Exeter Chiefs stayed in contention for the play-offs when they beat London Irish 18-11 at Sandy Park on Saturday.
The Chiefs have been the Premiership's surprise package this season and they continued their impressive form in the first half, leading 13-3 at the break.
James Hanks went over to go alongside eight points from the boot of Ignacio Mieres, with Tom Homer responding for the visitors.
And although Irish mounted a brief revival through Homer's try and a further penalty, Gonzalo Camacho's touchdown confirmed Exeter's sixth league victory in the last seven matches.
Irish, by contrast, have suffered a slump in form losing their last five domestic encounters, and their lack of confidence was exposed in the first period.
Mieres opened the scoring with a penalty after seven minutes, although Homer responded for the visitors with one of his own.
However, the Argentinean struggled with the boot, missing five of his eight attempts, but he did regain their advantage in the 21st minute with a second three-pointer.
As always the hosts' game was based around their powerful pack and, after several drives close to the away side's line, Hanks eventually powered over from close range, Mieres converting.
The second half initially continued in the same vein, but Irish managed to get themselves back into the game when the ball fell kindly for Homer to touch down.
The same player missed the conversion before adding a penalty to reduce the deficit to two points. But the Chiefs showed that they are made of stern stuff as Camacho's try sealed the win.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Hanks, Camacho
Pens: Mieres 2
For London Irish:
Pens: Murphy 2
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Bryan Rennie, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (c), 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Hoani Tui.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Ben White, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Jamie Gibson, 7 Matt Garvey, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Nick Kennedy (c), 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 Bob Casey, 20 Alex Gray, 21 Ofisa Treviranus, 22 Delon Armitage, 23 Paul Hodgson.
Referee: David Pearson