Worcester’s troubled season continued in Manchester as a youthful Sale Sharks side kept alive their chances of progression in the LV= Cup thanks largely to second-half scores from Charlie Ingall and Mark Easter, plus the boot of Joe Ford.
After securing a rare win in Europe last weekend against Oyonnax, Worcester Warriors produced a spirited defensive display but failed to conjure a moment of magic in attack as they limply folded against Sale.
In poor conditions points and attacking intent were at a premium in the North West, with just a Ford penalty to show for a competitive first 40 minutes – and things failed to ignite much further after the break.
Sale always looked like they would have too much for Worcester from the off, with a strong replacement’s bench, including England fly-half Danny Cipriani, and so it proved.
Sale started the quicker of the two sides, with fly-half Ford clipping over a simple penalty four minutes into the game following strong work by the forwards at the breakdown.
Minutes later debutant Elliot Davies’ attempt to level the scores for Worcester from the tee held up in the wind and Sale stole the ball from a lineout to clear their lines.
Dan Baines was having a tough time at the lineout on debut for the Sharks, losing his first three throws, with two not straight, as errors stalled Sale’s progress.
Worcester’s defence held strong against a disjointed attack that moved from side-to-side without going forward.
Play remained in the visitor’s half, with the Sharks trying to pin them down in the corners but the kicks from hand lacked the necessary accuracy to build the pressure.
The Warriors worked consistently through their pack around halfway but rarely threatened the Sale defence in the opening half.
Another lineout went astray from the home side and Worcester marched them back in the scrum winning a deserved penalty.
Davies failed to convert the chance, dragging the kick to the left, letting Sale off the hook.
Again the Sharks did not find any rhythm in their attacking play, forcing Ford to try to play for territory.
A Mike Hayley break sparked some life into the game but Worcester defended well at repeated scrums to turn the ball over to end the first half.
Barely a minute after the break Ford slotted his second penalty of the day following an offside decision given against the visitors.
A nice break around the corner from former England scrum-half Paul Hodgson allowed Josh Watkins to chip ahead with Cam Goodhue forcing a penalty.
Worcester kicked to the corner and won a second penalty with Sale too keen in defence – Davies was successful with his subsequent kick.
Sale continued to try to break the Worcester defence down and, after another lineout went wrong, Ford grubber kicked through to five metres out.
Strong forward work from the Sharks was rewarded with captain for the day Mark Easter going over for his second try of the season with Ford converting.
The Warriors replied through Davies as he nailed his second penalty from straight in front as the replacements rolled on.
Mike Hayley went close in the corner as Sale capitalised on the visitors' inability to clear their lines.
Finally the Sharks broke the Worcester defence with Charlie Ingalls going over in the corner after a nice break by Andy Forsyth with Ford converting from the touch line.