Bath sinking delights Diamond
Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond hailed the resilience of his side as they repelled a late Bath comeback to emerge with a 19-13 victory on Friday night.
Fly-half Danny Cipriani was named man of the match after kicking 14 points for the Sharks while Andy Forsyth touched down his second try of the season, following his summer switch from champions Leicester Tigers.
However, when Michael Paterson was shown a yellow card for playing the ball in the ruck, Phil Davies' West Country side increased the intensity.
Despite being under siege for the majority of the closing stages, Sale managed to resist a late barrage, much to the delight of Diamond.
"It was a good all-round performance," he said. "In the first half we dodged a bullet really when they didn't score that second try and I think the game could have changed there, but we managed to get away with it.
"Then we got back into the game in the first half and turned around 16-10 in front and we were confident at half-time.
"Defensively in the second half, we went down to 14 men, but the likes of [Tommy] Taylor, [Dan] Braid, [Dave] Seymour and Paterson killed them at the breakdown legally."
Diamond joked about Bath taking away a losing bonus point after Sale reserve Joe Ford had the opportunity to send the visitors, and his brother George - whom he was up against for the first time since their debuts in 2009 - empty-handed with a late penalty.
"We managed to not let George Ford play and that was the intent, although his brother probably gave them the bonus-point by missing a late penalty so I will have a word with him about that," he added. "I'm not saying he missed it deliberately, but.."
The Sharks boss always praised the performance of Cipriani, who scored a drop-goal to open the scoring before adding three penalties and a conversion.
"What Danny is showing is some consistency," he said. "He's defending, he's sensible with his game plan and he's sticking to what we say, so Danny played well."
Meanwhile, Bath head coach Mike Ford was disappointed with the performance of their forwards as they were out-muscled at the breakdown.
"We didn't play well but credit to Sale, I thought they played particularly well," Ford commented. "The breakdown was an issue for us, they were pretty ferocious in that area and got on top.
"It's hard to go away from home, lose that breakdown and also the drive. It's two fundamental parts of the game that they were on top of.
"This is a long journey for us, no trophies are handed out tonight but we'll take our medicine, get back on Monday and make sure we get better."