Replacement Tom Brady’s try nine minutes from time proved decisive as the Sale Sharks hung on to record a 14-13 victory over Bath Rugby and take a giant leap towards Aviva Premiership survival.
The 22-year-old touched down in the 71st minute to give Sale a 14-10 lead, which they just clung onto as a Tom Heathcote penalty moments later set up a tense finish.
Bath led 10-9 for much of the second period after fly-half Heathcote, who slotted a penalty in the first half, converted a try from wing Horacio Agulla after 53 minutes.
Bath started the game brightly with Dave Attwood charging through a series of missed Sale tackles, before Charlie Amesbury stopped him in his tracks.
The visitors were struggling to gain territory in the Sale half though, with their kicks being swallowed up by the strong wind swirling around Salford City Stadium.
Sale took the evening’s first points, with Macleod slotting his penalty from a wide right position and over the posts in the 21st minute.
Bath attempted to hit back with the boot ten minutes later, but Heathcote’s close-range penalty veered wide to the delight of the Sale faithful.
But Heathcote was successful with his next penalty in the 36th minute – his effort from 40 metres out just making it over the posts.
The Sharks were back in front minutes later however with fly-half Macleod calmly slotting his central close-range penalty.
And Sale continued to take advantage of kicking into the wind in the first-half as Macleod finished his third penalty in the 37th minute.
Bath charged out of the blocks in the second-half and were unlucky not to double their score when Heathcote’s penalty from the half-way line drifted wide.
And Agulla nearly produced the first try of the match, with a smart box kick over the Sale defence, but he was pushed into touch ten metres short.
But Bath got their try in the 53rd minute as Matt Banahan broke through the Sale backline to offload to Agulla to dive over, with Heathcote converting.
Sale missed the opportunity to pin the visitors back minutes later with Macleod’s first missed penalty of the evening.
The home side were asking questions of the Bath defence but a series of territory-gaining rucks failed to result in points on the board.
The Sharks were putting pressure on the Bath backline and substitute Tony Buckley was halted ten metres short of the line.
But Sale roared ahead in the 71st minute, transferring the play out wide for Brady to race into the corner to dive over the whitewash although Macleod failed to add the extras.
Bath reduced the deficit in the 76th minute with a expertly slotted long-range penalty from a central position to set-up a grandstand finish in Salford.
And the Sharks held on to stop a run of back to back Aviva Premiership defeats.