|Exeter (7) 12|
|Tries: Yeandle, S Skinner Con: H Skinner|
|Northampton (7) 13|
|Try: Adendorff Con: Francis Pens: Francis 2|
Exeter Chiefs suffered a controversial second home Premiership defeat of the season after Joe Simmonds failed to take a last-minute conversion.
Sam Skinner scored with a minute left but Simmonds’ attempt to win the game did not even get off the ground.
Simmonds was ruled to have started his run-up, allowing Saints to sprint from their line and kick the ball from the tee into touch.
Shaun Adendorff and Jack Yeandle traded tries and Piers Francis’ boot won it.
The Saints centre landed two penalties in the final quarter to put the visitors 13-7 up before the late drama.
It was a fitting end to a performance of many mistakes by the home side who missed the chance to return to the top of the Premiership.
Saints led through Adendorff’s fourth try in six games but were forced to defend for much of the game.
Yeandle’s try drew Exeter level before the break but the home side squandered several further chances on Northampton’s line.
Sam Simmonds and Will Witty dropped the ball with the line at their mercy and they twice lost line-outs inside Northampton’s 22.
Exeter were camped on Saints’ line for a great portion of the game but, Yeandle’s try from a quick-tap penalty aside, the visitors defended resolutely, even surviving George Furbank’s yellow card without conceding a point.
Northampton had the upper hand in the scrum with a first-half penalty leading to a pushover try for Adendorff and another scrum penalty bought them field position from which Francis kicked them ahead.
Francis’ second successful penalty, also from 40-yards out, crucially extended the lead beyond an unconverted try.
Exeter gave themselves a chance of snatching a last-gasp victory when they worked lock Skinner over in the right corner.
But Joe Simmonds’ conversion attempt never materialised.
The replacement fly-half paused as the Saints players charged towards him, and was left looked perplexed as referee Craig Maxwell-Keys ruled he he had started his run-up with a movement of his shoulder.
Exeter: Hogg; O’Flaherty, Hendrickson, Devoto, Hodge; H Skinner, Maunder; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Witty, S Skinner, Ewers, Capstick, S Simmonds.
Replacements: Innard, Kenny, Street, Armand, Lonsdale, Hidalgo-Clyne, J Simmonds, Whitten.
Northampton: Tuala; Proctor, Hutchinson, Francis, Sleightholme; Furbank, Mitchell; Waller (co-capt), Matavesi, Painter, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Isiekwe, Ludlam (co-capt), Adendorff.
Replacements: Marshall, Auterac, Hill, Coles, Wood, Taylor, Mallinder, Naiyaravoro.
Referee: Christophe Ridley (RFU).