Sale Sharks stayed in touch of the Premiership's pacesetters thanks to an impressive 31-13 victory over Bristol at Ashton Gate on Sunday.
First half tries from Paolo Odogwu and Mike Haley gave Sale a 12-0 lead at the break, with Byron McGuigan getting a third just after the restart. Tom Curry claimed a fourth late on to complete the rout. Bristol's last minute try from David Lemi was all they had to show.
Still looking for a victory in all competitions this season, Bristol succumbed to a 20th minute try that they really could have done without. It had been a promising opening, with Sale unable to take full control of the game, Bristol arguably the better side.
But having not offered enough in an attacking sense, they were made to pay when Odogwu found the space to fit himself over in the corner. The conversion was missed by Byron McGuigan but he didn't have long to wait before putting that right.
The first try took it away from Bristol, and they were punished for a second time only six minutes later. Haley was the man to claim number two, using his pace to escape the clutches of the home defence and sprint all the way to the line.
McGuigan converted with ease, and Sale almost got a third on the half hour. Shane Geraghty had previously missed a kick on his first start, before McGuigan played his part in an attack that was only halted by a poor offload.
The hosts had the wind knocked out of them with the two tries, and offered little going forward for the remainder of the half, with Sale going in 12-0 up. Things got worse for Bristol early in the second 40, with the third try coming only four minutes into it.
McGuigan followed his earlier efforts with five more points, the recipient of Sam James' kick and chase after finding room on the wing. He wasn't able to convert from the touchline, but a 17-0 lead looked far too big for Bristol to pull back.
Geraghty kicked the hosts off the mark with his first Bristol points, before a driving maul saw the visitors reduced to 14. Neil Briggs was shown a yellow after a foul in the driving maul, giving Bristol a 10 minute window to get back into it. Geraghty hit another three to reduce the arrears to 11, but that was all Bristol could get from their 10 minute spell, with Sale seeing it out relatively safely.
And just to make sure of the victory, the fourth try came from Lewis-Roberts. A five metre line-out saw the prop force his way through and over, McGuigan adding two more to make it a 24-6 lead with 15 to play.
The Sale kicker missed the chance to increase that advantage, but a fourth try made up for that. Haley did the hard work with the break, and he fed possession into Curry, who went over for his first try.
Dan Mugford converted, but Bristol had the final say. Their try came from Lemi, who made a strong run downfield and found the room to go in under the posts. Geragthy added the three, but Bristol still fell to a 13-31 defeat.
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Haley, McGuigan, Odogwu, Curry, Lewis-Roberts
Cons: McGuigan, Mugford
Yellow Card: Briggs
Bristol: 15 Jordan Williams, 14, Ryan Edwards, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 David Lemi, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Jon Fisher, 6 Mitch Eadie, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 James Phillips, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Soane Tonga’uiha, 18 Gaston Cortes, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Giorgi Nemsadze, 21 Jack Lam, 22 Rhodri Williams, 23 Jack Tovey
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Sam James, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 17 Brian Mujati, 18 Jonathan Mills, 19 David Seymour, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Dan Mugford, 23 Mark Jennings
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Tom Foley & Andrew Pearce
TMO: Graham Hughes