SALE FC lifted the gloom with a return to winning ways after a 20-3 National League One home win against Cambridge.

Tries from captain Andy Hughes and Raphael Quirke helped Sale secure a crucial victory and climb their way out of the relegation zone.

Cambridge had the upper hand in the early stages, forcing Sale to concede two penalties in quick succession but the first half saw both teams cancel each other out with some resolute defensive play.

The second half got under way with Cambridge quickly on the front foot, flanker Matt Dawson taking the visitors inside the Sale 22.

Once again, resolute defence was the platform for Sale to clear their lines and get into an attacking position.

The first score of the match came with a James Williams penalty, on 44 minutes, followed by another successful kick minutes later.

But the critical moment came in the 61st minute when a strong break by full-back Jonty Rawcliffe almost made the try line.

This was quickly followed by the Sale pack driving at the line with Hughes eventually diving over to score.

In the 77th minute Sale’s substitute scrum-half Quirke was quickest to react to a loose ball following a scrappy line-out.

Breaking down the narrow side he outpaced the covering defenders to score a wonderful breakaway try.

A superb conversion from James Williams gave Sale an unassailable lead and took his personal tally for the day to four scores from four attempts.

All in all, it was a gutsy, wholehearted effort from the Sale team against a solid, hardworking Cambridge.