Stephen Myler deals the damage as Worcester pay the penalty
Stephen Myler kicked six penalties as Northampton inflicted an 18-17 Aviva Premiership defeat on Worcester in a poor game at Sixways.
The outside half was successful with six out of seven kicks, with severe ill-discipline costing the home side, who for much of the game were the more creative side.
They scored two tries through Dean Hammond and Bryce Heem with Jamie Shilcock converting both and adding a penalty.
Prior to the game, Northampton needed only a single try for their 1,000th in the Premiership but they never looked like achieving it.
Ben Foden made his 200th appearance for Saints but they started badly as Shillcock kicked a penalty to give Worcester a third-minute lead.
Northampton soon replied with a simple Myler penalty before the hosts scored an excellent try.
From a ruck inside the opposition 22, Worcester secured possession for Shillcock to send Wynand Olivier through a gap before the centre gave Hammond a simple run-in.
The visitors suffered two further setbacks in quick succession when skipper Sam Dickinson was helped off with a leg injury to be replaced by Ben Nutley. Myler was then surprisingly off-target with a straightforward penalty attempt.
The night got worse for Saints when experienced scrum-half Lee Dickson left the field with a rib injury as Worcester continued to the be the better side.
However, Warriors kept conceding penalties, nine in the first half-hour, which prevented them from capitalising and this allowed a disjointed Northampton to remain in contention.
The 10th and 12th penalties saw Myler succeed with two kicks at goal so his side only trailed 10-9 at the end of a first half during which they had been largely outplayed.
The home side's ill-discipline continued after the restart and after Ryan Mills was yellow carded, Myler put Saints in front with his fourth penalty after 45 minutes.
With Mills still absent, Myler extended the lead with a further penalty but that was all Saints could manage while the centre was in the sin-bin.
Worcester brought on Heem for his first game of the season in place of Cooper Vuna with lock Donncha O'Callaghan also withdrawn in favour of Andrew Kitchener.
Back to 15 men, Worcester regained control and were denied a try by the TMO after a burst from Olivier had put the Saints' defence on the back foot.
As a result, Northampton still led 15-10 at the end of the third quarter but their line was under constant pressure.
In an attempt to stem the tide, they made three substitutions bringing on James Craig, Ethan Waller and Tom Collins to provide fresh legs and it paid dividends as Saints secured some respite with a sixth penalty from Myler.
However there was a dramatic finish for when Heem finished off a flowing movement to score, Calum Clark was sin-binned for foul play after the award of the try.
Shillcock converted from the touchline and then with the last kick of match he had a penalty from half way to win the match but his effort faded wide.