Scotland A marked their debut in the Churchill Cup with a tough win in the rain and wind of Toronto.
Scotland celebrate victory at the final whistle
Simon Danielli's second half try - barely four minutes after England had been awarded a penalty try - was the telling score for the Scots.
But it was their brave defence in the closing minutes that proved the difference as England pummelled their line but could not break through.
England's hopes of retaining the Cup are now hanging by a thread.
They need Canada to beat Scotland in Ottawa on Wednesday, but another Scottish victory will put Steve Bates' side in the final.
Calum McRae slotted an early penalty for Scotland but England were unfortunate not to score when Chris Bell, a late addition to the side in place of Ayoola Erinle, spilled the ball forward as he slid for the try-line.
After Sam Vesty poked another kick through, Delon Armitage' touch was too heavy and the ball skidded dead.
Worcester number eight Kai Horstman made significant in-roads with the ball in hand and Saracens open-side David Seymour worked tirelessly to keep Scotland under pressure.
But England struggled to find the breakthrough and Scotland might have scored at the other end after a superb counter-attack, Armitage stopping lock Craig Hamilton a metre short.
Dave Walder sliced a penalty wide and MacRae extended the Scots' lead with his second before England's scrum dominance paid off, New Zealand referee Gary Wise awarding a penalty try after three re-set scrums.
But England only held the lead for four minutes before Danielli, the brightest of sparks in the Scotland back division, finished off another well-oiled attack.
Ross Beattie charged on to fly-half Phil Godman's inside ball before feeding Danielli and the Borders winger outpaced Bell.
MacRae converted and missed with a long-range drop goal before England laid siege to the Scotland line, Ben Woods held up over it as the final whistle sounded.
England Saxons head coach Jon Callard:
"I felt we matched the Scots in terms of endeavour and emotion but we probably over-focused on trying to play the ball too often and we weren't as pragmatic as we could have been with the ball.
"The Scots defended well at the end but that is where experience comes in and with a little bit of experience we could have taken that chance."
Scotland A coach Steve Bates:
"Those five minutes at the end I just said 'let's not given them any chance to kick a few penalties'.
"We were very disciplined and I was chuffed about that because this was a very tough, physical outing."
Horak; Armitage, Johnston, Vesty, Bell; Walder, Hodgson; Barnes, Buckland, Turner; Hudson, Schofield; Beattie, Seymour, Horstmann.
Replacements: Paice, Ward, Kennedy, Woods, Wigglesworth, Crockett, Roche.
MacRae; Danielli, Morrison, Dey, Lamont; Godman, Lawson; Jacobsen, Thomson, Noon; Hamilton, Rennie; Beattie, Strokosch, Callam.
Replacements: Kelly, Dickinson, Wilson, A. Hall, Gray, Gregor, N. Walker.
Referee: Gary Wise (Hawke's Bay)