Adrian Jarvis claimed 17 points with the boot as relegation-threatened Leeds secured a tense 27-22 victory over Exeter at Headingley Carnegie.
The former Bristol fly-half landed four penalties, a conversion and a drop goal and Hendre Fourie and Alfie To'oala touched down as Neil Back's bottom-placed side moved to within two points of Newcastle.
Leeds face Newcastle at Kingston Park on Saturday in what will be billed as a relegation decider and they will take great heart from this victory. Try-scoring opportunities were scarce in the opening exchanges but Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson opened the scoring with his first penalty of the match in the 14th minute.
Leeds steadied themselves and were level three minutes later when Jarvis replied with a penalty and midway through the half he added another one to put his side 6-3 ahead. The hosts showed plenty of desire and commitment and were rewarded in the 32nd minute when Fourie crossed the line to cap a period of sustained pressure.
Excellent work from Scott Mathie saw Peter Wackett and Kearnan Myall go close but Fourie was not to be denied and the South African-born flanker grounded the ball for a try which Jarvis converted. However, Steenson added another penalty goal from distance to reduce the deficit and Jarvis did likewise on the stroke of half-time to leave the scores finely poised at 16-6 at the break.
Exeter then caught Leeds cold five minutes after the restart when wing Nemani Nadolo charged down the left flank to stretch the home defence. His progress was halted by a home defender but Bryan Rennie followed up to collect the ball and make the short charge over the line.
Steenson converted the try and Jarvis then failed with a penalty goal attempt before being made to pay moments later. Steenson, having just missed a penalty himself, made no mistake in the 51st minute as his kick sailed over the posts to level the scores at 16-16.
Jarvis then added another penalty in the 56th minute to put Leeds back in front and nine minutes later Headingley was in raptures as a rolling maul from 20 metres out culminated in To'oala touching down among a sea of bodies. Jarvis failed to convert and then saw a penalty rebound off a post with nine minutes remaining as Leeds began to dominate territory.
Jarvis added a drop goal eight minutes from time and although Exeter hit back with a Steenson drop goal, Leeds held on for victory.