WORCESTER Warriors paid a heavy price for ill-discipline as they crashed to an agonising 18-17 home defeat to Northampton Saints in an error-ridden Aviva Premiership clash tonight.

Saints fly-half Stephen Myler kicked six penalties to inflict a first home Premiership defeat of the season on Warriors.

Bryce Heem’s last-gasp try, which was converted by Jamie Shillcock, gave Warriors hope and Callum Clark’s sin-binning for an off-the-ball challenge set up a dramatic finish.

Warriors were awarded a penalty on halfway and Shillcock narrowly failed with his long-distance attempt before falling to the floor in disappointment.

The hosts made a bright start and teenage fly-half Shillcock fired them 3-0 ahead from 35 metres after Saints were penalised at the breakdown.

But Saints replied swiftly and, after an infringement at a driving maul, the experienced Myler levelled with a close-range penalty.

Warriors, however, continued to play with purpose in the backs and cut through for the opening try in the 11th minute.

The lively Wynand Olivier raced on to a flat pass from Shillcock and offloaded to the supporting Dean Hammond, who scrambled over the line.

Shillcock converted to put Warriors 10-3 in front.

Myler was off target with a straightforward penalty in the 15th minute after Warriors infringed at a driving maul.

Worcester threatened the Saints defence with a move that started in their own 22 from a driving run by former Saint Phil Dowson.

After slick handling between Chris Pennell and Hammond, Jonny Arr spilled the ball just inside the Saints 22 with Worcester building momentum.

Warriors continued to fall foul of the referee’s whistle.

After conceding their 10th penalty of the first half, Myler’s second three-pointer in the 33rd minute cut the lead to 10-6.

Warriors were pinged at the breakdown again soon afterwards by referee Greg MacDonald and Myler’s kick reduced the arrears to just one point at the interval.

Worcester were reduced to 14 men five minutes into the second period when the returning Ryan Mills failed to roll away from the breakdown and was sin-binned.

Myler’s fourth penalty put Saints 12-10 ahead and the fly-half stretched their advantage with his fifth in the 50th minute.

Lock Andrew Kitchener came on for veteran Donncha O’Callaghan before wing Heem replaced the ineffective Cooper Vuna in the 55th minute for his first appearance of the campaign after a knee injury.

Warriors showed enterprise after winning a scrum penalty inside Saints’ 22.

Prop Val Rapava Ruskin was held up just short of the Saints line after Olivier was earlier denied.

Worcester then made a hash of the five-metre scrum which allowed the visitors to clear their lines.

The hosts enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in the Saints half but struggled to breach the defence as their evening of frustration continued.

Saints stretched their lead to eight points with Myler’s sixth successful penalty of the evening after Warriors were pinged at a scrum.

The returning Heem gave Warriors hope with a 79th-minute try, which was converted by Shillcock.

Clark was shown a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident and, with the last kick of the game, Shillcock’s penalty attempt from the halfway line fell just short.

Warriors: Pennell; Hammond (Adams 76), Olivier, Mills, Vuna (Heem 55); Shillcock, Arr; Rapava Ruskin Leleimalefaga 72), Annett (Singleton 56), Schonert (Daniels 72), O’Callaghan (Kitchener 52), Barry, Potgieter, Kirwan (Cox 63), Dowson. Replacement not used: Dowsett.

Attendance: 8,156.