Tom Heathcote seals Worcester win with last kick of game
Tom Heathcote's last kick drop goal gave newly promoted Worcester a stunning victory over Northampton in the Aviva Premiership at Sixways.
It was a deserved success for the Warriors, who nearly threw it away by missing four second half penalties, with Heathcote missing three and Ryan Mills one.
GJ Van Velze had scored the only try of the game for Worcester with Heathcote kicking a penalty and a conversion to add to his drop goal.
High-flying Saints performed poorly and had to rely on four penalties from Stephen Myler for their points.
England internationals Luther Burrell and Dylan Hartley were both included in the Northampton starting line-up.
In the pack Kieran Brookes, Michael Paterson and Jamie Gibson all made their Premiership debuts for the club.
Former Saint Phil Dowson made his debut for Worcester along with Irish international Donncha O'Callaghan and Scotland cap Heathcote.
The Warriors had suffered a late setback when forwards Sam Lewis and Val Rapava Ruskin withdrew through injury.
Worcester suffered further blows when they fell six points behind within the first six minutes with Myler kicking two straightforward penalties.
Heathcote responded with one for the Warriors but despite Northampton's domination, the Saints could not add to their score and it remained 6-3 to the visitors at the end of the first quarter.
Against the run of play, Warriors scored the opening try after 31 minutes.
Tom Biggs had made a couple of strong runs down the right flank before Heathcote unlocked the defence with some neat footwork to send Van Velze over.
Heathcote converted before Warriors surprisingly elected not to kick a routine penalty soon afterwards. The home side still led 10-6 at the interval.
Early in the second half Northampton lost Tom Stephenson with an injury and he was replaced by George Pisi, before Myler reduced the arrears with his third penalty.
Heathcote was off target with a long range penalty attempt before Saints lost another player with injured lock Christian Day departing, with Teimana Harrison coming on in his place.
These disruptions allowed the hosts to dominate the third quarter but they could not take advantage, so their lead remained at one point going into the final 20 minutes.
Saints withdrew skipper Lee Dickson, replacing him with Kahn Fotuali'i in an attempt to put some momentum into their game but Hartley was immediately penalised for a high tackle.
Up stepped Mills but his kick rebounded back off the post before Hartley and fellow front-rower Alex Waller were both replaced with 16 minutes remaining.
Hartley's replacement Mike Haywood soon conceded a penalty for offside but this time Heathcote failed to capitalise by pushing his kick wide.
Seconds later it was Burrell's turn to infringe with a high tackle but again Heathcote could not make it count with a 45 metre kick from straight in front. Warriors had missed nine points in less than five minutes.
With two minutes remaining a fourth penalty from Myler looked to have won the match for Saints but Heathcote's late effort gained Worcester a deserved success.