Edge over champions
on what looked to be a certain tryscoring pass from Dollman to Lachie Turner.
The penalty try brought Exeter back to within three points after Ford had landed his second penalty at the start of the second half, but it would be as close as they would get.
It was critical to Leicester’s hopes that they responded strongly, and Youngs and Ford kicked astutely to run down the clock while Veainu was in the bin.
Yet a trip by Malouf on Turner handed the field position to Exeter and with Leicester conceding a succession of line-out penalties, the champions appeared to build enough pressure for them to take the
lead. But with Kalamafoni leading a massive defence rearguard, Leicester were able to hold firm before May’s stunning finish clinched the win.
“Fair play to Leicester, they forced the killer moments in the game and we didn’t take them.
“That is what decides closely-fought games,” said Baxter, whose side drop to fourth place in the table.
“We started the game with a lot of intensity and weathered the confrontation pretty well.
“And in the opening quarter we were the team looking to make the breaks and get on the front foot, and I have to give the guys credit for that.
“But did we produce an 80-minute performance? Probably not.
“One of the first things we said in training was that, after starting with a 32-phase play against Wasps, Leicester would try to control the speed of the breakdown area.
“Did we deal with it as well as I would’ve liked? No. Leicester won that battle.”
On the charge: Jonny May powers past Exeter’s tacklers to score, while George Ford (right) kicked brilliantly