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By Geoff Berkeley Sunday 25 November 2012 Updated: 26/11 13:06
Worcester Warriors 12 Saracens 3
Geoff Berkeley reports from Sixways
WORCESTER Warriors produced a dogged display as Andy Goode’s reliable boot guided his side to a hard-fought victory over Saracens at Sixways.
The fly half landed all the points as he won the kicking contest with an off-colour Nils Mordt in the first half to secure a nine point cushion at the break.
But it was Warriors’ resolute defence and tireless forwards which were the keys to the victory as Richard Hill’s men saw out a scoreless second period.
The win keeps Worcester in the touch with the Aviva Premiership’s top eight as well as giving them a huge morale boost after their disappointing performance at Exeter Chiefs.
Going into the match, head coach Hill called on his players to go out and attack an under strength Saracens side, who had a host of first team regulars out due to the autumn internationals.
But that plan had to be shelved within the opening 15 minutes when Joe Carlisle left the field with a strained ankle to see defence minded centre Alex Grove come on as his replacement.
This took place moments after Goode gave his side the lead after Sarries' skipper Steve Borthwick was penalised for a not rolling away.
The visitors had the chance to cancel it out, but Mordt penalty effort fell short of the mark.
The fly half looked to make amends as his neat chip found Duncan Taylor before Chris Pennell put in a huge hit to force a knock.
Saracens were holding the upper-hand in the early stages and found the equaliser at the mid-way point in the half as Mordt struck.
Goode was then in the thick of the action as he swept aside the disappointment after failing to find a response from the tee by carving put Worcester’s best chance.
The former England fly half collected his own chip before kicking into space. But the onrushing Errie Claassens could not cling on to the ball in the greasy conditions to the anguish of the home supporters.
Warriors stayed on top as the pressure told as Saracens gave away a penalty, which Goode coolly dispatch to retake the lead.
The hosts were enjoying their best spell of the match, but, unable to find a way through the oppositions’ defence, they opted to toss the ball back to Goode.
And after missing his first drop goal attempt, the stand-off fired over his next chance from close range to move 9-3 in front.
Warriors then gave themselves a healthier margin at the interval when Goode landed a penalty with the last kick of the half.
Saracens made a bright start to the second period, but the home side were determined to protect their advantage and stood firm.
Mordt and Goode both had an opportunity to move the score on, but they could not find the target.
Semisi Taulava looked to spark his side into life when he charged down the right only for a Nikki Walker knock on to deny Warriors a possible try.
As the clock ticked down, Worcester set out to see out time.
Replacements Sam Stanley had a chance to secure a losing bonus point late on, but his shot a goal was wayward to some up Saracens’ evening.
OLLIE Burton had a day to remember as
ARNAS Kazlauskas held his nerve in the dying
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