SALE FC held their nerve to emerge worthy 18-8 winners from a hard-fought National League One battle with Darlington Mowden Park, that saw two tries disallowed and two yellow cards per team.

Darlington took an early lead with a penalty on two minutes from Warren Seals, but Sale were quickly on the front foot, Fergus Mulchrone chipping through the Mowden Park defence with Andy Hughes forcing a penalty at the breakdown.

Sale dominated the scrums, earning a succession of penalties until Jared Williams crossed the try line – only for the effort to be disallowed and the five-metre scrum retaken.

Jared Williams crossed the line a second time but it was disallowed again, leaving the home side with a 3-0 deficit at half time.

Within five minutes of the restart, a high tackle on scrum-half Matt Bradley gave Sale a penalty which James Williams dispatched to level the scores.

Sale continued to dominate the attacking play, Mowden Park conceding two penalties in quick succession – one fell short, the second taking Sale into a 6-3 lead.

The first Sale try came in the 61st minute when speedy substitute scrum-half Raffi Quirke found Mulchrone, who scored under the posts.

With the points gap a little healthier, Mowden Park found themselves down to 14 men with their second yellow. 

Mulchrone made another break, skilfully chipping through with Quirke on hand to score Sale's second try.

In the closing minutes, yellow cards for Sale's Jared Williams and Jake Pope left the home side down to 13 men and in the final minute Mowden Park scored a consolation try.