Wynand Olivier scored the only try in a scrappy affair to give Worcester Warriors their first win of the Aviva Premiership season at home to Newcastle Falcons.
The centre dashed over in the first half following a mistake by winger Sinoti Sinoti – which ultimately proved decisive – as both attacks misfired at Sixfields.
Tom Heathcote and Ryan Lamb each slotted a penalty for the hosts, while Newcastle kicked three but Worcester’s defence stayed strong in the final minutes.
Newcastle pushed forwards in search of a winning score but slip to their third defeat of the season and drop to eighth in the table.
With two wins already this season, Newcastle looked confident from the off as they moved the ball comfortably and confidently – with winger Sinoti particularly impressive.
But all their hardwork was undone in the 18th minute when Sinoti played a weak pass to Dom Waldouck, who spilled it and lost possession.
Tom Heathcote pounced and released outside centre Olivier, who sprinted in to score.
Fly-half Mike Delany had a chance to get the Falcons on the board immediately with a penalty he dragged wide, but he made no mistake two minutes later to reduce the gap to two points.
Worcester’s try injected some confidence in their backline and a nice move saw winger Cooper Vuna dart forward on the left but when he chipped ahead for the try line, Simon Hammersley got across to clear Newcastle’s lines.
And Worcester had the final say of the first half when Heathcote broke through from deep, causing Newcastle’s defence to scramble backwards.
Eventually a penalty was called for the hosts and Heathcote booted it over to leave restore their five-point lead at the break.
The fly-half missed a seemingly simple kick two minutes after half time as he dragged it wide after Newcastle’s powerful forwards earned another penalty.
The away side responded to their problems up front by bringing on former England prop David Wilson for his first Falcons appearance in seven years after he returned from Bath Rugby.
But Worcester replaced Heathcote with Lamb, and the fly-half’s first job was to boot over their second penalty of the day to extend their lead to 11-3.
Lamb missed another a few minutes later and Newcastle made him pay as Delany slotted over his second of the day, but the visitors knew that if they were going to win a third game of the season then they needed to find the try line.
And they had as great chance with 11 minutes left as Micky Young broke forward. The ball was recycled to the right and with men over a try seemed certain.
But substitute Belisario Agulla was penalised for a forward pass, just as Will Welch looked to be in for a try in the corner.
The Falcons kept pushing forward and had multiple phases just five metres from the Warriors’ try line, but some astute defending frustrated them again.
Joel Hodgson set up a tense finale with a penalty to reduce the gap to two points, but just as they saw a chance of victory referee Tom Foley gave a penalty against the visitors which allowed Worcester to kick the ball downfield from within their own half.
And they saw the game out by booting into touch for a morale-boosting win.