Premier League: Sale Sharks 30-27 Bath – Arron Reed last minute try decides thriller

Bath’s Josh McNally is tackled by Nick Schonert and Simon McIntyre
Sale Sharks (22) 30
Samples: Carpenter, Dugdale, Roebuck, Taylor, Reed Disadvantages: You Preez Pens: You Preez
Bad (10) 27
Samples: Annett, Joseph, Spencer Disadvantages: Spencer (3) Pens: Spencer (2)

Sale Sharks substitute Arron Reed scored a last-minute try to win a thrilling game after Bath threatened to pull off a sensational comeback victory.

Sale had led by 19 points in the first half but fell behind as the clock ticked down to zero before Reed went down to strengthen their grip on second place in the Premier League.

They had secured a bonus point after 32 minutes with tries from Joe Carpenter, Sam Dugdale, Tom Roebuck and Tommy Taylor and looked set for an easy home win.

But Bath, who remain tenth, had fought back superbly with goals from Niall Annett, Jonathan Joseph and captain Ben Spencer as they chased an unlikely away win.

However late it came, the result was enough for Sale to reduce the gap on Premier League leaders Saracens to four points.

They had bowed out of the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend with defeat in Ulster but the first 30 minutes showed their credentials as a rising Premier League force.

Carpenter sparked a fluid move from the home side within a minute of Bath losing winger Will Butt to a yellow card for a high challenge on him.

That left the first look at the shot clock in Premier League Rugby with Rob du Preez, on his 100th Sharks appearance, given 90 seconds to take the conversion which he missed.

Then at the other end Spencer had 60 seconds on the penalty and the crowd could watch the countdown as the Bath skipper poked between the posts.

The hosts were without four players preparing for the Six Nations with England and one of the substitutes, Dugdale, grabbed the second try after a catch and drive from a line-out.

Wing Roebuck added a third in the corner and hooker Taylor had the bonus point score well before the break as Sale’s power up front overwhelmed the opposition.

But from a position of complete dominance, the 19-point lead turned into a two-point deficit.

Annett crossed at the end of the first half, before Joseph touched down after an electric run of pace through the middle, a reminder of the player who scored 17 tries for England.

Bath endured yellow cards for Max Ojomoh and Cameron Redpath before some brilliant play from the Scotland centre, with a wonderful kick over the defence, set up Spencer.

The skipper then converted his own try in front of the posts to put his side in front.

Rob du Preez missed two penalties to put Sale back in front, but there was just enough time for a slick move involving Raffi Quirke and Carpenter for Reed to grab the decisive score.

Victory moves Sale 17 points clear of third-placed Harlequins and heading for a home play-off semi-final.

Despite being just one place off the bottom of the table, Bath are now just seven points behind Quins.

Sales Sharks: Carpenter; Roebuck, S James, Mills, O’Flaherty; R du Preez, Warr; McIntyre, Taylor, Schonert, Wiese, Beaumont, Ross (cap), JL du Preez.

Subs: Ashman, Harrison, Jones, Groves, Birch, Quirke, L James, Reed.

Bath: Gallagher; Cokanasiga, Joseph, Ojomoh, Butt; Bailey, B Spencer; Morozov, Annett, Rae, Attwood, McNally, Hill, Cloete, Reid.

Subs: Doughty, Obano, Jonker, W Spencer, Warner, Schreuder, Redpath, Underhill.

Judge: Karl Dickson.

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