A 75th-minute penalty from Nick Macleod sealed a 21-20 win for Sale Sharks over London Wasps at Salford City Stadium.
The home side got out of the blocks quickly as Tom Brady crossed in the left-hand corner with just over five minutes gone, finishing off a fine move after an early period of pressure.
Christian Wade did get the visitors back into the game momentarily midway through the first half with a typically well-finished try after good work by Joe Simpson but the flying winger's 12th try of the season was soon cancelled out.
The impressive Daniel Braid capitalised on an error at a Wasps lineout and touched down to give his side a hard-earned 12-7 lead at the interval.
Nick Macleod edged the Sharks further in front with a penalty early in the second half but when Tom Bell converted Wade's second try of the afternoon before the hour mark there was just one point in it and a tense final quarter was in store.
The England winger drew level with the man on the opposite touchline, Tom Varndell, on 13 tries for the season as he applied the finishing touches to a move started by a great break from Hugo Southwell.
Bell and Macleod then exchanged penalties shortly afterwards but a yellow card for replacement Lorenzo Romano left the visitors having to play 10 of the final 15 minutes a man light.
They battled manfully and even took the lead for several minutes thanks to another Bell penalty but Macleod responded with just five minutes left on the clock and Sale held on, despite giving Elliott Daly the chance to have a go at a last-minute long-range penalty, to leapfrog Worcester and finish 10th in the table.
Tries: Brady, Braid
Pens: Macleod 3
For London Wasps:
Tries: Wade 2
Cons: TW Bell 2
Pens: TW Bell 2
Sale: 15 Mark Cueto, 14 Will Addison, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Dan Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Sam James, 23 Charlie Amesbury.
London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Zak Taulafo, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 James Cannon, 20 Jonathan Poff, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Charlie Hayter, 23 Jack Wallace.
Venue: Salford City Stadium
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden and Gordon Goodliffe.