
"Leeds had momentum at the end - they were playing for their lives - but we are one step closer to our goal of being in the Heineken Cup next season."
Leeds boss Phil Davies:
"We gave a really account of ourselves in the second half.
"We were down to 14 men and had a 19-year-old lock making his league debut, so in the circumstances it was a pretty good second-half effort."
London Irish: Armitage; Ojo, Mordt, Catt, Tagicakibau; Flutey,
Hodgson; Hatley, Russell, Rautenbach; Casey, Roche; Danaher, Magne, Murphy.
Replacements: Geraghty for Mordt (32), Edwards for Hodgson (75), Paice for Russell (40), Skuse for Rautembach (49), Strudwick for Casey (70), Dawson for Magne (66), Leguizamon for Murphy (47).
Sin Bin: Magne (35).
Leeds: Balshaw; Snyman, Bell, Jones, Biggs; De Marigny,
Marshall; Shelley, Bulloch, Gerber; Murphy, Hooper; Morgan, Thomas, Crane.
Replacements: Ross for Jones (40), Rawlinson for Bulloch (50), Cusack for Gerber (29), Myall for Murphy (55).
Not Used: Stitcher, McMillan, Rees.
Sin Bin: Hooper (35).
Sent Off: Hooper (62).
Referee: Chris Jones (England).