Aviva Premiership: Ian Humphreys kicks late penalty to earn London Irish win at Worcester
Ian Humphreys kicked a late penalty to ensure London Irish scraped a barely-deserved 20-18 victory over Worcester.
Last Updated: 14/09/13 6:54pm
The Exiles managed just one away success in the Aviva Premiership last season, but some late ill-discipline from the hosts ensured they were able to immediately get off the mark this term on their travels.
Marland Yarde scored a pair of tries but it was Humphreys who was the match winner with four minutes left after Ed Shervington was penalised, while David Lemi and Ignacio Mieres touched down for the Warriors with the Argentinian adding eight points from his boot.
Worcester were left with only themselves to blame for defeat after they had been the better side but failed to take their chances, especially in the absence of the yellow-carded Chris Hala'ufia.
Mieres gave Warriors an early lead with a penalty, but when Ravai Faitaki was harshly penalised for tackling Yarde without the ball, Humphreys levelled the scores with a three-pointer of his own.
With the first major attacking movement of the match, Worcester passed the ball sweetly along their three-quarter line for Chris Pennell to produce a splendid offload to create a try for Lemi - Mieres converted to give the hosts a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Humphreys had a chance to reduce that lead but his long distance penalty attempt sailed wide before Irish suffered a further blow when Hala'ufia was yellow carded for kneeing an opponent in a ruck.
The Warriors should have taken advantage of Hala'ufia's absence when strong runs from Faitaki and Semisi Taulava gained them a position five metres out from the Irish line, but a careless knock on allowed the visitors the chance to relieve the pressure.
Hala'ufia returned with no damage done to the scoreboard and, almost immediately, Worcester were made to pay for their wasted chances as Irish again drew level when Eamonn Sheridan created an opportunity for Yarde which the wing took in great style.
Yarde flew past three opponents to race away on a 40-metre run to the line for the try which Humphreys converted for a 10-10 half-time scoreline.
Eight minutes after the restart, Irish were ahead for the first time when neat offloads from Sheridan and Topsy Ojo gave Yarde another chance and once again the wing took it, easily evading Pennell's cover tackle for a try which Humphreys converted.
A second penalty from Mieres saw the visitors' advantage reduced to four points going into the final quarter.
Mieres then missed a penalty but following sustained pressure the fly-half put Warriors ahead collecting a clever pass from Josh Matavesi to escape the Irish defence for a try he failed to convert.
But with four minutes left, Shervington was penalised with Humphreys making no mistake with his wide-angled kick to give Irish a last-gasp win.