Conversions: Nathan Fowles (80)
Penalties: Joe Ford (6), (45)
Conversions: Bentley (10)
Steph Reynolds; Luke Hume, Jonny May, Ryan Mills, Drew Cheshire; Jonny Bentley, Reece Boughton; James Gibbons, Nathan Stroud (Old Centralians), Shaun Knight; Will James, Tom Hicks; Matt Cox, Lewis Ludlow, Gareth Evans
Finlay Sinclair (Cinderford RFC), Joe Smart (Cinderford RFC), Tom Heard, Jonny Hill, Sam Underhill, Billy Burns, Lloyd Evans, tbc
Jonny May and Shaun Knight were welcome additions to the side that had impressively overcome Worcester Cavaliers the week previous.
Gloucester started well, neat hands and good lines setting up a good position before Sale held the ball up to secure a turnover. This gave an indication as to game plans as the cold, damp conditions dictated the proceedings.
It was the hosts who were first on the scoreboard as fly-half Joe Ford, who scored a crucial drop goal when the Senior Sharks won at Kingsholm, opened the evening with a simple penalty as Gloucester infringed at the breakdown.
With both club's respective Directors of Rugby, Nigel Davies and Steve Diamond in attendance at Heywood Road, the motivation to impress was rather great. The two teams looked well matched at this stage, Gloucester utilizing strong basics to exit areas with ease and relieve pressure. Reece Boughton excelled with a number of good box kicks.
Gloucester got on the board as Jonny Bentley opted to go for the corner as the Jets were far too eager, coming in at the side and, from the resulting lineout, Nathan Stroud's throw found Lewis Ludlow who had a simple path to the line. Bentley obliged with the conversion and the visitors led.
The conditions meant both sides were having to restrict their ambitions and Sale began to grow into the game as Gloucester were penalized at both a scrum and maul.
The Jets were eager for a response, but the visitors held firm and rode their luck as the ball was lost forward by Josh Beaumont as he aimed to score.
Gloucester again worked valiantly in defence as the Jets were relentless in attack, but defence held firm. When the ball was spread out Steph Reynolds did well to prevent Will Addison's score in the corner.
When Gloucester did clear, Bentley found good territorial gains but the ball kept coming back from the home side.
When Gloucester did move downfield, a good half-break from James Gibbons saw Sale penalised. Again Bentley opted for the corner and Sale did well at a resulting scrum to earn the penalty and clear their lines.
Steph Reynolds finally got the opportunity to stretch his legs as he decided to run round the whole Sale defence before the move was lost. That action signaled the end of the first period of scrappy but fascinating A League rugby.
Half Time score: Sale Jets 3-7 Gloucester United
Sale, again through Ford were first to impact the scoreboard in the second period. A testing up and under earned the Jets a penalty, which Ford slotted to reduce the deficit to a single point after 45 minutes.
As both sides aimed to play the game in the right areas, territory was key and for both sides, particularly at a premium.
With the game scrappy, Gloucester sprang into life through their most potent of weapons, Jonny May scorched down the line, brushing off defenders and a perfectly timed pass allowed Luke Hume to dart through to score a super score.
Bentley missed the conversion after a freak gust of wind decided it didn't want to allow the extras and the ball oddly veered off target.
Sale then worked hard to regain a foothold in the game, Jonny May and Ryan Mills using their experience to marshall their young defence well to repel the Jets attacks.
When Luke Hume misjudged a kick, Fowles broke through but Gloucester regained composure and Jonny Hill and Sam Underhill secured a welcome turnover.
Underhill especially was putting his body on the line and put in some huge hits to repel the blue wave of attacks.
With minutes remaining the visiting defence was constantly being tested. Mistakes were minimal but infringements were creeping in and Sale kept coming. The penalty count was rising but Sale couldn't find that elusive score.
Drama hit at the end of the game, a fourth consecutive lineout for the Jets saw the ball given to the backs and the full back crossed in the corner.
Scrum-half Fowles then had the task of the touchline conversion to take a late dramatic lead.
That's exactly what he did. It was a real heartbreaking finish for Gloucester, having been very much in control until the Jets stole the game at the death.
Credit must go to the spirit and effort that the Gloucester side put in throughout, but it wasn't meant to be as the wave after wave of home attacks got a reward.