London - Northampton went 13 points clear at the top of the English Premiership with a 17-13 win over Harlequins on Friday.
Tries from Samu Manoa, James Wilson and Tom Wood gave Northampton the victory as they eventually wore down the ninth placed visitors, who took a point thanks to Marland Yarde's try with the last play of the game.
Former All Black Nick Evans calmly gave Harlequins the lead with a penalty in the 27th minute, but Northampton did not wait long to hit back.
The hosts decided to kick their penalty into the corner, and although Quins repelled the initial drive, Manoa touched down and Stephen Myler converted to make it 7-3 after 32 minutes.
Quins responded with another Evans penalty four minutes later, but the Saints defence held firm and when the home side won a turnover on the visitors' 10-metre line centre Tom Stephenson looked set for a try.
Harlequins had to stop Northampton illegally, according to referee Tim Wigglesworth, and from the line-out Saints moved the ball wide after a strong run from substitute Wood for Wilson to score.
Myler hit the post with the conversion to leave the home side 12-6 ahead after 55 minutes.
A promising break by Yarde was turned over and when the home side won a penalty, they once again kicked to the corner for Wood, on his return from injury and in his 100th appearance for Northampton, to be driven over.
Myler missed the conversion, but Northampton were now 17-6 ahead with 12 minutes to play.
To compound Quins' woes Evans then went off injured and although the visitors thought they had got back in the game with a Charlie Walker try, the TMO ruled the final pass was forward.
However, at the end Yarde sprinted through for a try for the visitors, which was converted by Ben Botica.