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Page last updated at 22:00 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

Sale 10-19 Leeds

Sale (7) 10
Try: Ormsby Con: Hodgson Pen: Hodgson

Leeds (13) 19
Try: Mathie Con: Thomas Pens: Thomas (3) Drop-goal: Thomas

Sale v Leeds badges

Leeds closed the gap to Worcester to one point as the bottom-of-the-table side earned only their third win of the season at Sale on Friday.

Ceiron Thomas scored 14 points and set up Scott Mathie's try as Leeds claimed their first-ever win over the Sharks, who suffered a sixth straight defeat.

Kristian Ormsby's early try gave Sale a good start before Mathie touched down to give Leeds an interval lead.

One positive note on a miserable night for Sale was the return of Dwayne Peel.

The Welsh international scrum-half was keen to prove his fitness after a groin injury, and not only lasted the full 80 minutes but was one of his team's better performers.

Thomas's early drop-goal put Leeds ahead, before Sale piled on the pressure with Thomas forced into a last-ditch tackle to deny prop Eifion Roberts a try.

But Leeds could only hold out for so long, and went behind when Charlie Hodgson set up flanker Ormsby to score before the fly-half added the conversion.

A Thomas penalty cut the lead and he then set up Mathie's try in the corner after a period of sustained pressure.

Peel made a difference after the break when his quick tap-penalty caused chaos in the Leeds defence, allowing Hodgson to notch a penalty, which was promptly cancelled out by another from Thomas.

The Leeds fly-half then extended the lead to nine points and it remained intact late on when Sale's David Bishop got over the line in the corner, only to be prevented from grounding the ball by dogged defence.

Defeat leaves Sale in 10th place, only four points ahead of Leeds and three ahead of Worcester.

Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones:

"It is probably the lowest point in my playing or coaching career. That is what it feels like right now but we have got to face up to it.

"It was a disappointing result and a disappointing performance. The best side won. It is just not acceptable. That is the reality.

"Tonight was a critical game in our season. It is going to be interesting to see how we respond. It's hit me really hard.

"It does not get much lower than losing at home to a team bottom of the league."

Leeds director of rugby Andy Key:

"We are hugely delighted. The result was exactly what we want but also the performance.

"We know we have been getting closer and closer to the sort of performances that will get us consistent wins.

"We have never stopped believing (we can avoid relegation). We have always believed we've had the squad and the players.

"You are now starting to see performances that will continue. It was exactly what we wanted from the team."

Sale: Vakacegu, James, Bishop, Thomas, Cohen, Hodgson, Peel; Kerr, Briggs, Roberts, Jones, Schofield, Ormsby, Fearns, Koyamaibole.
Replacements: Seymour for Koyamailbole (47), Ripol for James (54), Halsall for Kerr (61), Schwalger for Briggs (61).
Not Used: O'Donnell, Cox, Wigglesworth, Styles.

Leeds: Hinton, Fa'afili, Rabeni, Barrow, Blackett, Thomas, Gomarsall, MacDonald, Titterell, Gomez, Lund, Wentzel (capt), Clark, Fourie, Oakley.
Replacements: Mathie for Gomarsall (20), Myall for Clark (55), To'oala for Oakley (55), Ma'asi for Titterrell (60), Swainston for Gomez (60), Hardy for MacDonald (73).
Not Used: Ford, Welding.

Att: 6,906

Ref: Dave Pearson (Newcastle)

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see also
Gomarsall excited by 200th game
18 Feb 10 |  Leeds
Wasps 22-16 Sale
14 Feb 10 |  English
Leeds 9-14 Leicester
14 Feb 10 |  English

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