London Irish returned to the summit of the Aviva Premiership after a last-gasp try from winger Jonathan Joseph secured a 39-26 win over Sale.
The Exiles appeared to have blown the chance of replacing Northampton at the top of the table following an unlikely comeback from the visitors.
But England Under-18 international Joseph, who started in place of the injured Sailosi Tagicakibau on the left wing, intercepted Chris Jones' pass deep into injury time to secure the bonus point with his second try of the game.
Sale had looked finished after Ryan Lamb, Joseph and George Stowers had run in tries to help Irish establish a 26-6 lead as the final quarter loomed.
But instead of probing for the bonus point needed to overhaul Northampton, the Exiles were forced to mount a desperate rearguard action.
Sale's fightback began with a 58th-minute try from Anitelea Tuilagi before Ben Cohen added a second shortly after.
With fly-half Nick MacLeod producing a faultless kicking display - he finished with 16 points - Irish were left glancing nervously at a scoreboard that read 26-26.
However, two late penalties from Lamb helped them regain control in the final five minutes before Joseph scored the crucial fourth try amid a frantic finish.