Blaine Scully scored his first try of the season as Leicester Tigers dug deep for a 22-16 victory over Harlequins at a rain-lashed Welford Road on Friday night.
Scully scored just four minutes into the contest, finishing off good work by Manu Tuilagi and Jamie Gibson to set Tigers on the way to a third win of the Aviva Premiership season.
Owen Williams kicked the conversion and five penalties as Tigers secured a first victory against Quins since the 2013 Aviva Premiership semi-final and a first win in four games.
The result moved them level on points with their opponents and joint fifth place in the table.
Tuilagi returned from injury to take his place in the starting line-up. Michele Rizzo and Brad Thorn made their home debuts in the pack, while Marcos Ayerza returned from Rugby Championship duty with Argentina to take his place on the bench.
Quins made late changes to their squad with Karl Dickson replacing Danny Care after he became a father overnight. Mark Lambert failed a late fitness test and was replaced by Darryl Marfo.
Tigers began positively with Leonardo Ghiraldini's barrelling run taking them into the Quins 22 almost from the kick-off.
And they had Welford Road on its feet inside four minutes, with Fraser Balmain scooping loose ball for Ben Youngs to launch an attack from midfield. His delayed pass gave Tuilagi and Gibson room down the right where Scully rode Matt Hopper's tackle and ran round to score under the posts. Williams added the extras to give Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Mathew Tait had to be alert to Nick Evans's chip into the 22, mopping up on the floor for Williams to clear to touch. Quins retained possession through a series of phases but were unable to breach the home defence before they were awarded a penalty when Rizzo was pinged for coming through a ruck. Evans landed his kick to cut Tigers' lead to 7-3.
Tigers were awarded a penalty at the game's first scrum and Williams landed the kick from close to halfway to restore the seven-point advantage.
Ghiraldini's choke tackle on Aseli Tikoirotuma looked to have wrapped the Quins winger up but the Italy hooker was pinged for pulling down the maul as he went to ground. Evans landed his kick from the angle to leave Tigers 10-6 up after 14 minutes.
Tait was called on to field plenty of high balls in the opening quarter. And he won a penalty when Joe Gray failed to roll away from the tackle and Williams landed another kick from distance. It was Gray's last involvement, the hooker suffered an injury in the tackle and was replaced by Dave Ward as Tigers led 13-6 midway through the half.
It needed a brilliant tackle by Hopper on Vereniki Goneva to prevent the Fiji international adding a second try. Tigers swooped on Mike Brown's knock-on and only Hopper's intervention prevented Goneva going over at the left corner.
There was a real intensity about the Tigers typified by Salvi's man-and-ball tackle on Evans that forced a knock-on before Graham Kitchener stole a lineout moments later. The intensity forced a knock-on by Tom Casson that turned into a penalty as the Quins players went off their feet. However, Williams was wide with his long-range effort.
Gibson was then ruled to have pulled down George Robson at a lineout but Evans was wide with his penalty from the angle.
A stop-start game was punctuated by penalties with Quins going offside from Marland Yarde's skewed clearance. However, Williams's kick from inside his own half was wide of the left post.
Another penalty quickly followed when Chris Robshaw infringed at a ruck and this time Williams was on target, moving Leicester's lead to 16-6 at half-time.
There was heavy rain to greet the teams at the start of the second period, and Quins won a penalty at the first scrum of the half. It allowed Evans to cut Tigers' lead to 16-9.
Ayerza was introduced to a huge roar four minutes into the second period in place of Rizzo. A huge hit from Scully on Tikoirotuma followed which was rewarded with a penalty and Wiliams restored the 10-point lead.
Excellent work by Salvi at the back of a Quins lineout, coming through to steal possession, had Tigers back on the attack. Tuilagi's run sucked in defenders for Williams on the right but his pass evaded Scully into touch.
Both sides looked to take advantage of the heavy rain with kicks for territory, and it resulted in a number of knock-ons. One such mistake by Tikoirotuma resulted in a scrum penalty for Tigers just inside the Quins half but Williams pushed his kick across the posts.
Tigers continued to enjoy much of the territory, with Burns's neat kick to the corner pinning Quins right back onto their line. Harlequins were unable to clear and Charlie Matthews conceded a penalty in front of the posts after failing to roll from his tackle on Jordan Crane. Williams's kick gave Tigers a 22-9 lead with less than 15 minutes remaining.
Thorn's tackle off the ball on Ward allowed Evans to kick for the corner as Quins looked for a way back into the game. Tigers defended the lineout drive but Quins retained possession through a couple of phases before Dickson sniped down the side of a ruck to score. Evans's extras left Tigers 22-16 ahead with eight minutes left.
Tigers opted for a tight game in the closing stages, using their forwards to drive down the side of rucks. And it was from one such drive that Robson tackled Thorn without his arms giving Williams the chance to secure the win but he was unable to land the penalty.
As it was, Tigers refused to let Quins clear their lines and with time up it was left to Evans to settle for the losing bonus point.