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By Geoff Berkeley Saturday 05 January 2013 Updated: 05/01 17:58
Worcester Warriors 14 Leicester Tigers 19
Geoff Berkeley reports from Sixways
WORCESTER Warriors suffered late heartbreak once again at Sixways as Leicester Tigers came from behind to snatch victory at the death.
A try from David Lemi and accurate kicking from Andy Goode saw Worcester take a commanding 14-0 lead over third-placed Tigers.
Scott Hamilton went over to reduce the deficit at the interval, while a yellow card for Goode hit Warriors hard as Chris Pennell failed to land two kickable penalties.
A penalty try closed the gap to within two points, but Richard Hill’s men looked to be doing enough to hang on.
However, in a cruel late twist, Tigers went from one end to the other before Warriors’ pack buckled at the scrum to see referee JP Doyle award a penalty try, which Toby Flood coolly converted.
After coming under some early pressure, a well-taken catch from Josh Drauniniu sent Warriors on the attack. Jon Clarke then released Lemi as Worcester charged towards the line but a misplaced pass from Pennell saw Tigers see out the danger.
Worcester soon got the points their attacking endeavour deserved as Goode fired his side into the lead.
The visitors had the chance to strike straight back as a penalty at the scrum allowed Flood to kick to the corner, but Leicester were struggling to find top form as the ball went loose.
Warriors, meanwhile, were in full flight and struck with a superb opening try. Matt Kvesic began the move when he brilliantly span off the tackler before Jon Clarke stepped inside and offloaded to Pennell, who found Lemi to dive over in the corner.
Everything seemed to be going their way as Tigers were penalised on the floor to hand Goode a straight forward kick to slot home and secure a 11-0 lead.
Warriors were then given a further boost as Leicester were reduced to 14men when Martin Castrogiovanni saw yellow, which saw Goode slot over the resulting penalty.
But Worcester could not add any more points during that period as Leicester came back into it.
A wayward penalty from Flood looked to be Tigers’ last chance to get any points on the board in the first half.
But Warriors then suffered a double blow as Scott Hamilton went over in the corner before Goode received a yellow card to leave Tigers trailing 14-5 at half time.
The loss of Warriors' influential fly half was clear to see as Pennell twice missed the chance to extend his side’s lead as his penalty efforts missed the target.
This was also a big turning point for Leicester as they entered Warriors half believing they could comeback. And after heavy pressure on Worcester’s line, referee Doyle awarded a penalty try to see Flood close the gap to within two points at 14-12.
Despite the return of Goode, the hosts’ kicking woes continued as his shot went wide, while Flood was also struggling to find his range.
Roared on by the home crowd, Worcester were closing in on a famous victory.
But Leicester quickly turned defence into attack as Matthew Tait flew down the line with a minute to go.
A kick in behind from Thomas Waldrom saw Pennell then concede a five metre scrum and Tigers’ pack proved too strong as a penalty try was awarded, which Flood duly dispatched to clinch victory.
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