Gareth Steenson scored all 19 points as Exeter Chiefs produced a dogged Aviva Premiership Rugby display to see off Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park.
The Chiefs led 13-3 at the break as Steenson crossed the whitewash after five minutes before adding the conversion and two penalties.
Leicester did look dangerous in periods and two penalties from Owen Williams kept them in touch heading into the closing stages.
But a yellow card for Riccardo Brugnara was the final nail in their coffin and the Chiefs saw out the win thanks to the boot of Steenson.
The hosts got to work early and were on the board after five minutes as two mauls drove them close to the line before Steenson picked up the ball and crashed across before adding the extras himself.
But the early score wasn’t a sign of things to come and the Sandy Park faithful had to wait for their side to extend their lead.
It looked like the Tigers had pulled a score back after 33 minutes but the TMO adjudged there to be a knock-on after Adam Thompstone had showed great pace to drive over.
Steenson then extended the Chiefs’ lead to 10-0 when a deliberate knock-on from Tigers brought about a kickable penalty.
The visitors finally got some points on the board with two minutes remaining in the first half as Williams turned over a penalty, but Steenson added another three two minutes into additional time to make the score 13-3 at the break.
The second half started at a blistering pace and the Tigers looked like they were building some momentum.
While both sides came out with intent the scores weren’t forthcoming – though the Tigers were pushing hard for a way back into the match.
The visitors were looking good on the ball and would have been within touching distance if their final passes found the mark.
On 62 minutes the Tigers chipped into the Chiefs’ lead and reduced the deficit to seven as Williams turned over another penalty from a central position.
Exeter had the chance to restore the ten-point gap with 15 minutes left to play but Henry Slade’s kick from the tee went agonisingly wide of the uprights.
With an hour gone Leicester had enjoyed 75% second-half possession and were forcing the Chiefs into some dogged defending.
It hadn’t been vintage rugby from the hosts after the break but in the 70th minute they suddenly burst to life as they worked the ball from left to right and then back again to bring the try line into sight.
With seven minutes left, Sandy Park erupted as the referee awarded the hosts a penalty in front of the posts and Steenson gave his side some room to breathe.
The Chiefs thought they had put the match beyond doubt as Jack Nowell dotted down but a yellow card for Brugnara brought play back and the hosts had to settle for another three from the boot of Steenson.
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