Warriors were left bitterly disappointed on a bitterly cold night at Sixways as Sale Sharks battled to an 18-14 Aviva Premiership victory.
The visitors started strongly and went 8-0 ahead after 15 minutes courtesy of an AJ MacGinty penalty and a Rohan Janse Van Rensburg try.
The hosts came back into the game as Chris Pennell struck a penalty before Josh Adams levelled the scores when he finished in the corner, but Sale nudged ahead at the break through MacGinty’s second penalty.
Pennell added six more points from the boot in the second-half as the hosts took the lead for the first time in the match with 13 minutes remaining before Sale were reduced to 14 men when Byron McGuigan was shown a second yellow card.
But Sale stunned the hosts when replacement Mark Jennings touched down with nine minutes remaining before MacGinty added the conversion.
Warriors pushed for a winner at the death but Sale clung on to move up to eighth in the table.
Gary Gold made just one change to the side which claimed their first ever victory away at Leicester Tigers last time out as David Denton came in to replace GJ van Velze.
The hosts were forced to defend in the early exchanges as Sale piled on the pressure and looked for a way to the tryline.
And Gold’s men found themselves behind after ten minutes as AJ MacGinty struck a penalty for the visitors.
Warriors were struggling to get into the game as they were pushed further and further into their own territory.
And Sale soon had the opening try of the night as centre Van Rensburg forced his way over the tryline after the ball was fizzed across the backline.
Warriors started to get into the game as the first-half wore on and finally got off the mark after 26 minutes as Pennell eased his side’s nerves with a well-struck penalty to cut his side’s deficit to five points.
Pennell was enjoying a fine game and had the crowd on their feet when he sprinted forward to start a Warriors attack before Sale winger Byron McGuigan was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on shortly afterwards.
And Warriors made the most of their one-man advantage as Adams raced onto the end of a grubber kick from Pennell to dot down and level the scores.
The hosts were struggling to find their usual attacking rhythm on a cold night at Sixways and Sale secured an 11-8 half-time lead as MacGinty added his second penalty of the evening.
The game sprung into life after the break as both sides looked to attack with ball in hand and Adams soon showed his electrifying pace as he cruised down the left.
Warriors heaped the pressure on Sale as they kicked a penalty into touch before scrum-half Faf de Klerk became the visitors’ second player to be yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on.
Gold’s men pinned Warriors back inside their own 22 and knocked on the door time and time again as they looked to take the lead for the first time in the match.
But Sale were defending like lions and refusing to let the hosts find a way through as the Warriors players were being frustrated.
Pennell did eventually level the scores with his second penalty of the match midway through the second-half as the hosts looked to make their dominance pay.
And Warriors were handed a huge boost when McGuigan was shown his second yellow card for a tip tackle and subsequently sent off as his night came to a premature end.
But the Sixways crowd were stunned into silence as Sale went ahead once again through their second try of the night as Jennings somehow bundled his way over in the corner.
MacGinty converted as Sale went 18-14 up with eight minutes remaining.
Warriors pushed forward as they tried desperately to find one more try to secure the win. But Sale clung on as Warriors were left disappointed.
Warriors | 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Francois Hougaard, 1 Ethan Waller (Bower 66), 2 Jack Singleton (Taufete’e 68), 3 Nick Schonert (Milasinovich 78), 4 Donncha O’Callaghan (C) (Phillips 76), 5 Will Spencer, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Sam Lewis (Scotland-Williamson 55), 8 David Denton (Durutalo 76)
Replacements | 16 Joe Taufete’e, 17 Ryan Bower, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Pierce Phillips, 21 Andrew Durutalo, 22 Michael Dowsett, 23 Dean Hammond
10m | MacGinty pen 0-3
15m | Van Rensburg try 0-8
26m | Pennell pen 3-8
34m | Adams try 8-8
40m | MacGinty pen 8-11
62m | Pennell pen 11-11
67m | Pennell pen 14-11
71m | Jennings try 14-16
72m | MacGinty con 14-18