Sale Sharks moved closer to Aviva Premiership safety on Friday with a 15-12 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Edgeley Park.
Charlie Hodgson's contribution of five penalties proved typically decisive in a match in which Leeds claimed two fine tries from Henry Fa'afili and Michael Stephenson.
Yet Neil Back's side will feel they deserved more after showing plenty of guts and determination throughout, although a losing bonus point at least ensured they did not go home empty-handed.
Hodgson put his side 3-0 up in the third minute with a penalty but Leeds stormed back to take the lead in the eighth minute as Fa'afili dived over in the right corner to cap a fine flowing move.
Fly-half Adrian Jarvis added the extras to put Leeds 7-3 up and give them the scent of a famous victory.
However, Jarvis was denied the opportunity to put his side further ahead in the 11th minute when his penalty attempt rebounded off a post.
Hodgson then kicked a penalty from distance to cut the visitors' lead to a point and then booted another one shortly before the break to hand Sale a slender 9-7 lead.
Sale's talisman, who will leave the club at the end of the season and join Saracens, added his fourth penalty in the 46th minute.
He then claimed his fifth soon after but Leeds conjured a late rally which saw Stephenson go over in the left corner in the closing stages.
The full-back was caught late by Mark Cueto in the act of scoring and the England wing was sinbinned for the challenge but Sale held on for victory.
Pens: Hodgson 5
Tries: Fa'afili, Stephenson
Sale: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Ben Cohen, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Neil McMillan, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Wame Lewaravu, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Lee Imiolek.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Jack Forster, 19 Sean Cox, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Paul Williams, 23 Kyle Tonetti.
Leeds Carnegie: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Henry Faafili, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Peter Wackett, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Alfie Tooala, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Sean Hohneck, 4 Daniel Browne, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Steve Thompson(c), 1 Mike MacDonald.
Replacements: 16 Scott Freer, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Juan Gomez, 19 Rhys Oakley, 20 Danny Paul, 21 Dan White, 22 Christian Lewis Pratt, 23 Semi Tadulala.
Referee: Wayne Barnes