Aviva Premiership: Newcastle Falcons edge out Worcester Warriors
Newcastle Falcons piled yet more misery on rock-bottom Worcester with a 16-11 victory at Sixways.
Last Updated: 05/10/13 6:49pm
Former Scotland captain and scrum-half Mike Blair set the visitors on their way with an early try as Falcons claimed a first victory at Worcester since a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired triumph in 2004.
Blair's half-back partner Rory Clegg added a conversion and two penalties, while Phil Godman kicked a late penalty to thwart a Worcester side that managed an Igancio Mieres penalty double and wing David Lemi's late touchdown.
Dean Ryan's Warriors are left propping up the table with just a couple of losing bonus points from five starts this term heading into a break for European action.
Newcastle are nowhere near the Premiership play-off zone, yet they enjoyed early dominance as Clegg kicked a second-minute penalty before Worcester were undone by the Falcons' first notable attack.
Former Saracens and Northampton wing Noah Cato announced his presence by breaking several early tackles, before Newcastle pounced following a powerful charge by lock Carlo Del Fava that was followed by Blair diving over.
Clegg converted and then booted a second penalty, leaving Worcester 13 points adrift and their supporters growing increasingly frustrated by repeated wasteful tactical kicking from half-backs Mieres and Paul Hodgson.
The Warriors saw centre Ravai Fatiaki limp off midway through the half - he was replaced by Scotland international Alex Grove - but it heralded a concerted spell of Warriors pressure that resulted in a Mieres penalty.
Referee Martin Fox sin-binned Falcons prop Oliver Tomaszczyk for illegally slowing down Warriors' possession, but Newcastle's 14 men held out until the break with a 13-3 advantage.
Newcastle's defence comfortably absorbed a number of surges before Mieres kicked his second penalty as Tomaszczyk rejoined the action.
The Falcons remained well-organised in defence, but Worcester finally capitalised on a bountiful supply of possession when Samoa international Lemi pounced after 74 minutes.
Once again, Worcester initially chose a battering ram approach through their forwards, and Lemi had the presence of mind to dive in among them to get his hand on the ball behind Newcastle's line.
Paul Warwick missed the touchline conversion attempt, but Newcastle were far from troubled and they stormed back upfield through the combined attacking skills of Mark Wilson and Chris York that set up a penalty chance which Godman accepted.
Worcester had enough time to mount one final siege deep inside Newcastle territory, but Newcastle's scrum was up to the task defensively and Warriors could find no further way through.