d'Apice, Clark (2), Stooke
Day, Cato, Collins, Williams
Kai Done; Steph Reynolds, George Boulton, Tim Taylor (capt), Ian Clark; Billy Burns, Dave Lewis; Yann Thomas, Tommaso d'Apice, Dario Chistolini; Elliott Stooke, Will Graulich; Ross Moriarty, Tom Ailes, Gareth Evans
Nico Woodward (for Moriarty, 80 mins), James Gibbons, Tom Heard (for Chistolini, 54 mins), Dale Critchley (for Graulich, 72 mins), Ben Sparks (for Ailes, 32 mins), Brad Field (for Burns, 64 mins), Rob Dempsey (for Done, 77 mins), Graham Speirs (for Boulton, 52 mins)
Noah Cato; Scott Armstrong, Tom Stephenson, Luther Burrell, Tom Collins; Will Hooley, Alex Day; Ethan Waller, Ross McMillan, Danny Herriott; Tom Hicks, Alex Woolford; Ben Nutley (capt), Teimana Harrison, GJ Van Velze
Matt Williams (for McMillan, 80 mins), Danny Hobbs (for Waller, 69 mins), Tom Rhodes, Mark Hopley (for Van Velze, 57 mins), Jamie Warr (for Woolford, 64 mins), Ryan Glynn (for Day, 67 mins), Alex Wootton, Anders Mogensen (for Burrell, 50 mins)
With the game in the balance, and Gloucester hanging on with just a few minutes to play, Elliott Stooke's late try clinched the win but Northampton had the last word.
Replacement hooker Matt Williams took advantage of Gloucester conceding a free kick off the last scrum of the game and his try gave the visitors a try scoring bonus point which saw them finish top of the Northern Conference, two points ahead of Gloucester.
Peter Buxton and Tim Molenaar were late withdrawals but Gloucester got off to a good start with a second minute penalty from Tim Taylor.
It was a lively opening from both sides with Gloucester attacking fluently but owing a huge debt to a try saving tackle from full back Kai Done on seven minutes as Saints countered.
But it was a good old fashioned catch and drive that produced the first try. Gloucester had good field position after a Saints handling error and needed no second invitation with Tommaso D'Apice claiming the try. Taylor converted for 10-0.
It was a purple patch for Gloucester and a second penalty soon followed for Taylor to open up a 13-0 lead as the visitors struggled to cope with Gloucester's pace.
This was clearly shown on 19 minutes, when Noah Cato was forced to take down George Boulton without the ball as he tried to latch onto a grubber from Billy Burns and was sinbinned for his pains. However, Saints survived.
All in all, it came as something as a surprise when Saints broke through the midfield defence on 25 minutes, and some neat offloading put scrum half Alex Day in for their first try. Will Hooley converted.
However, Gloucester were quickly back on the front foot and a measured cross kick by Tim Taylor found Ian Clark on the left wing and he had the hands to gather the ball in and the strength to touch down. 18-7 after 29 minutes.
Gloucester were then hit by injuries as Tom Ailes had to leave the field, and Ross Moriarty was down receiving treatment when Ben Nutley made a telling break which led to a try from the recently returned Cato.
If Cato was feeling good about himself, the feeling quickly evaporated as he was done like a kipper on the outside by Clark in a one on one situation. Clark dived gleefully into the corner to send Gloucester into half time with a 23-12 lead.
The Wanderers started the second half with a certain purpose about them and a series of good touch finders kept Gloucester pinned back in their own territory and working incredibly hard in defence.
The play was virtually all in the Gloucester 22 and the third quarter passed by in a flash but with no further addition to the score.
But the deadlock was finally broken on 64 minutes when Northampton right winger Tom Collins got a fortunate bounce off his own chip ahead and gathered to gallop over. The conversion was short and wide so Gloucester were hanging on at 23-17.
Brad Field came on to replace Billy Burns and the combative scrum half, a fine performer in the A League so far this season, finally moved Gloucester downfield with a couple of neat kicks downfield.
And the pressure finally paid off as the pack kept it tight and drove close enough for Elliott Stooke to touch down for the bonus point try. Taylor added the extras for a 30-17 lead with just a few minutes to play.
Credit to the Wanderers. They knew they needed another try to be safe at the top of the table and they got it with the last play of the game to bring an entertaining match to a close, Hooley's conversion making the final score 30-24.