Shane Geraghty’s drop goal with time up at the Madejski clinched a rare Premiership win for London Irish over Exeter, 28-26 the score.
Dean Mumm’s try and eight points from the boot of Gareth Steenson gave the Chiefs a 13-5 advantage at the interval.
Blair Cowan’s first score had established a 5-3 lead in the first period for the Exiles, but the visitors were the better team in the opening 40.
That changed in the second half as three touchdowns from Tom Guest, Alex Lewington and Cowan turned the game on its head.
But the missed conversions by Geraghty appeared to prove crucial as Dave Ewers reduced the deficit for Exeter before two Steenson three-pointers to Tom Homer’s one looked to have snatched a narrow victory.
Yet, there was another twist as the hosts’ fly-half was on target with the final kick of the match.
Irish were in the midst of a dreadful run of form having gone into the game with just three league wins all season.
Not only that but unlike Newcastle Falcons, a team who are near them in the table, their performances have been shambolic at times.
However, they displayed an improvement throughout the opening period and a Steenson penalty was all that separated the teams in the first quarter.
In fact, it was Brian Smith’s men who touched down first when Cowan went over following a dominant driving maul.
That lead didn’t last long as the Exeter stand-off kicked a second three-pointer before Mumm crossed the whitewash after good work from Jack Yeandle and Henry Slade.
Despite starting the second period with an eight-point buffer they couldn’t build on that and it was the Exiles who managed to score two tries in quick succession.
Firstly, another creative lineout move from the hosts caused enough havoc to allow Guest to power over before Lewington scampered clear.
With the momentum now in the hosts’ favour, the Reading-based outfit secured the bonus-point through Cowan’s second score.
It was another setback for an Exeter team who themselves were struggling for form, but they are renowned for their resilience and Ewers’ outstanding finish reduced the deficit to two points.
Homer and Steenson then traded penalties as the home side went into the final 10 minutes 25-23 ahead.
The Chiefs went in front though their stand-off, but Geraghty, who had otherwise had a shocking game with the boot, won the match for Irish with a drop-goal.
Tries: Cowan 2, Guest, Lewington
Drop Goal: Geraghty
Tries: Mumm, Ewers
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 4
London Irish: 15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Tom Guest, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Dan Leo, 20 Kieran Low, 21 Tom