Niki Goneva dotted down twice in the first half as Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers narrowly avoided defeat at winless Worcester Warriors.
Goneva’s two scores were cancelled out in the first half by a string of Chris Pennell penalties, before Josh Drauniniu’s second-half try offered the league’s bottom club a sniff of victory.
However, Toby Flood’s boot and some resilient defence ensured a determined Warriors side fell narrowly short of that elusive victory.
Tigers were on top early and Goneva put them ahead after just four minutes with his sixth try of the season.
The Fijian spotted Paul Warwick’s loose pass, grasped the interception with his fingertips and ran half the length of the pitch to dot down, with Flood adding the extras.
Leicester went after a second score and a flowing move, involving Flood and Goneva, was halted when Pennell hauled Thomas Waldrom to ground ten metres short of the line.
Pennell put Worcester on the board as the clock struck a quarter of an hour, sending a 40-metre penalty between the posts, before nailing a halfway-line effort soon after.
And the Tigers’ ill-discipline continued, this time faltering at the lineout, allowing Pennell to hit a third penalty in seven minutes to put Worcester ahead.
But that lineout that cost them was soon the foundation for Leicester to re-take the lead after 24 minutes, when they spread the ball wide to Blaine Scully.
The American ran an aggressive line near the left touchline before offloading to Goneva for his second try of the evening, allowing Flood to once again convert.
The visitors were soon pinged again, this time for coming in at the side, and Pennell sent his fourth penalty through the posts.
Worcester didn’t concede a kickable penalty until after half an hour but Flood kicked for the corner, only for the last line of defence to frustrate the ambitious Tigers, before the France-bound fly-half eventually accepted the three points.
Pennell was given a fifth bite of the cherry on the stroke of half time, after the Tigers pack failed to roll away, but he struck the post.
Flood sent an early second-half penalty narrowly wide of the post and the home side responded in the perfect fashion.
After 25 phases Worcester finally spread the ball wide and, once he had been fed by Pennell, Drauniniu ducked inside Goneva and slid into the corner to score.
Referee Andrew Small sent the decision up to the TMO, who confirmed the try, before Pennell drilled a tricky conversion through the posts to hand his side the lead.
Flood gratefully accepted a penalty to restore Leicester’s lead, before Pennell and then Flood again kicked difficult penalties as the lead continued to see-saw.
And it was Flood who had the final say, as Leicester closed out the clash to win by a single point and avoid the status of Worcester’s first Aviva Premiership scalp of the season.
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