League recruit Stephen Myler signed a new deal with Saints in January
Northampton stand-off Stephen Myler scored 18 of his side's points as they won at bottom club Leeds to end a run of six straight league defeats.
Myler got the first of his side's two tries, also kicking two conversions and three penalties, as the Saints climbed to fourth in the Premiership table.
Winger Paul Diggin got the other try as Saints pulled off their first Premiership win since 26 November.
Danny Paul came off the bench to pull one back for the home side.
But their hopes of avoiding the drop are starting to fade, as, boosted by the return of scrum-half Lee Dixon from injury, Myler's boot proved the telling factor at Headingley.
Despite loose forward Paul's try, and eight points from the boot of stand-off Adrian Jarvis, it now leaves the Yorkshire side rooted to the foot of the table, seven points adrift, having played a game more than nearest rivals Newcastle.
Buoyed by last week's stunning victory over London Irish, Leeds came out with intent, their early pressure being rewarded with a Jarvis penalty.
But, with hooker Steve Thompson away on England duty, Leeds' line-out struggled. And, after Scott Freer's throw was stolen, full-back Michael Stephenson dropped a Myler kick to allow the stand-off to follow up for his own converted try.
There were lots of questions asked of Stephen Myler, particularly over the last few weeks and he played well
Northampton coach Jim Mallinder
The hosts reduced the gap when Jarvis struck his second three-pointer, before Myler responded with one of his own when Leeds were adjudged to be offside to open up a 10-6 lead at the break.
And, buoyed by their ferocious defence, Saints gradually extended that lead to take the game out of sight.
After two more Myler penalties in the space of four minutes, he popped an inside ball for Diggin and the winger ran on to evade several missed tackles before touching down under the posts.
Myler added the extras to put Northampton 23-6 up with only a quarter of an hour left.
With seven minutes left, the hosts gave themselves hope when Paul powered through some weak tackling, Jarvis adding the conversion.
But Jarvis then failed with a late penalty, hitting the post when a successful kick would have earned his side a valuable losing bonus point.
Leeds coach Neil Back: "The tackle contest was very interesting in the interpretation and it negated either side having quick ball so it was a problem.
"The law states the tackler must release and not stay on the ball and that didn't happen but it slowed the ball down for both sides and made it fragmented and difficult.
"Also the scrum was an issue as well when the scrum goes round 90 degrees it's either a penalty or it's opposition ball and it was a reset."
Northampton coach Jim Mallinder: "There were lots of questions asked of Stephen Myler, particularly over the last few weeks and he played well.
"He scored a try, kicked his points, not easy penalties, and you need somebody who will keep the scoreboard ticking over.
"When Lee Dixon plays he gives real energy and tempo to the side.
"Some of our attacking play looked a lot sharper and we got on the front foot and created quite a lot of opportunities."
Leeds: Stephenson; Fa'afili, Burrell, S Barrow, Wackett; Jarvis, Mathie; Hardy, Freer, Gomez; Browne, Hohneck; Myall, Fourie, To'oala. Replacements: Tadulala for S Barrow (63), Fury for Mathie (72), MacDonald for Hardy (51), Nilsen for Freer (51), Swainston for Gomez (51), Paul for To'oala (65). Not Used: Craig, Thomas.
Northampton: Geraghty; Reihana, Clarke, Downey, Diggin; Myler, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Sharman, Mujati; Lawes, Day; Clark, Dowson, Wilson. Replacements: Commins for Dickson (72), Waller for Tonga'uiha (72), Long for Sharman (72), Mercey for Mujati (72), Easter for Clark (72). Not Used: Sorenson, Cornwell, Tonks.
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