Aviva Premiership: Harlequins edge out unlucky Worcester Warriors
A resilient second-half display was enough to move Harlequins back into the top four as they beat Worcester 21-20.
Last Updated: 01/03/14 6:08pm
Worcester will have felt hard done by having deservedly led 13-3 at the break with penalties from Chris Pennell and Ryan Lamb, before David Lemi saw his try converted to give them a 13-0 lead, before a penalty from Ben Botica got the hosts off the mark on the stroke of half time.
Harlequins, urgently requiring to step their game up in the second half, did so with an early penalty from Botica, before Sam Smith and Harry Sloan went over and before Pennell scored a consolation for the Warriors five minutes from time.
The Warriors started the game brightly and won a penalty 35 metres out which Pennell kicked to goal to give the visitors the lead after four minutes.
Worcester looked to build some momentum and when Ugo Monye was sent to the sin bin for not releasing, the Warriors had the chance to extend their lead, but Pennell's kick rebounded off the post.
The Quins had seen hardly any of the ball in Worcester's half in the opening 20 minutes and conceded another penalty shortly after stealing the ball from the line-out, but Lamb, who took over kicking duties, saw his kick fall a long way wide of the mark.
Harlequins conceded another penalty within goal-kicking range but Lamb opted to go to touch, attempting to exploit the man advantage and push on for the try, before deciding to settle for the three points with another penalty in front of the posts, to go 6-0 up.
Worcester deservedly extended their lead as Lemi took Mike Williams' pass before breaking through the defence and diving over the line with Lamb adding the extras.
Harlequins did manage to get some points on the board before the break when Botica had a routine penalty in front of the posts to send them in at half time 13-3 behind.
The home side started the second half quickly and scored an early penalty through Botica to leave them trailing by seven. Worcester then had a chance of their own to re-establish their 10-point lead but the testing angle proved too much for Lamb, whose kick fell wide.
Harlequins began to turn up the pressure, forcing Worcester to defend deep, ultimately seeing Senatore sent to the sin bin which the Quins immediately took advantage of, as Worcester-bound Smith touched down in the corner.
The Quins had their first opportunity to take the lead with a penalty just past the hour mark, which Botica successfully converted, putting them 14-13 up. Harlequins then set about doing what Worcester failed to do in the first half; capitalising on their momentum.
With less than 15 minutes left, Sloan went over before Botica kicked the conversion, meaning the Warriors needed another score to earn a bonus point.
With five minutes left on the clock, Pennell took the bull by the horns, breaking through the Quins defence to touch down before converting his own try, leaving Worcester just one away, but it proved too little, too late as the Warriors fell short of getting the win they desperately sought.