Late score saves Tigers' blushes
Aviva Premiership champions Leicester pulled a draw out of the fire with a fabulous try at the end of a titanic east Midlands derby at home to Northampton.
Trailing 19-12 with just four minutes left, Leicester lock Ed Slater scored a try from close range which was converted by Toby Flood to salvage two points after the Tigers looked like losing at home to their rivals for the first time since February 2007.
Flood finished with 14 points, as did his opposite number Stephen Myler, who converted a try by Alex Corbisiero and kicked four penalties in the 19-19 draw.
There was a dramatic start to the match when Leicester lost winger Blaine Scully who, after a long period of treatment, had to go off injured after being clattered at the breakdown following Northampton's kick-off. He was replaced by Dan Bowden but returned shortly afterwards.
Leicester destroyed Northampton's pack at the next two scrums and while that became a feature of the first half, Northampton just about had the edge and turned round 9-6 ahead thanks to three penalties by fly-half Myler to two from his opposite number Flood.
Flood missed a long range penalty in the third minute and five minutes later Myler put the visitors ahead with one from even further out, one metre inside the Leicester half.
Northampton came close to scoring after robbing Jordan Crane at the base of a scrum and counter attacking through George Pisi and Wood but captain Dylan Hartley knocked on in the Leicester 22.
Saints turned down the chance of an easy three points and went for the try from a line-out and drive but they knocked on and in the 15th minute
Flood put Leicester on level terms with a 40 metre penalty.It came after centre Luther Burrell was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on opposite Anthony Allen after the referee consulted the TV match official.
Northampton, however, won that 10 minute period 3-0 thanks to a second Myler penalty four minutes later and he made it 9-3 with another in the 27th minute.
Flood put Leicester back in it with his second penalty in the 30th minute but were struggling to get a foothold in the game because of Northampton's impressive play at the breakdown.
Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs tried to counter but his overhead pass was intercepted by Burrell whose joy at scoring was shortlived as the referee went back for the knock-on.
Flood failed with a penalty from halfway at the start of the second half and shortly afterwards Northampton extended their lead to 16-6 with a short range try after a move from England prop Alex Corbisiero converted by Myler.
Flood replied with a penalty four minutes later but Northampton were soon battering the Leicester defence and in the 56th minute the referee consulted the TMO again, this time after number eight Sam Dickinson forced his way over. He was held up and at the scrum Lee Dickson was penalised for feeding.
Leicester wasted a golden opportunity after a half break by Flood when Crane's pass to Vereniki Goneva went forward.
Leicester, roared on by the huge crowd, suddenly found some form but their finishing again let them down when Ed Slater dropped Kitchener's pass with men over.
And in the 67th minute Myler made the pay with his fourth penalty to put Saints 19-9 ahead.
Flood pulled three points back nine minutes from time but Leicester lost Louis Deacon to the sin-bin for backchat to the referee.
With the game looking lost Leicester launched a last-ditch attack with four minutes left. They won a line-out near the Saints line and after a great break by Flood, Slater barged his way over. Flood converted.