For much of the opening hour the hosts were on top and while a Teimana Harrison score might have provided the spur for a remarkable comeback, it was simply not to be.
Saints started the brighter, but after a penalty to the corner came to nothing, Danny Cipriani got the Sale scoreboard ticking with a pair of close range penalties.
With the wind at their backs, the hosts’ tails were also up, Will Addison going close in the right corner and Mike Haley’s surge on the opposite flank only halted by Jamie Elliott’s crucial interception.
It seemed only a matter of time for the Sharks to cross, Saints twice holding up close range drives and Sam Dickinson shown yellow for going round the side of a ruck to take out Magnus Lund.
From the resulting lineout, the home forwards took control again and this time there was no stopping the drive, Eifion Lewis-Roberts emerging from a pile of bodies with the ball.
The visitors would see it through to the break a man down and also fend off another bout of Sharks pressure shortly after the resumption.
A pair of penalties in quick succession took the Saints upfield but after Stephen Myler’s mid-range effort went astray, the Sharks swept back upfield and Calum Clark got 10 minutes for diving onto a ball that appeared to be out of a ruck.
It would prove to be a vital moment. Twice the hosts went to the corner and again the Saints could only temporarily halt the charge, Dan Braid this time mauled through.
Yet seemingly with nothing to lose, the visitors finally got something going and Elliott’s break provided the field position they so desperately needed. Two penalties went to touch and second time around Teimana Harrison bullied his way over.
With 15 minutes still on the clock, anything looked possible and the action remained almost exclusively in the home half.
To their credit, the Sharks were now showing a resilience in defence too and though play went on long after the clock turned red, there was to be no further joy for the Saints.
10mins SALE Pen Cipriani 3-0
14mins SALE Pen Cipriani 6-0
30mins SAINTS Yellow Dickinson
30mins SALE Try Lewis-Roberts Con Cipriani 13-0
HALF-TIME SALE 13 SAINTS 0
54mins SAINTS Yellow Clark
57mins SALE Try Braid Con Cipriani 20-0
65mins SAINTS Try Harrison Con Myler 20-7
FULL-TIME SALE 20 SAINTS 7
SALE Haley; Addison, Leota, Tuituppou, Cueto; Cipriani, Cusiter; Lewis- Roberts, Jones, Cobilas, Hines, Mills, Braid (capt), Lund, Beaumont
Reps: Neild, de Marchi, Harrison, Ioane, Seymour, Cliff, Macleod, Arscott
SAINTS Foden; Elliott, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson; Corbisiero, Haywood, Ma’afu, Dickinson, Clark, Wood (capt), Nutley, Dowson
Reps: Williams, A Waller, Denman, Onojaife, Harrison, Hodgson, Wilson, K Pisi
REFEREE Matthew Carley