Sale Sharks 36 Worcester Warriors 26.

WORCESTER Warriors may have struck late to salvage a precious point in their quest to retain their Aviva Premiership status.

But Biyi Alo’s last-gasp pushover try failed to paper of the cracks of what was a sloppy defensive showing in their defeat at Sale Sharks.

Warriors can perhaps be excused for being cut apart by the likes of high-flying Wasps and Exeter Chiefs.

But worryingly for director of rugby Gary Gold, his side were just as leaky against a team they were hoping to overtake in the table.

Tenth-placed Sale chalked up five tries – and Warriors will be frustrated with how easily they came their opponent’s way.

Sharks’ first try came after Ben Te’o fumbled the ball into the path of the dangerous Denny Solomona who went clean through before feeding Sam James to score.

And their last came after Ben Curry stripped the ball from Ryan Grant 10 metres from Warriors’ try-line and crashed over to seal victory.

They were two costly errors and perhaps emphasised why Warriors find themselves languishing in 11th position, now eight points adrift of Sharks.

However, they can at least look over their shoulders at basement boys Bristol knowing they have got a healthy 10-point gap going into the remaining few games.

What Gold’s team have shown since his arrival in late January is an ability to fight until the death.

They have now scored late tries in losses at Exeter, Wasps and Sale to secure valuable points, which look like proving the difference in their battle with Bristol.

Gold has also overseen the emergence of hooker Joe Taufete’e who appears to be getting better with every game as he tackled superbly on the night.

Wing Perry Humphreys, who was in for the suspended Bryce Heem, was another to impress at the AJ Bell Stadium.

After falling behind to James’ opening try, the 22-year-old broke down the left and passed inside for Te’o who found Francois Hougaard to score.

A well-constructed driven lineout then saw Taufete’e go over midway through the first half, with Mills converting to put Warriors 14-7 ahead.

But another sloppy piece of play allowed Sale to draw level on the half hour mark. James’ grubber kick bounced off Jackson Willison and fell kindly for the centre to finish. AJ MacGinty added the extras.

Sharks got their third converted try moments before the break when Mike Haley slipped past Donncha O’Callaghan before brushing off tackles from Ryan Mills and Chris Pennell on his way to the try-line.

The match tightened up at the start of the second period although Humphreys went close as he was held up by several Sale bodies.

But the hosts increased their lead further on 64 minutes when Bryon McGuigan produced a moment of magic. The wing gathered a pass from Josh Beaumont before chipping the ball over Pennell’s head and touching down for a wonderful solo try.

Ryan Lamb made an instant impact off the bench as his superb long pass reached Pennell who crossed with ease. Lamb converted.

This came moments after Halani Aulika was yellow card for offside, but Warriors still conceded 10 points while Sharks were down to 14 men.

MacGinty landed a penalty before Grant’s error allowed Curry to crash over for Sale’s fifth try of the evening, which MacGinty converted.

But after Mike Phillips replaced Aulika in the sin-bin, Warriors claimed a four-try bonus point when Alo grounded following a lunge to the line.